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Scientonomy community was initially formed at the IHPST, University of Toronto around the time of the publication of Barseghyan's The Laws of Scientific Change1 with the main goal of advancing our knowledge of scientific change in a piecemeal and transparent fashion and establishing a proper empirical science of science, scientonomy. The community publishes the Journal of Scientonomy, edits the Encyclopedia of Scientonomy, organizes scientonomic seminars and workshops.

The community was established in 2015.


In the years preceding the publication of The Laws of Scientific Change1 (2012-2015), the community would mostly gather during winter seminar sessions.

In 2015, the community has started working on the establishment of a proper science of science, Scientonomy.

To that end, the community launched the first Encyclopedia of Scientonomy early in 2016. The aim of this encyclopedia is to track the current state of our communal knowledge concerning the process of scientific change, trace and appraise the proposed modifications, as well as to list all the open questions.

Hakob Barseghyan showcasing the workflow

In September of 2016, the community launched the Journal of Scientonomy with the first issue published in 2017. An essential component of the scientonomic workflow, the journal aims at publishing original research in the field and collecting all the proposed modifications.

In 2017-18, the community was testing and revising the new scientonomic workflow geared towards the piecemeal and transparent advancement of our communal knowledge.

In 2019, the community organized its inaugural conference which featured Hasok Chang, Jutta Schickore, and Lee McIntyre as its keynotes.

The community holds its annual meetings in January or February. These annual meetings are traditionally hosted by the University of Toronto's Faculty Club.


Nicholas Overgaard outlines The Tree of Knowledge project

The road-map of the community includes:

  • Refine the systematic ontology of scientific change that will be at the backbone of the database of intellectual history. A series of conferences and workshops will be organized with the aim of discussing and evaluating proposed modifications to the current ontology.
  • Launching a pilot tree of knowledge project to develop the schema for a historical database, design the respective website, as well as to fill the database with sample high-quality historical data to test the platform and showcase its potential to the broader community of historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science.
  • Creating a full-fledged tree of knowledge website and a comprehensive historical database that would eventually document belief systems of diverse epistemic agents across time periods, field of inquiry, and geographic regions.

Current Mosaic

Accepted Topics

Definitional Topics

Descriptive Topics

Here is the semantic tree of all the descriptive questions that this community currently accepts as legitimate topics for discussion:

Normative Topics

Accepted Theories


These are all the definitional topics with their respective definitions currently accepted by the community:
TopicAccepted Definition
Acceptance CriteriaAcceptance Criteria (Barseghyan-2015)
Accidental GroupAccidental Group (Overgaard-2017)
Authority DelegationAuthority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016)
CommunityCommunity (Overgaard-2017)
Compatibility CriteriaCompatibility Criteria (Barseghyan-2015)
DefinitionDefinition (Barseghyan-2018)
Demarcation CriteriaDemarcation Criteria (Barseghyan-2015)
Descriptive TheoryDescriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016)
Employed MethodEmployed Method (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)
Epistemic Community
Explicable-ImplicitExplicable-Implicit (Mirkin-Barseghyan-2018)
ExplicitExplicit (Mirkin-Barseghyan-2018)
GroupGroup (Overgaard-2017)
Hierarchical Authority DelegationHierarchical Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017)
Historical Context
History of Scientific ChangeHistory of Scientific Change (Barseghyan-2015)
ImplicitImplicit (Mirkin-Barseghyan-2018)
Individual LevelIndividual Level (Barseghyan-2015)
InexplicableInexplicable (Mirkin-Barseghyan-2018)
MethodMethod (Barseghyan-2018)
MethodologyMethodology (Barseghyan-2018)
Mosaic MergeMosaic Merge (Barseghyan-2015)
Mosaic SplitMosaic Split (Barseghyan-2015)
Multiple Authority DelegationMultiple Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017)
Mutual Authority DelegationMutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016)
Non-Epistemic Community
Non-Hierarchical Authority DelegationNon-Hierarchical Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017)
Norm EmploymentNorm Employment (Barseghyan-2018)
Normative TheoryNormative Theory (Sebastien-2016)
One-sided Authority DelegationOne-sided Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016)
Outcome InconclusiveOutcome Inconclusive (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)
Outcome Not SatisfiedOutcome Not Satisfied (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)
Outcome SatisfiedOutcome Satisfied (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)
Procedural MethodProcedural Method (Barseghyan-2015)
QuestionQuestion (Rawleigh-2018)
Question AcceptanceQuestion Acceptance (Rawleigh-2018)
Scientific ChangeScientific Change (Barseghyan-2015)
Scientific Community
Scientific MosaicScientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2015)
ScientonomyScientonomy (Barseghyan-2015)
Singular Authority DelegationSingular Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017)
Social LevelSocial Level (Barseghyan-2015)
Sociocultural Factors
Substantive MethodSubstantive Method (Barseghyan-2015)
Technological Theory
TheoryTheory (Sebastien-2016)
Theory AcceptanceTheory Acceptance (Barseghyan-2018)
Theory PursuitTheory Pursuit (Barseghyan-2015)
Theory UseTheory Use (Barseghyan-2015)

