Core Question (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021)

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This is a definition of Core Question that states "A core question of a discipline is a question identified in the discipline’s delineating theory as definitive of the discipline."

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This definition of Core Question was formulated by Paul Patton and Cyrus Al-Zayadi in 2021.1

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

This definition has never been accepted.

Suggestions To Accept

Here are all the modifications where the acceptance of this definition has been suggested:

Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Verdict Verdict Rationale Date Assessed
Sciento-2021-0006 Scientonomy 1 August 2021 Accept new definitions of subquestion, core question, core theory, discipline, delineating theory, subdiscipline, and discipline acceptance. Open

Question Answered

Core Question (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021) is an attempt to answer the following question: What is core question? How should it be defined?

See Core Question for more details.


The core questions of a discipline are those general questions that are essential to a discipline, having the power to define it and establish its boundaries within a hierarchy of questions. They are identified as such in the discipline's delineating theory.1 The scientific mosaic consists of theories and questions.2345 Questions form hierarchies in which more specific questions are subquestions of broader questions. Theories enter into this hierarchy as well since questions presuppose theories, and theories are answers to questions. It is the position of core questions within such hierarchies that confer upon them the power to define and establish the boundaries of a discipline by indicating which questions and theories are included. For example, the question 'how did living things originate as a result of evolution?' is a core question of evolutionary biology.


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  1. ^  Patton, Paul and Al-Zayadi, Cyrus. (2021) Disciplines in the Scientonomic Ontology. Scientonomy 4, 59-85. Retrieved from