Descriptive Theory

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What is descriptive theory? How should it be defined?

There are some propositions that attempt to describe and explain the world. It is important to provide this class of propositions with a proper scientonomic definition.

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Zoe Sebastien in 2016. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Descriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term. Descriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016) states "A set of propositions that attempts to describe something."


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
Scientonomy16 February 2017The question became accepted as legitimate with the publication of Sebastien (2016).Yes

All Theories

The following theories have attempted to answer this question:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Descriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016)A set of propositions that attempts to describe something.2016
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Accepted Theories

The following theories have been accepted as answers to this question:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyDescriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016)15 February 2017

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2016-0002Scientonomy3 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-2017-0001Scientonomy23 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

Current View

In Scientonomy community, the accepted definition of the term is Descriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016). It is defined as: "A set of propositions that attempts to describe something."

Descriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016).png

According to Sebastien's definition of the term, descriptive theories aim at describing a certain object under study, where describe is understood in the broad sense and includes explain, predict, etc. Thus, the term encompasses theories that attempt to describe a certain phenomenon, process, or state of affairs in the past, present, or future. All of the following propositions would qualify as descriptive: Read More

Related Topics

This topic is also related to the following topic(s):