Descriptive Theories

These are all the descriptive topics with their respective theories currently accepted by the community:
TopicAccepted AnswerAnswer Type
Accepted Methodology and Theory PursuitNone
Applicability of Scientonomy to Theories as ModelsNone
Applicability of the Laws of Scientific ChangeNone
Application of Scientonomy to Other FieldsNone
Application of Scientonomy to Philosophy of ScienceNone
Boundaries of CommunitiesNone
Changeability of the Scientific MosaicDogmatism No Theory Change theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Compatibility of Mosaic ElementsNone
Conclusive Theory AssessmentNone
Deducibility in Method EmploymentNone
Delegation of Authority to ArtifactsNone
Delegation of Authority to IndividualsNone
Delegation of Authority to Past CommunitiesNone
Deriving Methods from an Empty SetNone
Determinism vs. Underdeterminism in Scientific ChangeScientific Underdeterminism theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Underdetermined Method Change theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Underdetermined Theory Change theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Epistemic AgentsEpistemic Agents - Community (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Epistemic ElementsEpistemic Elements - Questions and Theories (Barseghyan-2018)Direct
Epistemic StancesEpistemic Stances Towards Questions - Acceptance (Rawleigh-2018)
Epistemic Stances Towards Theories - Acceptance Use and Pursuit (Barseghyan-2015)
Epistemic Stances Towards MethodsEpistemic Stances Towards Methods - None (Barseghyan-2018)Direct
Epistemic Stances Towards Normative TheoriesEpistemic Stances Towards Norms - Employment (Barseghyan-2018)Direct
Epistemic Stances Towards QuestionsEpistemic Stances Towards Questions - Acceptance (Rawleigh-2018)Direct
Epistemic Stances Towards TheoriesEpistemic Stances Towards Theories - Acceptance Use and Pursuit (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Existence of Sub-CommunitiesNone
Hierarchy of MethodsNone
Hierarchy of TheoriesNone
Implementation vs. Employment of MethodsNone
Indicators of InconclusivenessNone
Indicators of Method EmploymentIndicators of Method Employment (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Indicators of Question AcceptanceNone
Indicators of Theory AcceptanceIndicators of Theory Acceptance (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Indicators of ViolationNone
Individual and Communal LevelsNone
Inferring Theory Assessment OutcomesNone
Mechanism of CompatibilityThe Zeroth Law (Harder-2015)Direct
Mechanism of Method EmploymentThe Third Law (Sebastien-2016)Direct
Mechanism of Method RejectionMethod Rejection theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Mechanism of Mosaic SplitNecessary Mosaic Split theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Possible Mosaic Split theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Split Due to Inconclusiveness theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Mechanism of Question AcceptanceNone
Mechanism of Scientific ChangeThe Theory of Scientific ChangeDirect
Mechanism of Scientific InertiaThe First Law (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Mechanism of Theory AcceptanceThe Second Law (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)Direct
Mechanism of Theory PursuitNone
Mechanism of Theory RejectionTheory Rejection theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Methodology and MethodsNone
Methods Shaping Theory ConstructionNone
Methods and Technical Research ToolsNone
Nature of AppraisalContextual Appraisal theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Necessary ElementsNon-Empty Mosaic theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Necessary LogicNone
Necessary MethodsNecessary Method theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Necessary QuestionsNone
Necessary TheoriesNone
Normative Effects of ScientonomyNone
Ontology of Scientific ChangeEpistemic Agents - Community (Barseghyan-2015)
Epistemic Elements - Questions and Theories (Barseghyan-2018)
Epistemic Stances Towards Questions - Acceptance (Rawleigh-2018)
Epistemic Stances Towards Theories - Acceptance Use and Pursuit (Barseghyan-2015)
Theory Assessment Outcomes (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)
Philosophy of Science - DemarcationNone
Philosophy of Science - RelativismNone
Philosophy of Science - Scientific ProgressNone
Possibility of ScientonomyPossibility of Scientonomy (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Possibility of Scientonomy - Argument from Bad Track RecordResponse to the Argument from Bad Track Record (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Possibility of Scientonomy - Argument from Changeability of Scientific MethodResponse to the Argument from Changeability of Scientific Method (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Possibility of Scientonomy - PreconditionsNone
Possibility of Scientonomy - The Argument from Nothing PermanentResponse to the Argument from Nothing Permanent (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Possibility of Scientonomy - The Argument from Social ConstructionResponse to the Argument from Social Construction (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Pursuit and AcceptanceNone
Pursuit as AcceptancePursuit as Distinct from Acceptance (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Rejection of DataNone
Role of Ethics in Scientific ChangeNone
Role of Methodology in Scientific ChangeMethodology Can Shape Method theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Role of Non-Social and Environmental Factors in Scientific ChangeNone
Role of Practical Considerations in Scientific ChangeNone
Role of Sociocultural Factors in Method EmploymentNone
Role of Sociocultural Factors in Mosaic SplitNone
Role of Sociocultural Factors in Scientific ChangeSociocultural Factors in Theory Acceptance theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Indirect
Role of Sociocultural Factors in Theory AcceptanceSociocultural Factors in Theory Acceptance theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Role of Used Theories in Method EmploymentNone
Static vs. Dynamic MethodsDynamic Substantive Methods theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Static Procedural Methods theorem (Barseghyan-2015)
Status of Disciplinary BoundariesNone
Status of Impossible Abstract RequirementsNone
Status of Method and MethodologyNone
Status of ModelsNone
Status of Normative PropositionsNormative Propositions as Part of the Ontology of Scientific Change (Sebastien-2017)Direct
Status of QuestionsQuestions as Epistemic Elements (Rawleigh-2018)Direct
Status of ReasonsNone
Status of Tacit TheoriesNone
Status of Technological KnowledgeNone
Synchronism vs. Asynchronism of Method EmploymentAsynchronism of Method Employment theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Synchronism vs. Asynchronism of Method RejectionSynchronism of Method Rejection theorem (Barseghyan-2015)Direct
Tautological Status of the First LawNone
Tautological Status of the Second LawThe Second Law is Not a Tautology (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)Direct
Tautological Status of the Zeroth LawNone
The Necessity of Intercommunication for CommunityNone
The Necessity of Language in CommunityNone
The Paradox of Normative PropositionsResolution to the Paradox of Normative Propositions (Sebastien-2016)Direct
The Status of Holism and Ripple EffectNone
Theory Assessment OutcomesTheory Assessment Outcomes (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)Direct
Theory DisplacementNone
Theory vs. Method CompatibilityNone

