Is it conceivable that, following the rejection of a method, that any theories which satisfied its requirements also would become rejected, seeing as how the reasons for belief in them no longer hold (in the eyes of the community)?
When a method is replaced, what happens to the theories that became accepted due to it? What does a community do with these theories? Do they remain accepted? Are they assessed by another method? After the replacement of an old method with a new one, theories that became accepted under the rejected method may suffer a status displacement. Scientonomy currently recognizes three status categories for theories, having to do with pursuit, use, and acceptance. How do such theories relate to these categories? Do we need to formulate a new category to encompass them? For example, when a new method of drug acceptance is employed in the pharmaceutical community, we do not abstain from using old medicines before they are tested to comply with this new method. Such questions require further investigation.
In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan, Paul Patton and Charlotte Marcotte-Toale in 2018. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community.
In Scientonomy, the accepted answer to the question is:
- A theory becomes rejected only when other theories that are incompatible with the theory become accepted.
|Community||Accepted From||Acceptance Indicators||Still Accepted||Accepted Until||Rejection Indicators|
|Scientonomy||15 February 2018||This question was accepted during the spring 2018 Scientonomy Seminar.||Yes|
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Theory Rejection theorem (Barseghyan-2015) states: "A theory becomes rejected only when other theories that are incompatible with the theory become accepted."
According to the theory rejection theorem, a theory becomes rejected only when other theories that are incompatible with the theory become accepted.
Implicit in the theorem is the idea that each theory is assessed on an "individual basis by its compatibility with the propositions of the newly accepted theory".1 If it turns out that a previously accepted theory is compatible with the newly accepted theory, it remain in the agent's mosaic.
Barseghyan notes that, although we normally expect a theory to be replaced by another theory in the same "field" of inquiry, this is not necessarily the case. For example, he writes, "HSC knows several cases where an accepted theory became rejected simply because it wasn’t compatible with new accepted theories of some other fields".1
Barseghyan summarizes the theory rejection theorem as such:
In short, when the axioms of a theory are replaced by another theory, some of the theorems may nevertheless manage to stay in the mosaic, provided that they are compatible with the newly accepted theory. This is essentially what the theory rejection theorem tells us. Thus, if someday our currently accepted general relativity gets replaced by some new theory, the theories that followed from general relativity, such as the theory of black holes, may nevertheless manage to remain in the mosaic. 1
This question is a subquestion of Mechanism of Theory Rejection.
This topic is also related to the following topic(s):
- Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.