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What is definition? How should it be defined?

It is non-controversial that definitions play a central role in any belief system, for after all propositions make use of terms which often have definitions. Some propositions attempt to provide a definition of a term. Thus, it is important to have a coherent notion of definition, i.e. a definition of definition.

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2018. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Definition (Barseghyan-2018) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term. It is defined as: "A statement of the meaning of a term."

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this term (it includes all the instances when the term was accepted as a part of a community's taxonomy):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy8 October 2018The question became accepted as legitimate with the publication of Barseghyan's Redrafting the Ontology of Scientific Change.Yes

All Theories

The following definitions of the term have been suggested:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Definition (Barseghyan-2018)A statement of the meaning of a term.2018
If a definition of this term is missing, please click here to add it.

Accepted Theories

The following definitions of the term have been accepted:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyDefinition (Barseghyan-2018)1 September 2019

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this term:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2018-0007Scientonomy8 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

Current Definition

In Scientonomy, the accepted definition of the term is Definition (Barseghyan-2018).

Definition (Barseghyan-2018) states: "A statement of the meaning of a term."

Definition (Barseghyan-2018).png

This somewhat simplistic definition of definition is meant to highlight that definitions are themselves theories (statements, propositions). As a result, any stance that can be taken by epistemic agents towards theories can also be taken towards definitions.



There is currently no accepted view concerning the existence of definitions.


No classes are currently accepted as being disjoint with this class.


In Scientonomy, there are currently no accepted subtypes of Definition.


In Scientonomy, the following supertype of Definition is currently accepted:


No associations of a definition are currently accepted.

Epistemic Stances Towards Definitions

The question has no accepted answer.

If a question concerning the ontology of a definition is missing, please add it here.


Necessary Definitions

The question has no accepted answer.

If a question concerning the dynamics of a definition is missing, please add it here.