Normative Theories

Open Questions

Here are all the open questions currently accepted by the community:
TopicTopic TypeQuestionFormulated Year
Accepted Methodology and Theory PursuitDescriptiveIs there any connection between an accepted methodology and the pursuit of a theory?2016
AnomaliesNormativeUnder which circumstances, changes in beliefs in methods would qualify as an anomaly for Scientonomy?2018
Applicability of Scientonomy to Theories as ModelsDescriptiveIs the theory of scientific change applicable to theories construed as sets of models, or in ways that reject their purely formal characterization?2017
Applicability of the Laws of Scientific ChangeDescriptiveTo which mosaics do the laws of scientific change apply? Do they apply only to scientific communities, to all epistemic communities, or all communities whatsoever (including non-epistemic communities)? Do these patterns emerge and exist in communities who gather together to study the world?2017
Application of Scientonomy to Other FieldsDescriptiveWhat is the broader relevance of scientonomy? How can scientonomy inform other fields of inquiry?2018
Application of Scientonomy to Philosophy of ScienceDescriptiveHow can the findings of scientonomy be applied to answer the traditional questions of the philosophy of science?2018
Assessment of Scientonomy - MethodNormativeWhat method ought to be employed to assess a scientonomic theory?2015
Boundaries of CommunitiesDescriptiveHow does one identify the boundaries of a community? What must be maintained among like-minded individuals in order to retain their community status? What degree of difference within a community is tolerable?2018
CompatibilityDefinitionalWhat is compatibility? How should it be defined?2018
Compatibility of Mosaic ElementsDescriptiveAre all elements within a mosaic compatible with one another?2018
Conclusive Theory AssessmentDescriptiveAre there any actual historical instances of conclusive theory assessment or does every case of theory assessment involve some degree of inconclusiveness?2016
Deducibility in Method EmploymentDescriptiveWhat does deducibility in the Third Law mean? Does it refer to the deducibility of Classic Logic, or to a logic accepted by the community at the time?2018
Delegation of Authority to ArtifactsDescriptiveCan there be delegation of authority to tools, instruments, other material objects, or to computer software?2016
Delegation of Authority to IndividualsDescriptiveCan there be delegation of authority to individuals?2018
Delegation of Authority to Past CommunitiesDescriptiveIs it possible for a community to delegate authority to a community that no longer exists? Can a community delegate authority to a past expert?2017
Deriving Methods from an Empty SetDescriptiveDoes the possibility of a method being derived from an empty set pose a problem for the current formulation of the third law? Can we conceive of a situation in which a method is derived from an empty subset?2017
Epistemic CommunityDefinitionalWhat is epistemic community? How should it be defined? I.e. how is it different from non-epistemic community?2016
Existence of Sub-CommunitiesDescriptiveIs there such a thing as a sub-community? Can communities consist of other communities?2017
Hierarchy of MethodsDescriptiveIs there a hierarchy of methods which determines theory acceptance?2018
Hierarchy of TheoriesDescriptiveIs there a hierarchy of theories that determines hierarchical authority delegation, hierarchical anomaly-tolerance, compatibility criteria or theory acceptance criteria?2018
Historical ContextDefinitionalWhat is historical context? How should it be defined? Does it include only the content of the scientific mosaic, or does it also involve non-epistemic sociocultural phenomena?2016
Implementation vs. Employment of MethodsDescriptiveIs there a difference between implementation and employment of a method? Is the mechanism of implementation the same as the mechanism of employment?2017
Indicators of InconclusivenessDescriptiveWhat indicators enable us to identify a historical case of inconclusive theory assessment?2016
Indicators of Question AcceptanceDescriptiveWhat are the historical indicators of theory acceptance? How can observational scientonomists establish that such-and-such a question was accepted as a legitimate topic of inquiry by a certain epistemic agent at a certain time?2018
Indicators of ViolationDescriptiveWhat are the methodological indicators of violations of scientific change?2018
Individual and Communal LevelsDescriptiveWhat is the relation between the communal and the individual level? To what extent can the individual level epistemic stances tell about the communal level?2018
Inferring Theory Assessment OutcomesDescriptiveWhat can an observational scientonomist infer about a theory's assessment outcome from the theory's acceptance/unacceptance?2017
LawDefinitionalHow should we define the term law in the scientonomic context? How is law different from theory? Do we even need law as a separate concept?2016
Mechanism of Question AcceptanceDescriptiveHow do questions become accepted as legitimate topics of inquiry? What is the mechanism of question acceptance?2018
Mechanism of Theory PursuitDescriptiveWhat is the mechanism of theory pursuit, if any? How do theories become pursued by communities? Is pursuit purely determined by sociocultural factors or is there an epistemic element to it as well?2015
Methodology and MethodsDescriptiveCan a method become employed by being the deductive consequence of an already accepted methodology? How would this affect the Methodology Can Shape Methods theorem?2016
Methods Shaping Theory ConstructionDescriptiveDo our employed methods and accepted demarcation criteria influence theory construction?2016
Methods and Technical Research ToolsDescriptiveWhat is the relationship between methods and technical research tools?2016
Necessary LogicDescriptiveWhat is the minimum logic required for scientific change to occur?2018
