What is epistemic agent? How should it be defined?
The notion of epistemic agent plays a central role in scientonomy. In the scientonomic context it was first used in Barseghyan's Redrafting the Ontology of Scientific Change where the term was not defined.1 2 Since the term stands in an important relationship with the notions of epistemic element and epistemic stance, it is important to provide the term with a proper scientonomic definition.
In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Paul Patton in 2019. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term. It is defined as: "An agent capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements."
|Community||Accepted From||Acceptance Indicators||Still Accepted||Accepted Until||Rejection Indicators|
|Scientonomy||26 December 2019||The publication of Patton (2019) is and indication of the acceptance of the term.||Yes|
|Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019)||An agent capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements.||2019|
|Community||Theory||Accepted From||Accepted Until|
|Scientonomy||Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019)||11 October 2020|
|Modification||Community||Date Suggested||Summary||Verdict||Verdict Rationale||Date Assessed|
|Sciento-2019-0014||Scientonomy||26 December 2019||Accept the new definition of epistemic agent as an agent capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements.||Accepted||The modification was characterized as "a very welcome addition to the scientonomic ontology" for despite all the talks of epistemic agents "the very notion of epistemic agency has remained unclear" for years,c1 for its "strict explication has been lacking".c2 It was agreed that the definition is an important starting point for our discussions concerning individual and communal agents.c3 c4 It was also noted that the definition is important for addressing the "the question of agency of epistemic tools"c5 and the question of "the applicability of scientonomic laws to individual agents".c6||11 October 2020|
An epistemic agent acts in relation to epistemic elements such as theories, questions, and methods. The actions of an epistemic agent amount to taking epistemic stances towards these elements, such as accepting or pursuing a theory, accepting a question, or employing a method. The stances of an epistemic agent must be intentional. To be so, they must satisfy the following conditions:
- the agent must have a semantic understanding of the propositions that constitute the epistemic element in question and of its available alternatives; and
- the agent must be able to choose from among the available alternatives with reason, and for the purpose of acquiring knowledge.1
If a question concerning the ontology of an epistemic agent is missing, please add it here.
If a question concerning the dynamics of an epistemic agent is missing, please add it here.
This term is also related to the following topic(s):
- Patton, Paul. (2019) Epistemic Tools and Epistemic Agents in Scientonomy. Scientonomy 3, 63-89. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/33621.
- Barseghyan, Hakob. (2018) Redrafting the Ontology of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 2, 13-38. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/31032.