Popper, laws, and the exclusion of biology from genuine science

Acta Biotheoretica 55 (4) (2007)
The primary purpose of this paper is to argue that biologists should stop citing Karl Popper on what a genuinely scientific theory is. Various ways in which biologists cite Popper on this matter are surveyed, including the use of Popper to settle debates on methodology in phylogenetic systematics. It is then argued that the received view on Popper—namely, that a genuinely scientific theory is an empirically falsifiable one—is seriously mistaken, that Popper’s real view was that genuinely scientific theories have the form of statements of laws of nature. It is then argued that biology arguably has no genuine laws of its own. In place of Popperian falsifiability, it is suggested that a cluster class epistemic values approach (which subsumes empirical falsifiability) is the best solution to the demarcation problem between genuine science and pseudo- or non-science.
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