In the philosophy of science, a protoscience is a new science trying to establish its legitimacy. Protoscience is distinguished from pseudoscience by its standard practices of good science, such as a willingness to be disproven by new evidence, or to be replaced by a more predictive theory. Compare fringe science, which is considered highly speculative or even strongly refuted. Some protosciences go on to become an accepted part of mainstream science.
All sciences would have qualified as protosciences before the Age of Enlightenment, since the scientific method still hadn't been developed, and there was no structured way to prove legitimacy. A standard example is alchemy, which from the 18th century became chemistry, or pre-modern astrology which from the 17th century became astronomy.
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... for the use of experimental technology in science." A “protoscience” may be a field where the hypothesis presented may or may not be in accordance with the known evidence at that time, and ... case for general relativity at the time of its proposal, which is now considered science, and the case for string theory, which at the time of this article being written is a protoscience ... 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 ...
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