Necessary QuestionsDescriptiveAre there questions that are necessarily part of any mosaic? Should there be a minimum number of accepted questions in an epistemic community in order for that community to experience scientific change?2018
Necessary TheoriesDescriptiveAre there theories that are necessarily part of any mosaic?2016
Non-Epistemic CommunityDefinitionalWhat is non-epistemic community? How should it be defined? I.e. how can it be differentiated from epistemic community?2016
Normative Effects of ScientonomyDescriptiveWhat are the normative effects of scientonomy on the process of scientific change?2018
Philosophy of Science - DemarcationDescriptiveCan scientonomy as a descriptive empirical science of science be applied to solve the problem of demarcation?2018
Philosophy of Science - RelativismDescriptiveCan scientonomy as a descriptive empirical science of science be applied to solve the problem of scientific progress?2018
Philosophy of Science - Scientific ProgressDescriptiveCan scientonomy as a descriptive empirical science of science be applied to solve the problem of scientific progress/relativism?2018
Possibility of Scientonomy - PreconditionsDescriptiveUnder which conditions do the patterns of scientific change emerge and hold?2018
Pursuit and AcceptanceDescriptiveWhat is the relationship between the process of theory acceptance and that of theory pursuit?2018
Rejection of DataDescriptiveWhen data points are rejected as inaccurate, the First Law (perhaps via the Theory Rejection Theorem) would predict that those propositions are replaced by something. What are they replaced by?2018
Role of Ethics in Scientific ChangeDescriptiveWhat role do ethical concerns play in scientific change? Are ethical norms capable of affecting employed methods?2016
Role of Non-Social and Environmental Factors in Scientific ChangeDescriptiveIn addition to interactions between people in a community, what role do interactions between people and their natural, non-social environment have on the process of scientific change?2017
Role of Practical Considerations in Scientific ChangeDescriptiveWhat is the role of practical considerations such as financial constraints or limitations of manpower in the process of scientific change?2016
Role of Sociocultural Factors in Method EmploymentDescriptiveWhat is the role of sociocultural factors, such as economics or politics, in the process of method employment?2015
Role of Sociocultural Factors in Mosaic SplitDescriptiveWhat role do sociocultural factors play in a mosaic split?2018
Role of Used Theories in Method EmploymentDescriptiveDoes the third law allow for methods to be deductive consequences of used theories?2017
Scientific CommunityDefinitionalWhat is scientific community? Can it be defined as more than simply “the bearer of a mosaic”?2015
Scope of Scientonomy - Mosaic FormationNormativeShould Scientonomy tackle the question of the initial formation of a scientific mosaic?2018
Scope of Scientonomy - Tracing Implicit and ExplicitNormativeShould observational scientonomy trace when a certain stance towards an epistemic element was taken explicitly or implicitly?2018
Sociocultural FactorsDefinitionalWhat are sociocultural factors? How should they be defined?2016
Status of Disciplinary BoundariesDescriptiveHow do disciplinary boundaries exist within the scientific mosaic?2016
Status of Impossible Abstract RequirementsDescriptiveWhat happens in situations where an abstract requirement can't be met? What do we do when we would like to keep certain theories but those theories are left in limbo?2018
Status of Method and MethodologyDescriptiveCan Method and Methodology be defined such that it doesn't rely on the implicit-explicit distinction?2018
Status of ModelsDescriptiveWhat is the status of models in the mosaic?2016
Status of ReasonsDescriptiveDo epistemic communities accept reasons during theory acceptance? If they do, what is the nature of the relationship between reasons and scientific change? Is it possible for a theory to remain accepted while the original reason for its acceptance is replaced by another?2018
Status of Tacit TheoriesDescriptiveWhat is the status of tacit theories in the scientific mosaic? Is it possible for a community to actually accept a theory without openly formulating it?2016
Status of Technological KnowledgeDescriptiveWhat is the status of technological knowledge in the scientific mosaic? Can technological knowledge be accepted into a mosaic?2015
Tautological Status of the First LawDescriptiveIs the first law a tautology, i.e. can it in principle be violated?2016
Tautological Status of the Zeroth LawDescriptiveIs the Zeroth law a tautology?2017
Technological TheoryDefinitionalWhat is technological theory? How should it be defined?2016
The Necessity of Intercommunication for CommunityDescriptiveIf two independent communities undergo similar changes which result in identical mosaics, are these communities still considered as distinct, or are they a single community?2016
The Necessity of Language in CommunityDescriptiveIs a shared language, or propositional code, presupposed by the existence of an epistemic community?2017
The Status of Holism and Ripple EffectDescriptiveIs it the case that changes in one of the elements of a mosaic can have a "ripple effect" on the rest of the mosaic?2018
Theory DisplacementDescriptiveIs it conceivable that, following the rejection of a method, that any theories which satisfied its requirements also would become rejected, seeing as how the reasons for belief in them no longer hold (in the eyes of the community)?2018
Theory vs. Method CompatibilityDescriptiveWhat is the relationship between the Compatibility Criteria for theories and for methods within the same Mosaic?2018
Workflow - Handling Ripple EffectsNormativeHow should the scientonomic workflow handle the ripple effect of additional minor changes to the body of scientonomic knowledge caused by the acceptance of a certain modification?2019

