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Accept the ontology of epistemic elements with theories, methods, and questions as distinct epistemic elements.

The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by William Rawleigh on 12 May 2018.1 The modification was accepted on 26 September 2018.


The currently accepted scientonomic ontology includes two classes of epistemic elements – theories and methods. However, the ontology underlying the Encyclopedia of Scientonomy includes questions/topics as a basic element of its semantic structure. Ideally there should be no discrepancy between the accepted ontology of theoretical scientonomy and that of the Encyclopedia. This modification suggests including questions in the ontology of scientific change as a distinct class of epistemic elements.


Theories To Accept

Ontology of Epistemic Elements (Rawleigh-2018).png

Theories To Reject

Questions Answered

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

  • Status of Questions: What is the status of questions (problems, topics) in the ontology of epistemic elements?
  • Epistemic Elements: What are the fundamental epistemic elements that undergo scientific change?


The modification was accepted on 26 September 2018. Following several focused discussions - both in-person and on the discussion page of this modification - it was finally decided that the modification is to be accepted. Three important clarifications were made. First, it was noted that Rawleigh only shows that questions cannot be reduced either to methods or to theories, but it is still conceivable "that questions may be functions of both theories and methods simultaneously".c1 Second, it was decided that accepting the modification is still warranted, since currently we don't have any idea how questions could be reduced to a conjunction of theories and methods.c2 Third, scientonomists are actively encouraged to pursue the question of possibility of reducing questions to a conjunction of theories and methods.c3

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  1. ^  Rawleigh, William. (2018) The Status of Questions in the Ontology of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 2, 1-12. Retrieved from