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Philosophy of PseudoscienceReconsidering the Demarcation Problem$
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Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226051796

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226051826.001.0001

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Belief Buddies versus Critical Communities

Belief Buddies versus Critical Communities

The Social Organization of Pseudoscience

Chapter:
(p.165) 9 Belief Buddies versus Critical Communities
Source:
Philosophy of Pseudoscience
Author(s):

Noretta Koertge

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226051826.003.0010

Philosophers of science have attempted to explain what is wrong with pseudoscience, first, by contrasting the structure of its claims with that of legitimate scientific hypotheses, and second, by comparing the typical reasoning patterns of pseudoscientists with the norms of scientific reasoning. This chapter proposes an additional difference. It argues that typical science can be distinguished from typical pseudoscience by the presence of critical communities, institutions that foster communication and criticism through conferences, journals, and peer review. These well-organized critical communities supplement the efforts of individual scientists by promoting both positive and negative feedback. Pseudoscientists, on the other hand, feeling the stigma attached to their beliefs, often seek out only supportive allies.

Keywords:   science, pseudoscience, peer reviews, pseudoscientists, scientists

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