William Rawleigh is a Canadian scientonomist, whose primary interests are in the status of questions as epistemic elements.
Here are all the modifications suggested by Rawleigh:
- Sciento-2018-0001: Accept the definition of question as a topic of inquiry. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by William Rawleigh on 12 May 2018.1 The modification was accepted on 26 September 2018. The consensus was reached as a result of in-person consultations with scientonomists mostly outside of the discussion page of this modification. It was agreed that as the only currently published definition of the term, Rawleigh's definition is to be accepted as the best available. An alternative definition of question as "a topic of scientific inquiry"c1 was presented as a potentially pursuit-worthy direction. However, it was eventually agreed that including "scientificity" into the definition of question conflates "the question of how a question should be defined" with "the question of what stances can be taken towards questions".c2 It does not distinguish "the propositional content of the element itself" and "its historical fate", for "scientificity or lack thereof doesn't change the propositional content of the question".c3
- Sciento-2018-0002: Accept the ontology of epistemic elements with theories, methods, and questions as distinct epistemic elements. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by William Rawleigh on 12 May 2018.1 The modification was accepted on 26 September 2018. Following several focused discussions - both in-person and on the discussion page of this modification - it was finally decided that the modification is to be accepted. Three important clarifications were made. First, it was noted that Rawleigh only shows that questions cannot be reduced either to methods or to theories, but it is still conceivable "that questions may be functions of both theories and methods simultaneously".c1 Second, it was decided that accepting the modification is still warranted, since currently we don't have any idea how questions could be reduced to a conjunction of theories and methods.c2 Third, scientonomists are actively encouraged to pursue the question of possibility of reducing questions to a conjunction of theories and methods.c3
- Sciento-2018-0003: Accept that the epistemic stance that can be taken by an epistemic agent towards a question is question acceptance (the opposite is unacceptance), where question acceptance is defined as "a question is said to be accepted if it is taken as a legitimate topic of inquiry". The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by William Rawleigh on 12 May 2018.1 The modification was accepted on 1 November 2018. It was noted that "the whole point of adding questions to the ontology of epistemic elements was that we can legitimately speak of a question being accepted by a certain agent at a certain time".c1 The discussion also revealed a need to distinguish "a situation where no consensus exists from a situation where a consensus exists that a question is illegitimate".c2 In other words, "just as question acceptance, theory acceptance too seems to allow for three values: (clearly) accepted; (clearly) unaccepted; no consensus".c3 Thus, a new question was suggested concerning the binary character of epistemic stances: "are all epistemic stances binary, or do they allow for more than two values?"c4
- Sciento-2018-0004: Accept the questions of the mechanism question acceptance and indicators of question acceptance as legitimate topics of scientonomic inquiry. The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by William Rawleigh on 12 May 2018.1 The modification was accepted on 1 November 2018. As the modification concerned exclusively questions, it was set to be accepted automatically once its "parent" modifications became accepted. Thus, the questions of the mechanism of question acceptance and indicators of question acceptance became automatically accepted once the presupposed modifications were accepted.
The following table contains all the theories formulated by Rawleigh:
|Questions as Epistemic Elements (Rawleigh-2018)||Descriptive||Questions (topics, problems) are epistemic elements.||2018|
|Question (Rawleigh-2018)||Definition||A topic of inquiry.||2018|
|Question Acceptance (Rawleigh-2018)||Definition||A question is said to be accepted if it is taken as a legitimate topic of inquiry.||2018|
|Epistemic Elements - Theories Methods and Questions (Rawleigh-2018)||Descriptive||The three classes of elements that can undergo scientific change are theories, methods, and questions.||2018|
|Epistemic Stances Towards Questions - Acceptance (Rawleigh-2018)||Descriptive||The epistemic stance that can be taken by an epistemic agent towards a question is question acceptance.||2018|
Here are all the questions formulated by Rawleigh:
- Deriving Methods from an Empty Set: Does the possibility of a method being derived from an empty set pose a problem for the current formulation of the third law? Can we conceive of a situation in which a method is derived from an empty subset?
- Epistemic Stances Towards Questions: What epistemic stances can be taken towards a question?
- Indicators of Question Acceptance: What are the historical indicators of theory acceptance? How can observational scientonomists establish that such-and-such a question was accepted as a legitimate topic of inquiry by a certain epistemic agent at a certain time?
- Mechanism of Question Acceptance: How do questions become accepted as legitimate topics of inquiry? What is the mechanism of question acceptance?
- Question: What is question? How should it be defined?
- Question Acceptance: What does it mean to say that a question is accepted? How should question acceptance be defined?
Here are the works of Rawleigh included in the bibliographic records of this encyclopedia:
- Rawleigh (2018): Rawleigh, William. (2018) The Status of Questions in the Ontology of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 2, 1-12. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/29651.
- Rawleigh (2022): Rawleigh, William. (2022) Reconceiving Scientific Mosaics: A New Formalization for Theoretical Scientonomy. In Barseghyan et al. (Eds.) (2022), 83-103.
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- Rawleigh, William. (2018) The Status of Questions in the Ontology of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 2, 1-12. Retrieved from https://scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/29651.