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of all modifications suggested to the mosaic of this community:
ModificationTopicDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2016-0001The Paradox of Normative Propositions
Mechanism of Method Employment
3 September 2016Accept a new formulation of the third law to make it clear that employed methods do not have to be deducible from all accepted theories and employed methods but only from some.AcceptedThere was a community consensus that "the new formulation of the third law does bring an additional level of precision to our understanding of the mechanism of method change".c1 The community agreed that the new formulation "makes a clarification that, on its own, warrants this modification's acceptance".c2 Importantly, it was also agreed that the modification "solves the paradox of normative propositions".c321 January 2017
Descriptive Theory
Normative Theory
Theory Acceptance
3 September 2016Accept a new taxonomy for theory, normative theory, descriptive theory to reintroduce normative propositions (such as those of ethics or methodology) to the scientific mosaic.Not AcceptedSince this modification consisted of two interrelated but essentially distinct suggestions - one definitional and one ontological - it was decided by the community to divide it into two modifications so that the gist of the proposed suggestions is properly articulated. In particular, it was agreed that there are two modifications in "the heart of this single modification - one ontological, the other definitional".c1 It was also agreed that the current formulation "is exclusively definitional, and does not give the community an opportunity to appreciate (and, well, accept) the ontological changes that come along with it".c2 Consequently, it was decided to divide this modification into two modifications - one definitional and one ontological.c323 January 2017
Sciento-2016-0003Authority Delegation7 September 2016Accept the notion of authority delegation.AcceptedThere was a community consensus that the concept of authority delegation is a significant contribution to scientonomy, as it "sheds light on the mechanism by which the more local, specialized mosaics of epistemic/scientific sub-communities gives rise to the more global scientific mosaic (of *the* Scientific Community), and all in terms of theories and methods".c1 It was also noted that the concept "has already been tacitly accepted by our community"c2 as it has been incorporated in some recent scientonomic research. One further suggestion was to continue refining the concept of authority delegation by focusing on cases "where the delegating community applies its own additional criteria before accepting what the experts tell them".c31 February 2017
Sciento-2016-0004Mutual Authority Delegation
One-sided Authority Delegation
7 September 2016Provided that the notion of authority delegation is accepted, accept the notions of mutual authority delegation and one-sided authority delegation as subtypes of authority delegation.AcceptedFollowing a period of discussion, it was finally agreed that "the current definitions of authority delegation, mutual authority delegation, and one-sided authority delegation, despite their problems, are currently the best available such definitions".c1 It was noted that these definitions don't take into the account the possibility of conditional authority delegation, where community A is prepared to accept the findings of another community on a certain topic only if these findings also satisfy some additional criteria imposed by community A. It was argued that there might be cases where a community's reliance on the findings of another community might be "conditional in ways that the current authority delegation definition is too restrictive to encompass".c2 The idea of conditional delegation was found pursuit-worhty.c3 It was also stressed that these definitions are only the first step towards a deeper understanding of the mechanism of authority delegation. Scientonomists were advised to pursue the idea of deducing "theorems concerning theory acceptance and method employment in delegating mosaics".c42 February 2018
Descriptive Theory
Normative Theory
23 January 2017Accept new definitions for theory, normative theory, and descriptive theory. Also, modify the definition of methodology to reflect these changes.AcceptedThe community agreed that this is "an important addition to theoretical scientonomy".c1 It was agreed that since "the paradox of normative propositions has been solved, a revised set of definitions was needed".c2 It was emphasized that if we're going to have any sort of conversation on the status of normative propositions in the mosaic, "then we need to start from a definition".c315 February 2017
Sciento-2017-0002Theory Acceptance
Epistemic Elements
23 January 2017Accept a new ontology of scientific change where the two fundamental elements are theories - both descriptive and normative - and methods.AcceptedThe community has agreed that after the solution of the paradox of normative propositions, there are no obstacles for including normative propositions into the ontology of scientific change.c1 c2 c3 It was also agreed that including normative propositions into the ontology of scientific change "would allow us to grasp the role that methodological and ethical rules play in science".c415 February 2017
