Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 17–42 | Cite as

The seven sins of pseudo-science

  • A. A. Derksen


In this paper I will argue that a profile of the pseudo-sciences can be gained from the scientific pretensions of the pseudo-scientist. These pretensions provide two yardsticks which together take care of the charge of scientific prejudice that any suggested demarcation of pseudo-science has to face. To demonstrate that my analysis has teeth I will apply it to Freud and modern-day Bach-kabbalists. Against Laudan I will argue that the problem of demarcation is not a pseudo-problem, though the discussion will bear out that Laudan's replacement question, namely the question whether someone's theory is well-confirmed, is not, as Lugg claimed, independent of the question as to whether that person is a pseudoscientist. I further argue that my prototype pseudo-scientists do not have the shortcomings highlighted in Thagard's recent analysis of pseudo-science.

Key words

demarcation criterion science pseudo-science Bach-kabbalists Freud Laudan Lugg Popper Thagard 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Derksen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Nijmegen University of BrabantNijmegenThe Netherlands

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