Insolvability of the Problem of Demarcation

ISSN:  2465-7212  Vol. 5 (1), pp. 067-076, January, 201




Insolvability of the Problem of Demarcation


Zeleha Zamani


Accepted 2 November 2016

The demarcation problem, a term coined by Karl Popper, refers to the problem of determining the nature of the criteria that should be implemented to establish the boundaries between science and non-science. Throughout this paper we will use this term in the more restrictive sense as the problem of determining the boundary between science and religion. The efforts to elucidate a solution to this problem usually place scholars into two incongruous extremes. The prevalent stance is not only that this boundary exists, but that it is definable, insurmountable, and impermeable. Some hold the exact opposite view and reject the idea that such a demarcation is, in fact, extant. A third alternative was offered by some philosophers of science of twentieth century such as Lakatos, Feyerabend and the epistemological anarchists that the problem of demarcation is, in fact, irresolvable. We do concur with their claim, and offer a logical proof that the existence or nonexistence of such a boundary is, ultimately, indeterminable. We start out by giving a brief history of the conflict between religion and science. We follow this by a condensed account of how the scientific process is delineated in various philosophies of science. We conclude by addressing the issue of demarcation and its insolvability.

Key words: Science, religion, epistemology, demarcation