Sciento-2017-000327 January 2017Accept that licenses to teach [ʾijāzāt] are reliable indicators of which texts were considered authoritative in the Medieval Arabic scientific mosaic (MASM) in c. 750-1258 CE in the Abbasid caliphate. Thus, a proposition can be said to be accepted in MASM if the evidence of the licenses to teach [ʾijāzāt] indicates so.Open
Sciento-2017-0004Outcome Satisfied
Outcome Not Satisfied
Outcome Inconclusive
Theory Assessment Outcomes
Employed Method
Mechanism of Theory Acceptance
5 February 2017Accept the reformulation of the second law which explicitly links theory assessment outcomes with theory acceptance/unacceptance. To that end, accept three new definitions for theory assessment outcomes (satisfied, not satisfied, and inconclusive) as well as the new ontology of theory assessment outcomes, and accept the new definition of employed method.AcceptedThe new formulation of the law became accepted as a result of a communal consensus. It was noted by the commentators that the "modification provides a much improved formulation of the 2nd law".c1 It was noted that the new formulation "decouples the method from acceptance outcomes" and "is needed to avoid a contradiction for cases where assessment by the method is inconclusive, but the theory is accepted".c2 It was agreed that the new law eliminates two of the major flaws of the previous formulation. First, it clearly states the relations between different assessment outcomes and the actual theory acceptance/unacceptance. Second, it clearly forbids certain conceivable courses of events and, thus, doesn't sounds like a tautology.c329 November 2017
Sciento-2017-0005Tautological Status of the Second Law5 February 2017Accept that the new second law is not a tautology.AcceptedThe modification was deemed uncontroversial by the community. Its acceptance was contingent upon the acceptance of the new formulation of the second law suggested by Patton, Overgaard and Barseghyan. Once the new second law became accepted, it was also accepted that the new law is not a tautology. There was no notable discussion concerning this modification.29 November 2017
Sciento-2017-0006Inferring Theory Assessment Outcomes5 February 2017Accept the following set of inferences of theory assessment outcomes from the acceptance or unacceptance of a single contender and two contenders.Open
Sciento-2017-0007Singular Authority Delegation
Multiple Authority Delegation
Hierarchical Authority Delegation
Non-Hierarchical Authority Delegation
19 May 2017Accept the definitions of the following subtypes of authority delegation: singular authority delegation, multiple authority delegation, hierarchical authority delegation, and non-hierarchical authority delegation.AcceptedWhile the notions of singular and multiple authority delegation didn't cause much controversy, the notions of hierarchical and non-hierarchical authority delegation gave rise to notable disagreement among scientonomists. As a result, the modification was in discussion for about a year and a half.c1 Eventually, a consensus emerged mostly as a result of offline (in-person) discussion meetings. It was agreed that "for decisions that are not rote and routine, it seems highly unlikely that a pre-established hierarchy of authority delegation does or could exist, nor could a pre-established belief that all authorities should be given equal weight".c2 However, it was also agreed that Loiselle's study "have identified at least one aspect of hierarchical authority delegation in epistemic communities",c3 for "there seem to be instances where some experts occupy privileged positions in the eyes of those delegating authority" and that "alone is sufficient to suggest that hierarchies of authority delegation exists, regardless of of how transient or fixed they might be".c423 October 2018
Sciento-2017-000819 May 2017Accept the following reconstruction of the contemporary authority delegation structure in the art market regarding the works of Monet: A work claimed to be by Monet is authentic if it is considered authentic by the Wildenstein Institute.Open
Sciento-2017-000919 May 2017Accept the following reconstruction of the contemporary authority delegation structure in the art market regarding the works of Picasso: a work claimed to be by Picasso is authentic if it is has been certified as authentic by both Maya Widmaier-Picasso and Claude Ruiz-Picasso.Open
Sciento-2017-001019 May 2017Accept the following reconstruction of the authority delegation structure in the art market regarding the works of Modigliani between 1997 and 2015: a work claimed to be by Modigliani is authentic iff (1) it is in the Ceroni catalogue raisonné or (2) if it is not in catalogue and has been certified as authentic by Marc Restellini.Open
Sciento-2017-001119 May 2017Accept the following reconstruction of the contemporary authority delegation structure in the art market regarding the works of Renoir: a work claimed to be by Renoir is authentic iff (1) it has been certified as authentic by the Wildenstein institute or (2) it has not been dismissed by the Wildenstein institute and it is included in the Bernheim-Jeune catalogue.Open
Accidental Group
