Accept new definitions for theory, normative theory, and descriptive theory. Also, modify the definition of methodology to reflect these changes.
The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Zoe Sebastien on 23 January 2017.1 This modification is incompatible with Sciento-2016-0002. The modification was accepted on 15 February 2017.
Currently, theory is defined as "a set of propositions that attempts to describe something". This definition implies that all theories are necessarily descriptive and excludes the possibility of normative theories (such as those of ethics or methodology). This makes it impossible to even formulate the question about the status of normative theories in the mosaic, let alone have a meaningful discussion on their status. Thus, we need a new taxonomy for theory, descriptive theory, and normative theory so that we can pose a meaningful question on the status of normative propositions in the mosaic.
Define theory as "a set of propositions" with normative and descriptive theories as subcategories of theory. Also accept a new definition of methodology to reflect the new taxonomy:
Theories To Accept
- Theory (Sebastien-2016): A set of propositions.
- Descriptive Theory (Sebastien-2016): A set of propositions that attempts to describe something.
- Normative Theory (Sebastien-2016): A set of propositions that attempts to prescribe something.
- Methodology (Sebastien-2016): A normative theory that prescribes the rules which ought to be employed in theory assessment.
Theories To Reject
- Theory (Barseghyan-2015): A set of propositions that attempt to describe something.
- Methodology (Barseghyan-2015): A set of explicitly formulated rules of theory assessment.
This modification attempts to answer the following question(s):
- Theory: What is theory? How should it be defined?
- Descriptive Theory: What is descriptive theory? How should it be defined?
- Normative Theory: What is normative theory? How should it be defined?
- Methodology: What is methodology? How should it be defined?
The modification was accepted on 15 February 2017. The community agreed that this is "an important addition to theoretical scientonomy".c1 It was agreed that since "the paradox of normative propositions has been solved, a revised set of definitions was needed".c2 It was emphasized that if we're going to have any sort of conversation on the status of normative propositions in the mosaic, "then we need to start from a definition".c3
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- Sebastien, Zoe. (2016) The Status of Normative Propositions in the Theory of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 1, 1-9. Retrieved from https://www.scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/26947.