Individual Epistemic Agent Is a Subtype of Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019)

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This is a theory that states "Individual Epistemic Agent is a subtype of Epistemic Agent, i.e. epistemic agent is a supertype of individual epistemic agent."

Individual Epistemic Agent Is a Subtype of Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019) was formulated by Paul Patton in 2019.1 It is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available answer to the question.

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of Individual Epistemic Agent Is a Subtype of Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy10 January 2022The theory became accepted as the result of the acceptance of the respective modificationYes

Suggestions To Accept

Here are all the modifications where the acceptance of this theory has been suggested:

Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Date Assessed Verdict Verdict Rationale
Sciento-2019-0015 Scientonomy 26 December 2019 Accept that there are two types of epistemic agents – individual and communal. Also accept the question of applicability of the laws of scientific change to individuals as a legitimate topic of scientonomic inquiry. 10 January 2022 Accepted It was agreed during seminar discussions that the "modification aims to codify our de facto communal stance towards the ontology of epistemic agents".c1 This is confirmed by the fact that several recent articles take this ontology of epistemic agents for granted (e.g., Barseghyan and Levesley (2021), Machado-Marques and Patton (2021)).23 Even as early as 2017, several of Loiselle's examples of authority delegation concern individual experts (see Loiselle (2017)).4

Questions Answered

Individual Epistemic Agent Is a Subtype of Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019) is an attempt to answer the following questions: Subtypes of Epistemic Agent and Supertypes of Individual Epistemic Agent.


According to Patton, individuals are "capable of taking epistemic stances towards epistemic elements, with reason, based on a semantic understanding of the elements and their available alternatives, and with the goal of producing knowledge".1p. 82



The notion of epistemic agency implies that an agent takes epistemic stances intentionally. That is:

  • the agent has a semantic understanding of the propositions that constitute the epistemic element in question, and of its alternatives, and
  • the agent is capable of choosing among them with reason, and with the goal of acquiring knowledge.

It is clear that a typical individual human being can satisfy these requirements. The main exceptions are prelinguistic infants, or people with certain neurological conditions that render them incapable of understanding propositions. Besides these absolute constraints, the applicability of the definition may also vary as a matter of degree, since individuals may differ one from another in the depth of their semantic understanding of the epistemic element in question and other contextually relevant epistemic elements. Such differences might be produced, for example, by scientific or professional training. An individual's merits as an epistemic agent will be assessed by others based on whether their claims can satisfy the requirements of the method employed by those others. The issues raised by norms of epistemic merit are best understood in terms of the concept of authority delegation.

This reason for Individual Epistemic Agent Is a Subtype of Epistemic Agent (Patton-2019) was formulated by Paul Patton in 2019.

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  1. a b  Patton, Paul. (2019) Epistemic Tools and Epistemic Agents in Scientonomy. Scientonomy 3, 63-89. Retrieved from
  2. ^  Barseghyan, Hakob and Levesley, Nichole. (2021) Question Dynamics. Scientonomy 4, 1-19. Retrieved from
  3. ^  Machado-Marques, Sarah and Patton, Paul. (2021) Scientific Error and Error Handling. Scientonomy 4, 21-39. Retrieved from
  4. ^  Loiselle, Mirka. (2017) Multiple Authority Delegation in Art Authentication. Scientonomy 1, 41-53. Retrieved from