Assessment of Scientonomy
How ought a scientonomic theory be assessed? What conditions ought it satisfy in order to become accepted? What kinds of facts ought to be relevant for assessing a scientonomic theory?
In many branches of contemporary science, theories are required to have confirmed novel predictions to become accepted. Should a scientonomic theory be assessed by its ability to make novel predictions? Alternatively, should it be assessed merely based on its ability to explain past episodes?
In Scientonomy, the accepted answer to the question is:
- At the level of metatheory, the relevant evidence for assessing a scientonomic theory ought to be the facts relating to the state of the scientific mosaic and its transitions. The complete list of relevant phenomena that ought to be considered can only be identified for a specific scientonomic theory.
Previous thinkers on the subject, including Laudan, Popper, and Lakatos, considered theory assessment to be the purpose of methodology.123 A proposed methodology could be used to determine the set of conditions or standards to be met for theory assessment. In turn, this raises the question, by which criteria can one assess a specified methodology? To solve this problem, philosophers proposed metamethodologies. For example, Laudan’s proposed normative naturalism assesses methodology by testing it against the historical record.1 Alternatively, employing the hypothetico-deductive method for testing a methodological thesis can be considered a metamethodology.3 However, each of these approaches begs the question as to how we assess or accept one methamethodology over another. In order to avoid the inevitable infinite regress that results from this process, Lakatos proposed a self-referential approach, whereby a methodology is to be assessed by its own standards.2 Although this closes the loop, Lakatos’ metamethodology risks introducing circularity into one’s reasoning.
Assessment of a theory of scientific change offers some additional challenges to those outlined above. One issue is that, to previous philosophers concerned with theory assessment, determining the mechanism for scientific change is essentially the same as explicating the method of science. One implication is the conflating of the descriptive and normative questions of assessment. In the ensuing confusion, methodology and TSC become indistinguishable.
|1 January 2016
|The law became de facto accepted by the community at that time together with the whole theory of scientific change.
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In Scientonomy, the accepted answer to the question is Assessment of Scientonomy - Relevant Facts (Barseghyan-2015).
Assessment of Scientonomy - Relevant Facts (Barseghyan-2015) states: "At the level of metatheory, the relevant evidence for assessing a scientonomic theory ought to be the facts relating to the state of the scientific mosaic and its transitions. The complete list of relevant phenomena that ought to be considered can only be identified for a specific scientonomic theory."
Some facts ought to be relevant to the assessment of a theory because the content of the theory itself implies their relevance, and others ought to be relevant simply by definition. When assessing a theory concerning scientific change, relevant facts that ought necessarily to be considered include questions pertinent to scientific change processes. For example: What theories and methods were part of the scientific mosaic of the community in question, both before and after the instance of scientific change? What modifications were proposed and what parts of the mosaic did they intend to replace? Which of these modifications became accepted into the mosaic, and how?
Relevant questions will depend on accepted views about the scope of scientonomy. For example, if scientonomy deals with scientific change at the level of scientific communities, then facts about the accepted views of communities ought to be relevant, and the views of particular individuals ought not. If scientonomy deals only with theory appraisal and not with theory construction, then it follows that facts concerning the former, but not the latter, ought to be considered.
Relevant facts will also depend on the content of the mosaic at the time in question. For example, it is anachronistic to speak of religious constraints on science in the seventeenth century since, at that time, religion and natural philosophy were not regarded as separate domains of knowledge, but as part of the same mosaic.4
It has the following sub-topic(s):
This topic is also related to the following topic(s):
- Mechanism of Theory Acceptance
- Possibility of Scientonomy
- Possibility of Scientonomy - The Argument from Nothing Permanent
- Possibility of Scientonomy - The Argument from Social Construction
- Possibility of Scientonomy - Argument from Bad Track Record
- Indicators of Method Employment
- Indicators of Theory Acceptance
- Possibility of Scientonomy - Argument from Changeability of Scientific Method
- Theory Acceptance
- Laudan, Larry. (1987) Relativism, Naturalism and Reticulation. Synthese 71 (3), 221-234.
- Lakatos, Imre. (1971) History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions. In Lakatos (1978a), 102-138.
- Nola, Robert and Sankey, Howard. (2007) Theories of Scientific Method. McGill-Queen's University Press.
- Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.