Fraser and Sarwar (2018)
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|
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.
Here are all the theories formulated in Fraser and Sarwar (2018):
|Theory Acceptance (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)||Definition||An 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)||Definition||Criteria for determining whether two elements are compatible or incompatible.||2018|
|Compatibility (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)||Definition||The ability of two elements to coexist in the same mosaic.||2018|
|Epistemic Stances - Compatibility (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)||Descriptive||The only stance that can be taken towards epistemic elements of all kinds is compatibility.||2018|
|Compatibility Corollary (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)||Descriptive||At any moment of time, the elements of the scientific mosaic are compatible with each other.||2018|
|The Law of Compatibility (Fraser-Sarwar-2018)||Descriptive||If 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)||Descriptive||Every theory that becomes accepted satisfies the demarcation criteria employed at the time of acceptance.||2018|
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 was accepted on 1 October 2021. The community agreed that the compatibility is "a distinct epistemic stance, separable, in principle, from that of theory acceptance",c1 as it is "a stance that may be taken in addition to/combination with other stances".c2 The reviewers agreed that "Fraser and Sarwar argue convincingly that elements outside the mosaic can be assessed for compatibility with other elements inside or outside the mosaic",c3 since it "can be used to compare elements that are all part of a mosaic, all not part of a mosaic, or some combination of the two".c4 It was also argued that "since we accept the existence of compatibility criteria... we should also accept that there is such a stance as compatibility".c5 Finally, it was also suggested that the idea of compatibility as a binary relation is to be further explored.c6
- 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 was accepted on 11 October 2020. The discussions concerning this modification took place mostly online, but primarily outside of this encyclopedia. There is a communal agreement that the modification is to be accepted as it fixes "an obvious drawback of [Barseghyan's] original definition".c1 Since "compatibility is a stance that can be taken towards methods, theories, and questions alike"c2 it is agreed that we need a definition that is applicable to all epistemic elements, not merely theories. It was also noted that the new definition has the advantage of being "neutral to the the addition of new epistemic elements to the scientonomic ontology".c3
- 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 was accepted on 9 October 2021. It was agreed that the "modification provides a great addition to the current body of scientonomic knowledge"c1 as the law offers "a dynamic account of compatibility"c2 and "allows for a diachronic study of compatibility".c3 The law was praised for its non-tautological nature, since it "forbids a number of logically conceivable scenarios".c4 While finding the law acceptable, one of the commentators raised an important question for future scientonomic research: do we even need a separate law of compatibility? Specifically they asked: "Is assessment for compatibility with other elements of the mosaic really conceptually distinct from the process of assessment for theory acceptance, which is already covered by other scientonomic laws?"c5 On this view, "the issue of the conceptual separability of theory compatibility and theory acceptance, and thus the need for two parallel laws, remains an open question that warrants further investigation".c6
- 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.
- 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.