This book examines the various norms for the logic and methodology of science, placing them in the context of the cognitive interests and explanatory ideals that motivate science. Various themes in the philosophy of science are examined, including the views of K. Popper, T. Kuhn and L. Laudan. Characteristic cases of scientific theories are examined in order to illustrate and justify the proposed norms. These include, on the one hand, the emergence of the science of Galileo, Kepler and Newton from the older metaphysical style of explanation to be found in Aristotle, and, on the other hand, Darwin's theory of natural selection.
Also included are characteristic cases of pseudoscience, including creation science, Lysenkoism, Velikovsky, UFOs and ancient astronauts, astrology, parapsychology, and various kinds of alternative medicine. From these examples and the more theoretical discussion, there emerge a series of norms for demarcating science and pseudoscience.
Various aspects of the scientific method are examined in detail, including the role of hypotheses, the logical structure of theories, how these relate to the experimental methods of John Stuart Mill. The book concludes with a discussion of various problems concerning data collection; for example, what do we say about observational reports of the existence of UFOs? In this context there is a discussion of some of the issues raised in the so-called "science wars." It is concluded that the sociology of science can at times be helpful to the scientific community in improving their methods of investigation.