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Accept the definitions of the following subtypes of authority delegation: singular authority delegation, multiple authority delegation, hierarchical authority delegation, and non-hierarchical authority delegation.

The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Mirka Loiselle on 19 May 2017.1 The modification was accepted on 23 October 2018.


Various cases from the history of science indicate that there can be multiple types of authority delegation. For one, communities sometimes delegate authority over a certain topic to one expert (e.g. the art market delegating to the expertise of the Wildenstein Institute when looking to verify the authenticity of a Monet painting),1pp. 43-44 while at other times they delegate authority to more than one expert (e.g. Renoir authentication).1pp. 47-49 This means that we can distinguish between singular and multiple authority delegation. In addition, when a community delegates authority over a certain topic to more than one expert, this delegation can be such that the opinion of all experts are valued equally, or it can be such that the opinions of different experts are valued differently (e.g. Modigliani authentication).1pp. 45-47 Thus, multiple authority delegation can be either non-hierarchical or hierarchical. All of these subtypes of authority delegation require definitions.


Theories To Accept

Multiple Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017).png

Singular Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017).png

Non-Hierarchical Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017).png

Hierarchical Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017).png

Questions Answered

This modification attempts to answer the following question(s):


The modification was accepted on 23 October 2018. While the notions of singular and multiple authority delegation didn't cause much controversy, the notions of hierarchical and non-hierarchical authority delegation gave rise to notable disagreement among scientonomists. As a result, the modification was in discussion for about a year and a half.c1 Eventually, a consensus emerged mostly as a result of offline (in-person) discussion meetings. It was agreed that "for decisions that are not rote and routine, it seems highly unlikely that a pre-established hierarchy of authority delegation does or could exist, nor could a pre-established belief that all authorities should be given equal weight".c2 However, it was also agreed that Loiselle's study "have identified at least one aspect of hierarchical authority delegation in epistemic communities",c3 for "there seem to be instances where some experts occupy privileged positions in the eyes of those delegating authority" and that "alone is sufficient to suggest that hierarchies of authority delegation exists, regardless of of how transient or fixed they might be".c4

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  1. a b c d  Loiselle, Mirka. (2017) Multiple Authority Delegation in Art Authentication. Scientonomy 1, 41-53. Retrieved from