Paul Thagard advocated that scientific practice should pay attention to its theoretical opponent
Paul, the philosopher of science in 1978. Paul Thagard published the famous article “Why Astrology is Pseudoscience”, which refuted Popper and Kongn’s method of division. Sarkar agrees with Kongn’s criticism of Popper, but he pointed out that Kongn’s statement is also flawed because astrologers have problems to solve, but most of them do not focus on theoretical corrections, but try to deal with constellations and individual The relationship between cases; in this respect, they are similar to the practical activities of scientists who are not concerned with general theories (but with experiments).
Sakad proposed a matrix theory containing three elements: [theory, community, historical background] to define what is “non-scientific” For a long time, its progressiveness has been inferior to other alternative theories, and many problems cannot be solved.
The practical community hardly cares about its own theories, nor does it try to compare and analyze the relationship between its theories and other alternative theories The community of practice selectively seeks corroborating or disproving evidence to defend their theory, and there is no consistent principle to evaluate theories and solve problems. According to Sakad’s point of view, to distinguish whether a theory is scientific, we mainly need to ask the following questions: Does the practice community have a consistent principle to try to evaluate the authenticity of its theory, and have a common method to face problems when encountering difficulties? Does the practice community care about anomalies and actively compare and compete with other alternative theories? Has the theory supported by the practice community made progress, and has not been stagnant?
Sakad believes that astrology cannot directly answer the above questions. First, since the time of Ptolemy, astrology has hardly changed, and its explanatory power and predictive power have not increased significantly, and it is very unprogressive. Secondly, since the 19th century, psychology (its alternative theory) has been developing. Deal with psychological phenomena that astrology attempts to explain and predict. Psychology is clearly qualified to completely replace astrology; third, astrologers do not care about other theoretical opponents, and do not attempt to compare and compete with other theories; fourth, the astrologer community often lacks consistent principles to evaluate and resolve theories problem.
Is the division of “science/pseudoscience” appropriate? Still, this division is actually not the point.
Sakai’s analysis seems appropriate. However, his classification standard has led to an interesting relativist result, that is, a theory can be science for a while and a pseudoscience for a while. For example, in the Middle Ages of Kepler, since the only theory explaining human personality and behavior was astrology, there was no alternative theory as complicated and verifiable as astrology. Therefore, astrology at that time should not be regarded as pseudoscience; In modern times, due to the rise of psychology, astrology has been declared a pseudoscience.
Is the result of such relativism a correct and appropriate division standard, or does it conversely constitute a refutation of the division standard? Imagine that there is an isolated community on the earth that does not have the knowledge of modern science. They rely on astrology to explain and predict human personality and behavior and celestial phenomena. Would we say that astrology in this community is science? The second difficulty facing Sakad’s division is that according to his standards, astrology has become pseudoscience due to the rise of modern psychology, but astrology has actually been deleted by the scientific community after the 17th century; then Is the scientific community’s rejection of astrology just a simple dislike of astrology and labeling it as unfounded “pseudoscience”?
The distinction between science and pseudoscience is still debated in the philosophy of science. The well-known scientific philosopher Feyerabend opposes any unified methodology in science. He advocates scientific anarchism and pluralism. He believes that labeling certain theories as pseudo-science is groundless, a form of arrogance and dogmatism, and is not conducive to scientific development. It is for this reason that he opposed the joint statement of scientists. The philosopher of science Larry Laudan (1983) is even more radical. He tried to argue that any division of “scientific/non-scientific” is doomed to fail. “Science” does not have any real specialness except as empty words and convenient labels. Sex, it’s time to remove the labels of “pseudoscience” and “non-scientific” from our minds.
Perhaps, in this difficult discussion of the philosophy of science, we should make a brainstorm and not get entangled in the “science/pseudoscience” debate. I think most people who are keen to discuss pseudoscience have been misled. Regarding the suspicion of astrology, we do not need to discuss whether it is a science or not, but directly ask why it is reasonable and credible. This is the core of the problem. After all, even if astrology is really a scientific theory, it can be a scientific theory that has been completely rejected and failed.