Mechanism of Error Rejection

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When epistemic agent discover that a theory was accepted erroneously, they often reject the theory; the theory rejection theorem suggests that those propositions are replaced by something. What are they replaced by?

Errors are ubiquitous in scientific practice: scientists often come to realize that the acceptance of a certain theory was erroneous. This applies to both general theories and singular propositions describing the results of experiments and observations. The theory rejection theorem suggests that when these erroneously accepted theories become rejected they are still replaced by some other theory or theories. The question is: what are these erroneously accepted theories replaced by? For example, astronomical databases trivially reject inaccurate data points from their databases. Are these data points replaced by anything? More generally, how are instances of scientific error handled in science?

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Maxim Mirkin and Sinan Karamehmetoglu in 2018. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Error Rejection by Replacement (Machado-Marques-Patton-2021) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available theory on the subject. Error Rejection by Replacement (Machado-Marques-Patton-2021) states "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."

History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this question (it includes all the instances when the question was accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by a community):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy8 March 2018It was asked in the seminar and upon uniform agreement we accepted it as an open question.Yes

All Theories

The following theories have attempted to answer this question:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Error Rejection by Replacement (Machado-Marques-Patton-2021)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
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Accepted Theories

The following theories have been accepted as answers to this question:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyError Rejection by Replacement (Machado-Marques-Patton-2021)8 October 2021

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2021-0004Scientonomy1 August 2021Accept that the handling of scientific error, as defined by Machado-Marques and Patton, is compatible with the theory rejection theorem.AcceptedThe 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".c78 October 2021

Current View

In Scientonomy community, the accepted theory on the subject is Error Rejection by Replacement (Machado-Marques-Patton-2021). It states: "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." The analysis of several several instances of scientific error by Machado-Marques and Patton suggest that the handling of these instances by scientists is in accord with the theory rejection theorem. Handling of error involves, according to this view, not only a rejection of some of the propositions that are considered to be accepted erroneously but also an acceptance of some new propositions. In some cases, an erroneously accepted first-order proposition is replaced by another first-order proposition incompatible with it. In other cases, an erroneously accepted first-order proposition is replaced by a second-order proposition stating the lack of sufficient reason for accepting the first-order proposition. According to this view, the handling of erroneously accepted theories involves their replacement with other theories; the handling of scientific error is therefore in full accord with the theory rejection theorem. Read More

Related Topics

This topic is a sub-topic of Mechanism of Theory Rejection.