Modification talk:Sciento-2017-0013

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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

33 months ago
Score 1

There doesn't seem to be any reason for denying this. It seems almost trivial that a community can in principle consist of smaller communities. At the moment, the existence of these sub-communities doesn't strike me as problematic. I don't think we can deny that larger communities are composed of smaller sub-communities (usually the latter are being delegated some authority over a certain topic).

Verdict: accept.

Jacob MacKinnon

32 months ago
Score 1

That communities consist of sub-communities is an apt conclusion. I see no reason to reject the existence of sub-communities. The examples provided by Nicholas sufficiently demonstrate how one community can be a conglomeration of sub-communities.

Verdict: accept.

Maxim Mirkin

32 months ago
Score 0

Assuming the previous modification is accepted, there seem to be no restrictions in place stopping a community from being made up of multiple communities.

Verdict: Accept.

Paul Patton

32 months ago
Score 1

The concept that a community can consist of other communities seems reasonable. But I do not think that the current definition adequately captures the relationship that must exist between a community and its subcommunities, to make the subcommunity concept worthwhile.


The problem with the current definition may be illustrated by considering the relationship that exists between the community of Toronto and the community of scientonomists. Toronto is clearly a community, with a collective intentionality to maintain the life and livelihood of its members. We participate in this collective intentionality, for example, whenever we follow city traffic laws. It is currently the case that all scientonomists are also members of the much larger community of Toronto. But it nevertheless wouldn’t make sense to talk of the scientonomy community as a subcommunity of Toronto, since the two have largely unrelated collective intentionalities. The collective intentionality of the scientonomy community is to create new knowledge of the process of scientific change. This goal is only very indirectly related to the collective intentionality of Toronto, in that it allows some of us to get paid, and thus contribute to the Toronto economy.


Overguaard’s original example dealt with a very different sort of relationship: the relationship that exists between the scientonomy community, the IHPST, and the University of Toronto. This is also an instance of one community being contained within another, but in this case the relationship is different, because of nature of the relationship between each group’s collective intentionality and that of the larger whole. The collective intentionality of the university is to create and transmit knowledge. The IHPST performs a specialized portion of that encompassing goal by creating and transmitting knowledge about the history and philosophy of science. The scientonomic community in turn, performs a specialized portion of the IHPST’s goal. Namely, it creates and transmits knowledge about the process of scientific change. A careful consideration of Overguaard's example and its relationship to the Toronto example suggests that if we wish to posit a meaningful subcommunity relationship, we must be much more precise than simply claiming that communities can consist of other communities. I suggest that to be considered a subcommunity of community A, a special alignment must exist between the collective intentionality of the subcommunity and that of A.


I propose the following definition of the subcommunity relationship:

Community B is a subcommunity of community A when:

1) The individual members of community B form a proper subset of community A 2)The collective intentionality of community B consists in playing a distinctive specialized role within a division of labor that fulfills the larger goal that is community A’s collective intentionality.


The originally proposed claim is simply ‘that communities can consist of other communities, i.e. that there is such a thing as a subcommunity’. This claim is not incompatible with the definition I have proposed. However, I believe that it is much too imprecise to be of much use as is. A more precise definition of the sort given above is needed.


Verdict: Accept with recommendation of changes

Hakob Barseghyan

14 days ago
Score 0
While I agree with Paul that there is more to be said about the conditions under which the relationship between sub- and super-community can obtain, this doesn't really concern the gist of Overgaard's modification. The only thing Overgaard is claiming here is that communities can consist of subcommunities, which I think Paul doesn't really deny.

Paul Patton

14 days ago
Score 0

I don't deny that communities can consist of subcommunities, but I claim that without an explanation of what it means for Community B to be a subcommunity of community A this claim is devoid of all content. Suppose, for example, I claim that the community of American high energy physicists is a subcommunity of the National Football League (NFL), since virtually all American high energy physicists have, at some point in their lives, either attended an NFL game or watched one on television. Without a definition that says what it means for one community to be a subcommunity of another, thus ruling out such dubious cases, the claim that communities consist of subcommunities is completely meaningless. Here's an improved version of my proposed definition:

Community B is a subcommunity of community A when: 1) the agents constituting community B are a proper subset of those constituting community A.

2) The collective intentionality of community B fulfills some portion of the collective intentionality of community A as part of an understood division of labor.

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