Core Theory (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021)

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This is a definition of Core Theory that states "A core theory of a discipline is a theory presupposed by the discipline’s core questions."

Core Theory (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

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

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

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

See Core Theory for more details.


A core theory of a discipline is a theory presupposed by the discipline's core questions.1 The scientific mosaic consists of theories and questions.2345 Questions constitute hierarchies where more specific questions are subquestions of broader questions. Within this hierarchy, certain general questions play a special role as core questions. These questions are essential to a discipline, and have the power to identify it and determine its boundaries. For example, a core question of evolutionary biology would be 'how did living species originate as a result of evolution?'. Questions always presuppose theories, which endow them with semantic content. Those presupposed by a discipline's core questions, are that discipline's core theories. For our example, the theory in question would be The neo-Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection.


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