Hierarchical Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017)

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This is a definition of Hierarchical Authority Delegation that states "A sub-type of multiple authority delegation where different communities are delegated different degrees of authority over topic x."

Hierarchical Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017).png

This definition of Hierarchical Authority Delegation was formulated by Mirka Loiselle in 2017.1 It is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term.

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this definition:
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy23 October 2018The definition became accepted as a result of the acceptance of the respective suggested modification.Yes

Suggestions To Accept

Here are all the modifications where the acceptance of this definition has been suggested:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2017-0007Scientonomy19 May 2017Accept the definitions of the following subtypes of authority delegation: singular authority delegation, multiple authority delegation, hierarchical authority delegation, and non-hierarchical authority delegation.AcceptedWhile the notions of singular and multiple authority delegation didn't cause much controversy, the notions of hierarchical and non-hierarchical authority delegation gave rise to notable disagreement among scientonomists. As a result, the modification was in discussion for about a year and a half.c1 Eventually, a consensus emerged mostly as a result of offline (in-person) discussion meetings. It was agreed that "for decisions that are not rote and routine, it seems highly unlikely that a pre-established hierarchy of authority delegation does or could exist, nor could a pre-established belief that all authorities should be given equal weight".c2 However, it was also agreed that Loiselle's study "have identified at least one aspect of hierarchical authority delegation in epistemic communities",c3 for "there seem to be instances where some experts occupy privileged positions in the eyes of those delegating authority" and that "alone is sufficient to suggest that hierarchies of authority delegation exists, regardless of of how transient or fixed they might be".c423 October 2018

Suggestions To Reject

These are all the modifications where the rejection of this definition has been suggested:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2019-0017Scientonomy26 December 2019Accept the definitions of authority delegation, and its subtypes, that generalize the currently accepted definitions to apply to all epistemic agents, rather than only communities.Open

Question Answered

Hierarchical Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017) is an attempt to definition the following question: What is hierarchical authority delegation? How should it be defined?

See Hierarchical Authority Delegation for more details.


Hierarchical authority delegation is a sub-type of multiple authority delegation. It describes a situation in which a community delegates authority over some question to multiple communities, but at different degrees of authority. Consider a case of multiple authority delegation in which either expert A OR expert B might be consulted. If the word of expert A is always accepted over the word of expert B, we have a case of hierarchical authority delegation.

Here is an example from the art world. The Modigliani catalogue raisonée by Ambrogio Ceroni is widely regarded by the art market as being the most reliable source when it comes to matters of Modigliani attribution. That being said, it is also widely accepted that the catalogue is incomplete. In 1997, Modigliani scholar Marc Restellini began creating a new catalogue raisonée for the artist. Between 1997 and 2015 (when Restellini's project was abandoned), the art market held a relationship of hierarchical authority delegation with Ceroni and Restellini. If the painting was listed in the Ceroni catalogue, it was considered authentic, regardless of Restellini's opinion. If it was not in the Ceroni catalogue but was considered authentic by Restellini, then it was accepted as such by the art market. The fact that both Ceroni and Restellini were valued as independent authorities makes this an instance of multiple authority delegation; the fact that Ceroni's word was valued over Restellini makes it a case of hierarchical authority delegation.


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  1. ^  Loiselle, Mirka. (2017) Multiple Authority Delegation in Art Authentication. Scientonomy 1, 41-53. Retrieved from https://www.scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/28233.