Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Karl Popper's science "demarcation problem"

Even with scientific pluralism when an artificial intelligence reads from the internet what should it believe? What should it reject, or at least devalue? Up until now this has been a showstopper in trying to learn from the internet. Similarly, can we show our students how to recognize pseudoscientific nonsense?

In a famous paper Laudan actually argued that the demarcation problem is intractable (in Physics, Philosophy, and Psychoanalysis, Cohen and Laudan, D. Reidel, 1983, pg 111). Now Pigliucci uses a 2 (or more) dimensional vector criteria* to distinguish science, protoscience, and pseudoscience (Philosophy of Pseudoscience, Pigliucci and Boudry, U. Of Chicago, 2013, pg 23). One of Pigliucci's vector components is empirical content/support while the second vector component is theoretical understanding, internal coherence, logic. "Sciences" like physics and biology have large vector magnitude. Both of the vector components are large. "Protosciences" like economics and psychology have a smaller vector magnitude. One or both of the vector components are smaller. "Pseudosciences" like intelligent design and astrology have a small vector magnitude. Both vector components are small. (Another use of a vector value system.)

* The vector representation, or "cluster concept", is a realization of  Wittgenstein's "family resemblance" view of concepts (Philosophical Investigations, 1953). It is the way in which my artificial intelligence A.s.a. H. represents and manipulates concepts.

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