Epistemology of Science, Science Literacy, and the Demarcation Criterion: The Nature of Science (NOS) and Informing Science (IS) in Context

Teresa Castelao-Lawless
InSITE 2002  •  Volume 2  •  2002
The result of misunderstanding science by students is their inability as future citizens to impact science public policies. The solution argued last year included creating courses in science studies serving two purposes: destroy students’ stereotypical certainties about science and help them become “historical realists” in regard to scientific practices. But we also speculated that dismissing the myth of scientific objectivity and teaching the historical and sociological underpinnings of science might lead to turning students into epistemological relativists. We now have a solution to the social-constructivist trap stemming from studies of science. This paper inquires into American contexts such as scientific illiteracy, post-modernism in high schools and colleges, and the media, all of which help produce a generalized inability to demarcate science from pseudoscience. Science studies courses guide students into both making epistemological distinctions and understanding the nature of science. Informing methodologies, course format, and bibliography follow.
demarcation science/pseudoscience; epistemology of science; nature of scientific practice; scientific illiteracy; pedagogical methods
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