19 May 2017Accept a new taxonomy for group and its two sub-types - accidental group, and community.AcceptedA consensus has emerged after a long discussion that the distinction and the respective definitions should be accepted. It was noted that "these formulations tend to be the starting point for so many of our discussions"c1 and that "despite all disagreements that this taxonomy causes, it is actually accepted by the community".c2 Yet, it was also indicated that whereas the definition of group as "two or more people that share a characteristic" is the best we have at the moment, it may be potentially necessary to pursue the idea of redefining it as "one or more people..." to allow for one-scientist communities.c3 Finally, while a question was raised whether there is any "value in defining accidental groups as something separate from groups",c4 it was eventually agreed that it is important to draw "a clear distinction between the two kinds of groups as accidental groups and communities".c52 February 2018
Sciento-2017-0013Existence of Sub-Communities19 May 2017Accept that communities can consist of other communities, i.e. that there is such a thing as a sub-community.Open
Sciento-2017-0014Epistemic Community
Non-Epistemic Community
19 May 2017Provided that the definition of community is accepted, accept new definitions of epistemic community and non-epistemic community as sub-types of community.Open
Sciento-2017-0015Epistemic Community as Part of Non-Epistemic Community19 May 2017Provided that the distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic communities is accepted, accept that a non-epistemic community can consist of epistemic communities.OpenThe modification can only become accepted once modifications Sciento-2017-0013 and Sciento-2017-0014 all become accepted.
Sciento-2018-0001Question12 May 2018Accept the definition of question as a topic of inquiry.AcceptedThe consensus was reached as a result of in-person consultations with scientonomists mostly outside of the discussion page of this modification. It was agreed that as the only currently published definition of the term, Rawleigh's definition is to be accepted as the best available. An alternative definition of question as "a topic of scientific inquiry"c1 was presented as a potentially pursuit-worthy direction. However, it was eventually agreed that including "scientificity" into the definition of question conflates "the question of how a question should be defined" with "the question of what stances can be taken towards questions".c2 It does not distinguish "the propositional content of the element itself" and "its historical fate", for "scientificity or lack thereof doesn't change the propositional content of the question".c326 September 2018
Sciento-2018-0002Epistemic Elements
Status of Questions
12 May 2018Accept the ontology of epistemic elements with theories, methods, and questions as distinct epistemic elements.AcceptedFollowing several focused discussions - both in-person and on the discussion page of this modification - it was finally decided that the modification is to be accepted. Three important clarifications were made. First, it was noted that Rawleigh only shows that questions cannot be reduced either to methods or to theories, but it is still conceivable "that questions may be functions of both theories and methods simultaneously".c1 Second, it was decided that accepting the modification is still warranted, since currently we don't have any idea how questions could be reduced to a conjunction of theories and methods.c2 Third, scientonomists are actively encouraged to pursue the question of possibility of reducing questions to a conjunction of theories and methods.c326 September 2018
Sciento-2018-0003Question Acceptance
Epistemic Stances Towards Questions
12 May 2018Accept that the epistemic stance that can be taken by an epistemic agent towards a question is question acceptance (the opposite is unacceptance), where question acceptance is defined as "a question is said to be accepted if it is taken as a legitimate topic of inquiry".AcceptedIt was noted that "the whole point of adding questions to the ontology of epistemic elements was that we can legitimately speak of a question being accepted by a certain agent at a certain time".c1 The discussion also revealed a need to distinguish distinguish "a situation where no consensus exists from a situation where a consensus exists that a question is illegitimate".c2 In other words, "just as question acceptance, theory acceptance too seems to allow for three values: (clearly) accepted; (clearly) unaccepted; no consensus".c3 Thus, a new question was suggested concerning the binary character of epistemic stances: "are all epistemic stances binary, or do they allow for more than two values?"c41 November 2018
Sciento-2018-000412 May 2018Accept the questions of the mechanism question acceptance and indicators of question acceptance as legitimate topics of scientonomic inquiry.AcceptedAs the modification concerned exclusively questions, it was set to be accepted automatically once its "parent" modifications became accepted. Thus, the questions of the mechanism of question acceptance and indicators of question acceptance became automatically accepted once the presupposed modifications were accepted.1 November 2018
8 October 2018Accept the new definitions of method as a set of criteria for theory evaluation and methodology as a normative discipline that formulates the rules which ought to be employed in theory assessment.AcceptedThe consensus concerning this modification emerged primarily off-line, following a series of discussions. It was noted that the new definition "does clarify the scientific understanding of methods as normative theories that can be both accepted and employed".c1 It was also highlighted that the consensus on this modification "has been manifested on several occasions, including the first scientonomy conference in May 2019 in Toronto, where several of the speakers treated the suggested definition of method as accepted".c2 Importantly, it was also agreed that the acceptance of "this definition will require a whole series of changes to other theories already accepted by the scientonomic community to accord with the new definitions, for example, the Methodology can shape Method theorem."c3 This raises an important workflow-related question: does this mean that the encyclopedia editors have the right to make the respective changes?c41 September 2019
