Singular Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017)

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This is a definition of Singular Authority Delegation that states "Community A is said to engage in a relationship of singular authority delegation over topic x iff community A delegates authority over topic x to exactly one community."

Singular Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017).png

This definition of Singular Authority Delegation was formulated by Mirka Loiselle in 2017.1

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this definition:
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy23 October 2018The definition became accepted as a result of the acceptance of the respective suggested modification.No6 February 2023The definition became rejected as a result of the acceptance of the respective modification.

Suggestions To Accept

Here are all the modifications where the acceptance of this definition has been suggested:

Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Verdict Verdict Rationale Date Assessed
Sciento-2017-0007 Scientonomy 19 May 2017 Accept the definitions of the following subtypes of authority delegation: singular authority delegation, multiple authority delegation, hierarchical authority delegation, and non-hierarchical authority delegation. Accepted 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 23 October 2018

Suggestions To Reject

These are all the modifications where the rejection of this definition has been suggested:

Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Verdict Verdict Rationale Date Assessed
Sciento-2019-0017 Scientonomy 26 December 2019 Accept the definitions of authority delegation, and its subtypes, that generalize the currently accepted definitions to apply to all epistemic agents, rather than only communities. Accepted The commentators found the modification uncontroversial.c1 c2 It was noted that the modification "merely attempts to capture what is already de facto accepted - namely, the idea that authority can be delegated by and to epistemic agents of all kinds (both communal and individual)" as indicated by the "fact that the canonical examples of authority delegation often involve individual experts (see, for example, Loiselle 2017)".c3 It was agreed that the modification "introduces a necessary rewording in the definitions of authority delegation and its species".c4 6 February 2023

Question Answered

Singular Authority Delegation (Loiselle-2017) is an attempt to answer the following question: What is singular authority delegation? How should it be defined?

See Singular Authority Delegation for more details.


Singular authority delegation is a sub-type of authority delegation. It describes a situation in which a community delegates authority over some topic to a single community.

Instances of singular authority delegation occur commonly in the art world. Typically, the art market recognizes only one individual or community as being the sole expert on matters of attribution for a given artist. For example, the art market always and only consults the Wildenstein Institute to answer questions over the authenticity of paintings by Monet.

Another example of singular authority delegation is the relationship between the art market and the two people considered experts on Picasso: Maya Widmaier-Picasso and Claude Ruiz-Picasso. For matters of authenticity concerning the works of Picasso, the art market always and only delegates authority to the combined Maya-Claude mosaic. The art market will only accept a Picasso painting as authentic if both Maya and Claude agree that it is so. Maya and Claude are two separate authorities, and do not always agree. However, because the art market only delegates authority to a single entity-- the mosaic composed of theories agreed upon by Maya and Claude-- this is an instance of singular authority delegation.


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