Machado-Marques and Patton (2021)
Machado-Marques, Sarah and Patton, Paul. (2021) Scientific Error and Error Handling. Scientonomy 4, 21-39. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/37121.
|Title||Scientific Error and Error Handling|
|Resource Type||journal article|
|Author(s)||Paul Patton, Sarah Machado-Marques|
Error is a common part of scientific practice, which must be accounted for by scientonomy. A scientific error occurs when an agent accepts a theory that should not have been accepted given that agent’s employed method. One might suspect that the handling of scientific error seems to violate the theory rejection theorem according to which a theory becomes rejected only when other theories that are incompatible with the theory become accepted, because it appears as though a theory is replaced in the mosaic with nothing. Here, we analyze several instances of scientific error and show that scientific error handling, when properly analyzed, is fully consistent with the theory rejection theorem. We show that instances of scientific error typically involve the rejection of one or more of the premises of the argument that leads to the erroneous conclusion as well as the conclusion itself. In most cases, first-order propositions of the original erroneously accepted theory are replaced by other first-order propositions incompatible with them. In some cases, however, first-order propositions are replaced by second-order propositions asserting the lack of sufficient reason for accepting these first-order propositions. In both cases, such a replacement is fully consistent with the theory rejection theorem.
Here are all the theories formulated in Machado-Marques and Patton (2021):
|Error (Machado-Marques-Patton-2021)||Definition||An epistemic agent is said to commit an error if the agent accepts a theory that should not have been accepted given that agent’s employed method.||2021|
|Error Rejection by Replacement (Machado-Marques-Patton-2021)||Descriptive||The handling of instances of scientific error is consistent with the theory rejection theorem; it involves a replacement of an erroneously accepted theory either with a first- or second-order proposition.||2021|
Here are all the modifications suggested in Machado-Marques and Patton (2021):
- Sciento-2021-0003: Accept the definition of error, stating that an epistemic agent is said to commit an error if the agent accepts a theory that should not have been accepted given that agent’s employed method. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Paul Patton and Sarah Machado-Marques on 1 August 2021.1 The modification was accepted on 8 October 2021. It was agreed that the definition "succeeds in capturing the gist of the notion by explicitly stating that an error is always relative to an epistemic agent and to that agent's employed method".c1 c2 The importance of the concept of error for the Tree of Knowledge project was also noted. Specifically, it was argued that "we must be able to differentiate between those theories which were accepted in accordance with an agent’s employed method and those which were not" so that we can better understand the reasoning underlying individual transitions.c3 Finally, it was suggested that a further distinction between “instances of honest error and misconduct” might be worth pursuing.c4
- Sciento-2021-0004: Accept that the handling of scientific error, as defined by Machado-Marques and Patton, is compatible with the theory rejection theorem. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Paul Patton and Sarah Machado-Marques on 1 August 2021.1 The modification was accepted on 8 October 2021. The commentators agreed that "the historical cases of scientific error identified and treated by Machado-Marques and Patton effectively demonstrate the compatibility of instances of scientific error with the theory rejection theorem".c1 c2 c3 It was agreed that the rejection of a theory that was accepted erroneously can be "a result of the acceptance of other theories incompatible with it - be these some first- or second-order theories".c4 c5 c6 One commentator expressed a common opinion when saying that "the authors are able to put to rest concerns about the handling of scientific error potentially contravening the theory rejection theorem".c7
- Machado-Marques, Sarah and Patton, Paul. (2021) Scientific Error and Error Handling. Scientonomy 4, 21-39. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/37121.