Methodology, Epistemology and Conventions: Popper's Bad Start

Abstract
Popper's conception of methodology and its relationship to epistemology is examined, and found wanting. Popper argues that positivist criteria of demarcation fail because they are attempts to discover a difference in the natures of empirical science and metaphysics. His alternative to naturalism is that a plausible criterion of demarcation is a proposal for an agreement, or convention. But this conventionalism about methodology is misplaced. Methodological rules are conventions, but which methodological rules are followed by scientists it is not itself a matter of convention. This casts doubt upon the status of Popper's famous criterion of demarcation.
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Larry Laudan (1986). Methodology's Prospects. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:347 - 354.
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