Science as a "Form of Life": Demarcation Criterion as a Practical Problem

Libor Benda



In 1983, Larry Laudan considered the demarcation problem, i.e. the demarcation between "science" and "pseudoscience", as an irrelevant philosophical pseudoproblem, and the terms "scientific" and "pseudoscientific" as empty notions, which should be removed from our vocabulary. This paper challenges this statement by proposing arguments supporting the view that 1) the demarcation between science and pseudoscience represents an important problem deserving a serious attention, and that 2) a possible way to its solution has been opened by recent social studies of science. Their approach is based on understanding science as a "form of life" and the demarcation criterion as a dynamic cluster of characteristics, which cannot be defined exactly, but nevertheless can be examined via sociological analysis of scientific practice. The paper demonstrates the specifics of the sociological approach with regard to its methods and proposed solutions on selected exemplar studies, and evaluates its possibilities and limits for philosophy of science.


Larry Laudan; pseudověda; kritérium demarkace; forma života; sociologie vědy

Full Text:

PDF (Čeština)

Copyright (c)

TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: