Fraser and Sarwar (2018)

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Fraser, Patrick and Sarwar, Ameer. (2018) A Compatibility Law and the Classification of Theory Change. Scientonomy 2, 67-82. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/31278.

Title A Compatibility Law and the Classification of Theory Change
Resource Type journal article
Author(s) Patrick Fraser, Ameer Sarwar
Year 2018
URL https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/31278
DOI 10.33137/js.v2i0.31278
Journal Scientonomy
Volume 2
Pages 67-82

Abstract

The current formulation of the zeroth law (the law of compatibility) is marred with a number of theoretical problems, which necessitate its reformulation. In this paper, we propose that compatibility is an independent stance that can be taken towards epistemic elements of all types. We then provide a new definition of compatibility criteria to reflect this change. We show that the content of the zeroth law is deducible from our definition of compatibility. Instead of a static law of compatibility, we propose a new dynamic law of compatibility that explains how the stance of compatibility obtains. Unlike the zeroth law, this new law has empirical content, as it forbids certain conceivable scenarios. Having established these notions, we propose a classification space that exhaustively covers all the possible states a theory may occupy and all the transitions it may undergo during its lifecycle.

Theories

Here are all the theories formulated in Fraser and Sarwar (2018):

TheoryTypeFormulationFormulated In
Theory Acceptance (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)DefinitionAn accepted theory is a scientific theory that is taken as the best available description or prescription of its object.2018
Compatibility Criteria (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)DefinitionCriteria for determining whether two elements are compatible or incompatible.2018
Compatibility (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)DefinitionThe ability of two elements to coexist in the same mosaic.2018
Compatibility Corollary (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)DescriptiveAt any moment of time, the elements of the scientific mosaic are compatible with each other.2018
The Law of Compatibility (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)DescriptiveIf a pair of elements satisfies the compatibility criteria employed at the time, it becomes compatible within the mosaic; if it does not, it is deemed incompatible; and if assessment is inconclusive, the pair can become compatible, incompatible, or its status may be unknown.2018
Demarcation-Acceptance Synchronism (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)DescriptiveEvery theory that becomes accepted satisfies the demarcation criteria employed at the time of acceptance.2018

Suggested Modifications

Here are all the modifications suggested in Fraser and Sarwar (2018):

  • Sciento-2018-0015: Accept the definition of compatibility, as the ability of two elements to coexist in the same mosaic. Also replace the zeroth law with the compatibility corollary. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Patrick Fraser and Ameer Sarwar on 28 January 2018.1 The modification was accepted on 3 June 2020. While the modification induced a few comments on the encyclopedia, it became accepted as a result of discussions that took place mostly offline. It was agreed that the modification "comes to remedy one of the glaring omissions" in the current zeroth which doesn't "say much above and beyond what is already implicit in the notion of compatibility"c1 as it "is lacking in empirical content, and should be replaced with a definition of compatibility".c2 It was also noted that the proposed "definition of compatibility criteria... captures the gist of the concept as it has been used in our community".c3 It was also agreed that "the compatibility corollary follows from this definition".c4 c5 Finally, the community accepted that the definition and the corollary "recover the content of the Zeroth Law".c6
  • Sciento-2018-0016: Accept compatibility as a distinct epistemic stance that can be taken towards epistemic elements of all types. Also accept that compatibility is binary, reflexive, and symmetric. Transitivity of compatibility holds only within mosaics, not in general. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Patrick Fraser and Ameer Sarwar on 28 January 2018.1 The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.
  • Sciento-2018-0017: Accept the new definition of compatibility criteria as criteria for determining whether two elements are compatible or incompatible. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Patrick Fraser and Ameer Sarwar on 28 January 2018.1 The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.
  • Sciento-2018-0018: Accept the new dynamic law of compatibility which specifies how exactly two elements become to be considered compatible or incompatible within a mosaic. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Patrick Fraser and Ameer Sarwar on 28 January 2018.1 The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.
  • Sciento-2018-0019: Accept the new definition of theory acceptance which makes explicit that accepted theories are a subset of scientific theories. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Patrick Fraser and Ameer Sarwar on 28 January 2018.1 The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.
  • Sciento-2018-0020: Accept the demarcation-acceptance synchronism theorem. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Patrick Fraser and Ameer Sarwar on 28 January 2018.1 The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending. The modification can only become accepted once modifications Sciento-2018-0014 and Sciento-2018-0019 all become accepted.


References

  1. a b c d e f  Fraser, Patrick and Sarwar, Ameer. (2018) A Compatibility Law and the Classification of Theory Change. Scientonomy 2, 67-82. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/31278.