Protoscience refers to historical philosophical disciplines which existed prior to the development of scientific method, which allowed them to develop into science proper (see ). A standard example is that of alchemy which later became chemistry, or that of astrology which 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". [ [ 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 Kuhn first 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= |format=PDF |title=De Ongegronde Eis tot Consensus in de Psychologische |accessdate=2006-08-02]

List of examples

*Babylonian astronomy
*Hellenistic astronomy
*Indian astronomy
*Renaissance magic

ee also

*History of science
**History of science in early cultures
**Science in the Middle Ages
**History of science in the Renaissance
*Philosophy of science
*Methodical culturalism
*Pathological science
*Fringe science
* Natural magic
* Pseudoscience
* List of pseudoscientific theories
*Obsolete scientific theories


;Citations and notes

;General information
* 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.

External links

* [ Protoscience Wikicity]
* [ Questions to help distinguish a pseudoscience from a protoscience]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Protoscience — En philosophie des sciences, une protoscience est un nouveau domaine scientifique qui en est à l étape de la formulation et de la spéculation, et qui pourrait par la suite voir certaines de ses propositions établir les bases d une nouvelle… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • protoscience — noun a) an unscientific field of study which later becomes a science (e.g. astrology becoming astronomy and alchemy becoming chemistry). b) a field of study at the initial phase of the scientific method, involving information gathering and… …   Wiktionary

  • Pseudoscience — Part of a series on Science …   Wikipedia

  • Alchemy — Alchemist redirects here. For other uses, see Alchemist (disambiguation). For other uses, see Alchemy (disambiguation). Page from alchemic treatise of Ramon Llull, 16th century Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early… …   Wikipedia

  • Mainstream — For other uses, see Mainstream (disambiguation). Mainstream is, generally, the common current thought of the majority.[1] However, the mainstream is far from cohesive; rather the concept is often considered a cultural construct[citation needed].… …   Wikipedia

  • History of chemistry — History of science …   Wikipedia

  • Science — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Science (homonymie). Allégorie de la Science par Jules Blanchard. Située sur le parvis de l Hôtel de ville de Paris La …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Fringe science — Part of a series on Science …   Wikipedia

  • Crystal ball — This article is about the fortune telling object. For other uses, see Crystal ball (disambiguation). The largest flawless quartz sphere is located in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., USA …   Wikipedia

  • Journal of Scientific Exploration — Infobox Journal title = Journal of Scientific Exploration editor = Peter Sturrock discipline = language = English abbreviation = publisher = Society for Scientific Exploration country = USA frequency = quarterly history = founded in 1987… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”