Indicators of Theory Acceptance (Barseghyan-2015)

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An attempt to answer the question of Indicators of Theory Acceptance which states "Indicators of theory acceptance are textual sources that represent the position of a scientific community regarding a theory at some time. Useful indicators are contextual to time and culture. They might include such things as encyclopedias, textbooks, university curricula, and minutes of association meetings."

Indicators of Theory Acceptance was formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2015.1 It is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available theory on the subject.


Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of Indicators of Theory Acceptance (Barseghyan-2015):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy1 January 2016The theorem became de facto accepted by the community at that time together with the whole theory of scientific change. Barseghyan (2015)Yes

Question Answered

Indicators of Theory Acceptance (Barseghyan-2015) is an attempt to answer the following question: What are the historical indicators of theory acceptance? How can observational scientonomists establish that such-and-such a theory was indeed accepted by a certain epistemic agent at a certain time?

See Indicators of Theory Acceptance for more details.


Indicators of theory acceptance are historical facts that provide evidence indicating that a scientific theory was accepted by some community at a particular time. The opinions of individual scientists are not clear indicators of the acceptance of a theory by a community. Possible indicators are sources that typically indicate the opinion of an entire scientific community such as encyclopedias, textbooks, university curricula and the minutes of association meetings. 1pp. 113-117

Beginning in the eighteenth century, encyclopedias were a collective undertaking and thus typically good indicators of what was accepted at the time of their publication. However, until recently they were only published sporadically, and so generally can't provide a thorough description of successive states of the mosaic. Modern encyclopedias are a collective undertaking. Before the eighteenth century they were written by either a single author, or an isolated small group. In such cases they may contain theories championed by the author but not necessarily accepted by the community.

Textbooks are typically written with the objective of presenting the current state of knowledge in their field and thus often a good gauge of accepted thinking. But because they are often written by a single or small number of authors, they should be treated with caution.

University curricula similarly typically have the goal of exposing students to an accepted body of knowledge in a field. However, theories that are not considered the best available theory are sometimes nonetheless taught. Classical physics is taught to modern physics students not because it is deemed the best available description of its subject matter but because it is useful for many practical applications and is simpler and easier to understand than the more advanced treatments using quantum physics or general relativity theory. Items can also sometimes be included in a curriculum out of historical interest rather than current value.

Minutes of association meetings can also sometimes be indicative of the stance of a community towards a particular theory. However, minutes can often provide only a fragmentary indication of what was accepted and what was not.

No indicators of theory acceptance are universal or conclusive. Indicators are contextual to their time and cultural circumstances.


  1. a b  Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.