Sciento-2018-0006Epistemic Elements
Theory Acceptance
8 October 2018Accept 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.AcceptedFollowing 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".c41 September 2019
Sciento-2018-0007Definition8 October 2018Accept the definition of definition as a statement of the meaning of a term.AcceptedThe consensus on this modification emerged primarily off-line. It was agreed that whether or not "definitions can have a truth value" is irrelevant to this modification and that "the question of most relevance to scientonomy is whether definitions can be accepted or not accepted by an epistemic agent".c1 It was also noted that the consensus concerning this modification "has manifested on several occasions, including the first scientonomy conference in May 2019 in Toronto."c21 September 2019
Sciento-2018-0008Norm Employment8 October 2018Accept the definition of norm employment.AcceptedThe consensus on this modification emerged mostly off-line.c1 Importantly, it was also emphasized that its acceptance may have a ripple effect on other accepted definitions.c2 It was not clear whether "the acceptance of a new theory could be considered to implicitly grant permission to the editors to make small changes to old theories for the sake of maintaining consistency, without the need for explicit review and acceptance".c3 Thus, a new question concerning handling this ripple effect was accepted.1 September 2019
Sciento-2018-0009Scientific Mosaic8 October 2018Accept the new definition of scientific mosaic as a set of all epistemic elements accepted and/or employed by the epistemic agent.Open
Sciento-2018-00108 October 2018Accept that epistemic stances of all types can be taken explicitly and/or implicitly and that epistemic elements of all types can be explicit and/or implicit.AcceptedThe consensus concerning this modification emerged primarily off-line.c1 It was agreed that this modification is to be accepted, as it "opens the way for any epistemic stance or element to be either implicit or explicit, with the arbiter for any given case being empirical evidence".c21 September 2019
28 December 2018Accept the three-fold distinction between explicit, explicable-implicit, and inexplicable.AcceptedThe consensus on this modification emerged primarily off-line. It was agreed that "the modification should be accepted".c1 It was also agreed "that the three-fold distinction is to be accepted as it introduces a distinction between explicable-implicit and inexplicable and thus contributes to the clarity of discussions concerning implicit and explicit."c21 September 2019
Sciento-2018-0012Status of Technological Knowledge28 December 2018Accept that propositional technological knowledge – i.e. technological questions, theories, and methods – can be part of a mosaic.Open
Sciento-2018-0013Epistemic Stances Towards Theories28 December 2018Accept scientificity as a distinct epistemic stance that epistemic agents can take towards theories. Also accept several questions concerning the definition of scientificity and the applicability of scientificity to other epistemic elements as legitimate topics of scientonomic inquiry.Open
Sciento-2018-0014Mechanism of Theory Demarcation
Tautological Status of the Law of Theory Demarcation
28 December 2018Accept the law of theory demarcation as a new scientonomic axiom. Also accept questions concerning indicators of scientificity as legitimate topics of scientonomic inquiry.Open
Compatibility of Mosaic Elements
28 January 2018Accept the definition definition of compatibility, as the ability of two elements to coexist in the same mosaic. Also replace the zeroth law with the compatibility corollary.Open
Sciento-2018-001628 January 2018Accept compatibility as a distinct epistemic stance that can be taken towards epistemic elements of all types. Also accept that compatibility is binary, reflexive, and symmetric. Transitivity of compatibility holds only within mosaics, not sui generis.Open
Sciento-2018-0017Compatibility Criteria28 January 2018Accept the new definition of compatibility criteria as criteria for determining whether two elements are compatible or incompatible.Open
Sciento-2018-0018Mechanism of Compatibility28 January 2018Accept the new dynamic law of compatibility which specifies how exactly two elements become to be considered compatible or incompatible within a mosaic.Open
Sciento-2018-0019Theory Acceptance28 January 2018Accept the new definition of theory acceptance which makes explicit that accepted theories are a subset of scientific theories.Open
Sciento-2018-0020Synchronism vs. Asynchronism of Demarcation and Acceptance28 January 2018Accept the demarcation-acceptance synchronism theorem.Open

Notable Members

Gregory Rupik
Hakob Barseghyan
Jamie Shaw
Mirka Loiselle
Nicholas Overgaard
Paul Patton
William Rawleigh
Zoe Sebastien


  1. a b  Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.