Modification:Sciento-2018-0016

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Accept compatibility as a distinct epistemic stance that can be taken towards epistemic elements of all types. Also accept that compatibility is binary, reflexive, and symmetric. Transitivity of compatibility holds only within mosaics, not in general.

The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Patrick Fraser and Ameer Sarwar on 28 January 2018.1 The modification was accepted on 1 October 2021.

Preamble

Compatibility is a distinct epistemic stance that agents can take towards epistemic elements. It is distinct because it is possible to show that an agent can take this stance without necessarily taking others, such as acceptance. Although all elements of the mosaic are compatible in principle, there may be unaccepted theories that are either compatible or incompatible with elements in the mosaic. Compatibility is therefore distinct from acceptance, because epistemic agents can evaluate the compatibility of unaccepted theories with one another or with accepted theories.

Compatibility is also distinct from use, because epistemic agents are perfectly capable of using or failing to use theories regardless of their mutually compatibility. Quantum mechanics is both used and accepted by the contemporary scientific community, as is evolutionary theory. Although quantum theory and evolution are compatible members of the same mosaic, it is nonetheless the case that evolutionary theory, unlike quantum mechanics has few practical applications and remains largely unused.

Pursuit and compatibility are also distinct stances, since epistemic agents may pursue theories that are either compatible or incompatible with one another and with elements of the mosaic.

Modification

Accept compatibility as a distinct epistemic stance that can be taken towards epistemic elements of all types.

Also accept that compatibility is binary, reflexive, and symmetric. Transitivity of compatibility holds only within mosaics, not sui generis.

Theories To Accept

Questions Answered

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

  • Epistemic Stances: What are the epistemic stances that can be taken by epistemic agents towards epistemic elements of all types?

Verdict

The modification was accepted on 1 October 2021. The community agreed that the compatibility is "a distinct epistemic stance, separable, in principle, from that of theory acceptance",c1 as it is "a stance that may be taken in addition to/combination with other stances".c2 The reviewers agreed that "Fraser and Sarwar argue convincingly that elements outside the mosaic can be assessed for compatibility with other elements inside or outside the mosaic",c3 since it "can be used to compare elements that are all part of a mosaic, all not part of a mosaic, or some combination of the two".c4 It was also argued that "since we accept the existence of compatibility criteria... we should also accept that there is such a stance as compatibility".c5 Finally, it was also suggested that the idea of compatibility as a binary relation is to be further explored.c6

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References

  1. ^  Fraser, Patrick and Sarwar, Ameer. (2018) A Compatibility Law and the Classification of Theory Change. Scientonomy 2, 67-82. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/31278.