Associations of Theory

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How is the class of theory associated with other classes (and itself)? What aggregation, composition, or other association relations can exist between theories, as well as between a theory and instances of other classes?

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2015. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. The following associations of Theory are currently accepted in Scientonomy:

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this question (it includes all the instances when the question was accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by a community):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy1 January 2016The question of Associations of Theory became accepted by virtue of the acceptance of Theory. The term became accepted together with the rest of the original TSC.Yes

All Theories

The following answers have been added to this encyclopedia:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Theory Answers Question (Rawleigh-2018)A theory is an answer to a question.2018
Question Can Presuppose Theories (Barseghyan-Levesley-2019)A question can presuppose theories.2019
Discipline Can Have Theories (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021)A discipline can have any number of theories. Each theory can be included into any number disciplines.2021
If a theory concerning the associations of a theory is missing, please click here to add it.

Accepted Theories

The following theories have been accepted as answers to this question:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyTheory Answers Question (Rawleigh-2018)26 September 2018
ScientonomyQuestion Can Presuppose Theories (Barseghyan-Levesley-2019)15 May 2019
ScientonomyDiscipline Can Have Theories (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021)21 February 2024

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Date Assessed Verdict Verdict Rationale
Sciento-2018-0006 Scientonomy 8 October 2018 Accept the new ontology of epistemic elements with, theories and questions are the two basic epistemic elements where and each theory is an attempt to answer a certain question, theories can be of three types – descriptive, normative, or definitions, and methods are a subtype of normative theory. 1 September 2019 Accepted Following a series of off-line discussions, a consensus emerged concerning this modification: it was agreed that the modification is to be accepted.c1 It was mentioned that most of the elements of this new ontology "has already been accepted by the scientonomic community".c2 It was also stressed that "the consensus has been manifested on several occasions, including the first scientonomy conference in May 2019 in Toronto, where several of the presenters treated this new ontology as accepted."c3 The fact that the consensus concerning this modification has been achieved primarily off-line, i.e. outside of the discussion pages of this encyclopedia suggests that the scientonomic "workflow must have a way of accommodating these discussions".c4
Sciento-2021-0006 Scientonomy 1 August 2021 Accept new definitions of subquestion, core question, core theory, discipline, delineating theory, subdiscipline, and discipline acceptance. 21 February 2024 Accepted Prior to the 2024 workshop, Hakob Barseghyan commented on the encyclopedia indicating his support for accepting this modification and noted its potential to underpin further work on discipline dynamics. In fact, a significant amount of observational scientonomy work has been carried out in the past few years (including the paper on the rejection of alchemy by Friesen and Patton (2023),1 as well as some more recent papers) that presupposes the acceptance of these definitions, despite the fact that the modification containing them formally remains open. There was very little discussion about the modification, beyond raising points for the community to look forward to in the future, like a brief discussion between Jamie Shaw and Paul Patton about the need for more research on the difference between disciplines and disciplinary communities. The modification was accepted unanimously with 18 votes.

Current View

In Scientonomy, the following associations of Theory are currently accepted:

Theory Answers Question (Rawleigh-2018) states: "A theory is an answer to a question."

Question Can Presuppose Theories (Barseghyan-Levesley-2019) states: "A question can presuppose theories."

Discipline Can Have Theories (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021) states: "A discipline can have any number of theories. Each theory can be included into any number disciplines."

According to Patton and Al-Zayadi, a discipline can have any number of theories that attempt to answer the questions of the discipline, while each theory can be part of any number of disciplines.2

Related Topics


  1. ^  Friesen, Izzy and Patton, Paul. (2023) Discipline Dynamics of Chymistry and Rejection of Alchemy. Scientonomy 5, 93-110. Retrieved from
  2. ^  Patton, Paul and Al-Zayadi, Cyrus. (2021) Disciplines in the Scientonomic Ontology. Scientonomy 4, 59-85. Retrieved from