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Accept new definitions of subquestion, core question, core theory, discipline, delineating theory, subdiscipline, and discipline acceptance.

The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Paul Patton and Cyrus Al-Zayadi on 1 August 2021.1 The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.


Most epistemic communities classify knowledge into categories. Some epistemic communities organize subcommunities devoted to expanding particular categories of knowledge. Disciplines and disciplinary boundaries are a ubiquitous feature of modern science, and it is thus urgent that scientonomy articulate a means of dealing with them. The question of what disciplines are was first raised as an open question at the Scientonomy Seminar in 2016.

Defining disciplines or categories of knowledge within scientonomy is crucial to our understanding of how epistemic elements relate to one another in the mosaic, how they relate to epistemic agents, and to our general understanding of the processes of scientific change. Our understanding of how the classification of knowledge into categories has changed through time holds the promise of revealing important new features of how epistemic and non-epistemic factors interact with one another in the production of knowledge. This proposed modification offers, for the first time, a scientonomic definition of discipline, considered as a category of knowledge within the mosaic. We define notions of discipline acceptance and rejection, and consider the relationship between disciplines and communal epistemic agents.


Theories To Accept

Subquestion (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

  • Discipline Acceptance (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021): A discipline is said to be accepted by an epistemic agent if that agent accepts the core questions specified in the discipline’s delineating theory as well as the delineating theory itself.

Discipline Acceptance (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

Delineating Theory (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

  • Discipline (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021): A discipline is characterized by (1) a non-empty set of core questions Q and (2) the delineating theory stating that Q are the core questions of the discipline.

Discipline (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

Core Theory (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

Core Question (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

  • Subdiscipline (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021): A discipline A is a subdiscipline of another discipline B, iff the set of questions of A, QA, is a proper subset of the questions of B, QB, i.e. QAQB.

Subdiscipline (Patton-Al-Zayadi-2021).png

Questions To Accept

Questions Answered

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


The modification is currently being evaluated; a verdict is pending.

Click on the Discussion tab for comments.


  1. ^  Patton, Paul and Al-Zayadi, Cyrus. (2021) Disciplines in the Scientonomic Ontology. Scientonomy 4, 59-85. Retrieved from