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Popper's Marxist: Pseudoscience As Policy Problem

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posted on 24.05.2021, 14:32 by Aidan Hayes
Contemporary culture has seen an increase in the influence of fringe beliefs, chief among them pseudosciences: doctrines that masquerade as sciences. In light of the myriad ways in which the work of the public sector is intertwined with and depends upon that of scientists, it is essential that policymakers be able to recognize these pretender sciences. However, the academic literature has yet to yield a widely accepted and easily applicable definition of “pseudoscience”. This paper proposes that pseudosciences are most adequately characterized by their origin in social contexts in which there is little open, critical discussion of ideas: hence, in contrast with genuine science, there can be no assumption by non-scientist observers that pseudosciences have withstood criticism prior to their promulgation as knowledge. The applicability of this proposal is demonstrated with a case study, where it is used to identify the pseudoscientific features of Andrew Wakefield’s “anti-vaccine” advocacy





Master of Arts


Public Policy and Administration

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type