Epistemic Agent

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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.1pp. 64-65 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. Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019) states "An agent capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements."


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
Scientonomy26 December 2019The publication of Patton (2019) is and indication of the acceptance of the term.Yes

All Theories

The following theories have attempted to answer this question:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019)An agent capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements.2019
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Accepted Theories

The following theories have been accepted as answers to this question:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyEpistemic Agent (Patton-2019)11 October 2020

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2019-0014Scientonomy26 December 2019Accept the new definition of epistemic agent as an agent capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements.AcceptedThe 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".c611 October 2020

Current View

In Scientonomy community, the accepted definition of the term is Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019). It is defined as: "An agent capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements."

Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019).png

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: Read More

Related Topics

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


  1. ^  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.
  2. ^  Barseghyan, Hakob. (2018) Redrafting the Ontology of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 2, 13-38. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/31032.