Modification talk:Sciento-2021-0005

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Provide your comments regarding the suggested modification here. At minimum you need to indicate whether you think the modification is acceptable, why "yes" or why "no". The key question here is not whether the modification is flawless - no modification ever is. The key question is whether the modification, if accepted, will provide an overall improvement to our communal knowledge.

Please follow the instructions in the guidelines for readers.


Hakob Barseghyan

8 months ago
Score 0

Given the seemingly numerous historical cases of lost and rediscovered knowledge, it seems as though some accepted theories and questions sometimes stop being accepted without any deliberation on the agent's part. This is what the author calls element decay. Therefore, it is important to inquire whether such a decay of theories and questions actually takes place in the process of scientific change. I believe, the author does an excellent job showing that locating actual instances of element decay is not an easy task. Indeed, in many commonly mentioned historical cases, the continuity of an epistemic agent is difficult to establish (e.g. the formula for Greek fire was lost, but it was likely a result of the discontinuity of he respective epistemic agent, rather than of the same epistemic community actually forgetting the formula). I agree with Oh's characterization of the case of Cremonese violins as an instance of element decay, since the respective tacit knowledge was lost despite the continuous existence of the respective epistemic community. I also agree that the phenomenon of element decay is essentially non-scientonomic, since it usually stem from crucial disruptions in underlying sociocultural conditions.

Thus, my verdict for the modification is accept.

Tessa Ng

8 months ago
Score 0

The suggested modification engages a meaningful concept in scientonomy, which is that of element decay. According to the First Law of scientific change, also known as the Law of Scientific Inertia, elements in a mosaic ought to remain present in a mosaic unless they are superseded by alternative elements. It goes without saying that as science has progressed, various elements have fallen out of mosaics without replacement due to a host of factors. This phenomenon, which is a direct violation of the First Law, demands an explanation that the suggested modification appears to aim to provide, or at least acknowledge.

Accepting the existence of the phenomenon of element decay has two immediately evident advantages for the scientonomic community. Firstly, it will acknowledge the problem of events that violate the Law of Scientific Inertia. Being lucid of law violations is inherently valuable, in that investigating one violation may shed light on others, which could lead us to reevaluate the formulation of our laws. Secondly, accepting element decay as a legitimate non-scientonomic phenomenon would open the door to discussion on potential causes of a new class of mosaic dynamics. Bearing in mind the existing concepts of mosaics splits and merges, it seems there may exist another class of mosaic dynamics that precedes either a split or a merge, element decay being one of them. For instance, if two agents have similar mosaics but have complementary conflicting elements and those elements decay, a mosaic merge would be in order.

In sum, the suggested modification engages a noteworthy violation of the First Law that ought to be acknowledged and is worth further evaluation. My verdict is that the modification should be accepted, in that it has the potential to open many doors to new conversations on the mechanisms of mosaic splits and merges.

Carlin Henikoff

7 months ago
Score 0

I do NOT agree that the scientonomic community should accept that the phenomenon of element decay exists as a non-scientonomic phenomenon.

It seems counterintuitive to expect a given community to be responsible for making existential claims regarding phenomena which lie beyond their community’s scope. From this it follows that it is not the scientonomic community’s place to determine whether element decay exists, as it is beyond the scope of scientonomy. Especially given the limited set of identified instances of true element decay, as well as the inherent difficulties that arise in corroborating elemental decay using insufficient historical evidence, further investigation of elemental decay would be needed to prove its existence and confirm its place beyond the scope of scientonomy.

It must be noted that I do not take issue with Oh’s classification of element decay as a non-scientonomic theory; nor do I debate its potential usefulness in providing higher resolution conceptualizations of mosaic evolution, in instances with sufficient historical evidence.

However, I fear that often this concept will be nothing more than a tentative suggestion until (and if) further evidence is uncovered. Given the non-epistemic factors that might have brought about the decay in the first place, I find it unlikely that conclusive findings will be possible with respect to the nature of the theory’s decay (or lack thereof). This, combined with concerns about scope noted above lead me to believe that it is not our community’s place to provide the verdict for existential claims regarding element decay.

Verdict: reject.

Joshua Allen

7 months ago
Score 0

Element decay, as characterized by Oh, involves the departure of an element from an agent’s mosaic in the absence of a re-assessment or rejection by the agent. Oh presents five case studies, which intuitively seem, at first blush, to be contenders for historical episodes in which the phenomenon of element decay has transpired. Oh justifies the use of three necessary indicators of theory decay - agent continuity, change from theory acceptance to unacceptance, and theory unacceptance without assessment - and uses them to analyze each of the cases. The result is that the case of Cremonese violins is found to be the most promising candidate for a case in which element decay occurred. Through these examples and an appeal to intuition, I think Oh successfully makes the case for the existence of the phenomenon.

It does, however, seem to me that more observational work is to be done to round out these case studies further (as well as others, of course) and to show the utility and feasibility of the proposed indicators. Of course, because the indicators often rely on the absence of something rather than the presence of it, identifying instances of element decay is likely to be, practically speaking, a very difficult and lengthy task in observational scientonomy. This leads me to believe that there may be cause for further development of these indicators as the study of this phenomenon continues to be pursued. However, I believe that Oh provides well-reasoned arguments for the three necessary indicators presented, and that they would therefore serve as an acceptable foundation or starting point, at the very least, for the subject.

As for the phenomenon’s status in scientonomy, Oh notes that if element decay were to be classed as a scientonomic concept, the result would entail a profound ripple effect for scientonomy’s core laws and theorems. It does not seem appropriate for this to take place. Oh understandably proposes element decay be classed as a non-scientonomic phenomenon, which satisfyingly avoids this potential problem while maintaining the new framework regarding instances of element decay to better inform future observational scientonomy pursuits.

I believe that since, in the context of scientific change, such a profound phenomenon as element decay can be seen to have taken place throughout history, as Oh convincingly shows with the case of Cremonese violins, scientonomy should accept a theory about it. In my view, Oh’s well-researched and -reasoned paper provides us with just that theory.

My verdict for this modification is, therefore, to accept.

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