Protoscience refers to historical philosophical disciplines which existed prior to the development of
scientific method, which allowed them to develop into scienceproper (see ). A standard example is that of alchemywhich later became chemistry, or that of astrologywhich later became astronomy.
By extension, "protoscience" may be used in reference to any "set of beliefs or theories that have not yet been tested adequately by the scientific method but which are otherwise consistent with existing science, [thus being] a new science working to establish itself as legitimate science". [ [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Protoscience Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7) Lexico Publishing Group, LLC] ]
History of the term
The philosopher of science
Thomas Kuhnfirst used the word in an essay, originally published in 1970:
quotation|In any case, there are many fields — I shall call them proto-sciences — in which practice does generate testable conclusions but which nevertheless resemble philosophy and the arts rather than the established sciences in their developmental patterns. I think, for example, of fields like chemistry and electricity before the mid-eighteenth century, of the study of heredity and phylogeny before the mid-nineteenth, or of many of the social sciences today. In these fields, too, though they satisfy Sir Karl's [ Popper's] demarcation criterion, incessant criticism and continual striving for a fresh start are primary forces, and need to be. No more than in philosophy and the arts, however, do they result in clear-cut progress.I conclude, in short, that the proto-sciences, like the arts and philosophy, lack some element which, in the mature sciences, permits the more obvious forms of progress. It is not, however, anything that a methodological prescription can provide. Unlike my present critics, Lakatos at this point included, I claim no therapy to assist the transformation of a proto-science to a science, nor do I suppose anything of this sort is to be had.|Thomas Kuhn|Criticism and the growth of knowledge [cite paper |author=Speekenbrink, Maarten |date=2003-10-28 |url=http://users.fmg.uva.nl/mspeekenbrink/papers/ConsensusMethodologie.pdf |format=PDF |title=De Ongegronde Eis tot Consensus in de Psychologische |accessdate=2006-08-02]
List of examples
History of science
History of science in early cultures
Science in the Middle Ages
History of science in the Renaissance
Philosophy of science
List of pseudoscientific theories
Obsolete scientific theories
;Citations and notes
* H Holcomb, "Moving Beyond Just-So Stories: Evolutionary Psychology as Protoscience". Skeptic Magazine, 1996.
* D Hartmann, "Protoscience and Reconstruction". Journal of General Philosophy of Science, 1996.
* R Tuomela, "Science, Protoscience and Pseudoscience". Rational Changes in Science.
* JA Campbell, "On artificial intelligence". Artificial Intelligence Review, 1986.
* G Kennedy, "Psychoanalysis: Protoscience and Metapsychology". 1959.
* AC Maffei, "Psychoanalysis: Protoscience Or Science?". 1969.
* N Psarros, "The Constructive Approach to the Philosophy of Chemistry". Epistemologia, 1995.
* [http://protoscience.wikicities.com/wiki/Main_Page Protoscience Wikicity]
* [http://physics.syr.edu/courses/modules/PSEUDO/moller.html Questions to help distinguish a pseudoscience from a protoscience]
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