“Four Kinds of ‘Science'” 2017-12-21T08:44:05+00:00

Four Kinds of ‘Science’

by Stuart Mayper & Robert P. Pula

The following worksheet, prepared by Dr. Stuart Mayper and Robert Pula for use at Institute Seminar-Workshops, is used for discussions of the epistemology of science as a human issue. The sheet represents a mere summary of points raised and debated at joint sessions conducted by Mayper and Pula which are designed to sharpen awareness of formulations and orientations which subtend Korzybski’s system. An aspect of the session is the application of general semantics formulations to general semantics formulations, including investigation of the degree to which general semantics can be evaluated as an empirical science in the predictive as opposed to the merely descriptive sense. – Ed.

Four Kinds of ‘Science’

I. Accepted Science

Theories that are not yet refuted, after rigorous tests. Counterexamples must be accounted for or shown to be in error. Theories “tentative for ever”, but not discarded frivolously. Good replacements are not easily come by. A new theory must account for not only the data that the old theory doesn’t, but also all the old data that the old theory does.

II. Erroneous Science

Theories that are not yet refuted, but are tested by false data:

(a) Fake Science — scientist intentionally deceives others: Cyril Burt, John Darsee, Piltdown man, Walter Levy (Rhine’s successor at Duke);

(b) Mistaken Science — scientist unintentionally deceives self (and others): Blondlot (N-rays), Psi investigators, Wilhelm Reich, etc.

III. Pseudoscience

Theories inconsistent with accepted science, attempts to refute them avoided or ignored: Astrology, Numerology, Biorhythms; Velikovsky; Dowsing,

Health Frauds: Krebiozen, Laetrile, Vitamin B-15, “Life Extension”, Psychic Surgery — Diagnosis by: iridology, blood spot or hair, Kirlian photography, etc.

Wild extensions of accepted scientific findings (usually not by the one who made them): some interpretations of Bell’s inequality, plant communication, etc.

IV. Fringe Science

Theories inconsistent with accepted science, not yet refuted, but attempts to do so invited: Unified field theories (data accumulate faster than theory construction), Rupert Sheldrake’s “morphogenetic fields”, Schmidt’s ESP findings, etc.