Events and Conferences

Science, Pseudoscience, and All that Jazz: Revisiting the Demarcation Problem

Science and Pseudoscience

What distinguishes science from pseudoscience? This question is deceptively simple,and yet crucially important. It turns out that both scientists and philosophers have had an exceedingly hard time articulating so-called "demarcation criteria," i.e., conditions that formally separate science from pseudoscience. It is important because pseudoscience is all over modern society, and imposes costs ranging from the resurgence of diseases because of anti-vaccination movements to the rising of global temperatures while an ideologically divided political class sits idle. In this talk I will explore the fascinating landscape separating science, pseudoscience, and borderline examples of disciplines and notions that may turn out either way. Pseudoscience, I think, is like pornography: hard to define exactly, but clearly recognizable in its manifestations.

Keynote: Massimo Pigliucci

Event DetailsThurs., Feb. 9, 2017

7 - 8:30 p.m.

This event is free. All are welcome!

Jenkins Theatre (I115)

Lincoln Park Campus

Mount Royal University

4825 Mount Royal Gate SW

AboutMassimo Piglucci
Massimo PigliucciProf. Pigliucci has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He currently is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of biology, the relationship between science and philosophy, the nature of pseudoscience, and the practical philosophy of Stoicism.

Prof. Pigliucci has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science "for fundamental studies of genotype by environmental interactions and for public defense of evolutionary biology from pseudoscientific attack."

In the area of public outreach, Prof. Pigliucci has published in national and international outlets such as the New York Times, Philosophy Now and The Philosopher's Magazine, among others. He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Contributing Editor to Skeptical Inquirer. Pigliucci publishes two blogs: Plato's Footnote (, on general philosophy, and How to Be a Stoic (, on his personal exploration of Stoicism as practical philosophy.

At last count, Prof. Pigliucci has published 146 technical papers in science and philosophy. He is also the author or editor of 10 technical and public outreach books, most recently of Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem (University of Chicago Press), co-edited with Maarten Boudry. Other books include Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life (Basic Books) and Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (University of Chicago Press).