3.2.4 Science and Non Science

So far, we have discussed scientific knowledge, scientific methods, scientific change, and scientific progress. Despite all these philosophical investigations of science, we haven’t yet had a focused discussion on what makes science what it is, or what differentiates it from other human endeavors. We have taken for granted that science is something different – something unique. But what actually makes science different? What makes it unique?” (Barseghyan et al., 2018).

In this video, Dr. Hakob Barseghyan helps us understand how to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. This distinction has profound implications for human and planetary well-being, as climate change denial and anti-vaccination campaigns demonstrate. You should also read the chapter, up to “Changing the Question: From Theories to Changes.”


Chapter 6: Science and Non-Science // University of Toronto Open E-Text

Guiding Questions:

  1. What contemporary demarcation criteria distinguish science from non-science? Make a note of these. You will need them later!
  2. The recent coronavirus pandemic featured extensive misinformation regarding virus prevention. How can we distinguish scientifically-sound recommendations from pseudoscience? What resources might you use?


Video Credit: Barseghyan, H. (2015). Lectures on History and Philosophy of Science. Lecture 6. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx1Qm70XvnM.

Online Text: Barseghyan, H.; Overgaard, N. & Rupik, G. (2018). Introduction to History and Philosophy of Science. Available at https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/introhps/.

Thumbnail: Astronomical clock Pražský orloj on the Old Town Hall, Prague. Photo Credit: magro_kr, 2008.