Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1978:223 - 234 (1978)
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Abstract

Using astrology as a case study, this paper attempts to establish a criterion for demarcating science from pseudoscience. Numerous reasons for considering astrology to be a pseudoscience are evaluated and rejected; verifiability and falsifiability are briefly discussed. A theory is said to be pseudoscientific if and only if (1) it has been less progressive than alternative theories over a long period of time, and faces many unsolved problems, but (2) the community of practitioners makes little attempt to develop the theory towards solutions of the problems, shows no concern for attempts to evaluate the theory in relation to others, and is selective in considering confirmations and disconfirmations. This criterion has the interesting consequence that a theory can be scientific at one time but pseudoscientific at another.

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Paul Thagard
University of Waterloo

Citations of this work

The Multicriterial Approach to the Problem of Demarcation.Damian Fernandez-Beanato - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (3):375-390.
Diagnosing Pseudoscience – by Getting Rid of the Demarcation Problem.Maarten Boudry - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (2):83-101.
Cutting the Gordian Knot of Demarcation.Sven Ove Hansson - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):237-243.
Identifying Pseudoscience: A Social Process Criterion.Gregory W. Dawes - 2018 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 49 (3):283-298.

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