Employed Method

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What is employed method? How should it be defined?

Employed method is one of the key concepts in current scientonomy. Thus, its proper definition is of great importance.

In the scientonomic context, this term was first used by Hakob Barseghyan in 2015.

Scientonomic History

According to the original scientonomic definition of the term, suggested in 2015 and accepted in 2016, a method was said to be employed by a community if the community only accepted those theories whose acceptance was permitted by the method.1p. 53 Thus, originally method employment was defined in terms of the indicators of method employment. This definition conflated the fact of method employment with scientonomic means of detecting method employment.

In 2017, Paul Patton, Nicholas Overgaard, and Hakob Barseghyan argued that this is unacceptable, for in principle employed methods can be detected in many different ways, e.g. by analyzing the record of transitions from one accepted theory to the next in a particular community at a particular time or, alternatively, by using the third law and inferring the employed method from the theories accepted by the community at that time.

Consequently, a new definition of the term was suggested to distinguish the phenomenon of method employment from the ways and means of detecting it.2 By this definition, employed method is nothing but the actual expectations of a certain community at a certain time. This new definition is in tune with the usage of the term throughout Barseghyan's The Laws of Scientific Change. For instance, he claims that the community of Aristotelian-Medieval natural philosophers employed the method of intuition schooled by experience in the sense that they expected new theories to be intuitively true.1pp. 143-145 2p. 35 Similarly, the double-blind trial method is currently employed in drug testing, in the sense that "the community expects new drugs to be tested in double-blind trials".2p. 35 1pp. 134-142

The definition of the term suggested by Patton, Overgaard, and Barseghyan and accepted towards the end of 2017 clears this conflation.

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
Scientonomy1 January 2016This is when the first scientonomic definition of the term, Employed Method (Barseghyan-2015), became accepted, which is an indication that the topic itself is legitimate.No1 September 2019The usage of the term as referring to an epistemic stance was deprecated after the acceptance of the term norm employment.

All Theories

The following definitions of the term have been suggested:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Employed Method (Barseghyan-2015)A method is said to be employed at time t if, at time t, theories become accepted only when their acceptance is permitted by the method.2015
Employed Method (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)A method is said to be employed if its requirements constitute the actual expectations of the community.2017
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
ScientonomyEmployed Method (Barseghyan-2015)1 January 201628 November 2017
ScientonomyEmployed Method (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)29 November 20171 September 2019

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this term:
Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Verdict Verdict Rationale Date Assessed
Sciento-2017-0004 Scientonomy 5 February 2017 Accept 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. Accepted The 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.c3 29 November 2017

Current Definition

There is currently no accepted answer to this question.



There is currently no accepted view concerning the existence of employed methods.


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


No classes are currently accepted as subtypes of an employed method.


No classes are currently accepted as supertypes of an employed method.


No associations of an employed method are currently accepted.

If a question concerning the ontology of an employed method is missing, please add it here.


If a question concerning the dynamics of an employed method is missing, please add it here.

Related Topics

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


  1. a b c  Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.
  2. a b c  Patton, Paul; Overgaard, Nicholas and Barseghyan, Hakob. (2017) Reformulating the Second Law. Scientonomy 1, 29-39. Retrieved from https://www.scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/27158.