Modification talk:Sciento-2017-0014

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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.


Jacob MacKinnon

32 months ago
Score 0

If we accept this definition of epistemic community, then we must also be able to answer the questions of what it means have the collective intentionality to "know the world"? Does the simple act of claiming that your community is attempting to know the world suffice? For example, consider members of an orthodox church of any religion. Whenever these members attend a service for worship, they are operating under the belief that the recitation of passages and execution of religious traditions enables them to "know the world" in some sense. Yet, seldom do orthodox communities modify their worldviews.

This seems to be vastly different than communities who share the intentionality of knowing the world via the construction of theories or production knowledge. While there exist traditional practices in labs, the members of the community of biochemists, for example, are not congregating in the lab for the sake of executing those traditions, but for the sake of producing something else, like a drug, or to test a new theory.

However, accepting this modification will enable scientonomists to further develop a taxonomy which addresses the above concerns. For this reason, I believe that we should accept this modification, which would thereby enable the community of scientonomists to further develop a taxonomy for communities.

Verdict: accept

Maxim Mirkin

32 months ago
Score 0

I don't see any issue with epistemic communities enveloping religions as well as scientific communities. Given communities can exist within communities this doesn't create any problems (if the [Sciento-2017-0013] modification is accepted). If any further clarification is needed to establish a distinction between religious and scientific communities, there are no restrictions in place preventing this.

Verdict: Accept.

Terese Pierre

32 months ago
Score 0
"Knowing the world" was one of the offhand ideas that initially confused me when I read the paper, and I agree that it should be made clearer if the concept of epistemic community is to be accepted, which I think it should be. Regarding the inclusion of religious communities: there are communities that do not alter their mosaic, and while knowing the world might intuitively entail mosaic dynamism, it does not actually. Therefore, some kind of rough definition should be created. Is "knowing the world" exploration? Observation? Or application?

Paul Patton

12 months ago
Score 0

There are some problems with the proposed definitions, and which I believe must be addressed before they can be accepted. To address some of the problems raised above regarding the vagueness of a 'collective intentionality to know the world', I suggest changing the definition to read 'a collective intentionality to preserve and create knowledge'.

Jacob raised the issue of whether a dogmatic religious community, whose goal is simply to preserve a mosaic of beliefs regarded as impervious to change. Excluding such a community from the definition would be problematic, because even dogmatically held beliefs require interpretation. At the religious service imagined by Jacob, the priest or minister might give a sermon interpreting a religious dogma in terms of the lives of their parishioners, or current events. This would constitute new knowledge about how to apply the dogma. My proposed modification of the definition of 'epistemic community' makes it clear that dogmatic communities are included. The definition might also include some groups that it's not clear whether we would want to include. A community of grade school teachers surely has a collective intentionality to preserve knowledge, and might create new knowledge about pedagogical techniques. Under this definition, they would qualify as an epistemic community. I see no obvious way to exclude such marginal cases.

The proposed definitions have another problem. They envision two distinct kinds of communities; epistemic communities and non-epistemic communities. I do not think this distinction is at all clear cut. It's easy to see that a community of neuroscientists, for example, has a collective intentionality to preserve and create knowledge about nervous systems as their defining shared goal. But now consider a private company such as Google. As with all for-profit corporations, Google's defining shared intentionality is to generate maximal profits for its shareholders. Nevertheless, as a subsidiary goal needed to realize this shared intentionality to maximize profit, Google generates new technological knowledge about search engines and artificial intelligence, among other things. Since Google's primary goal is not the creation or preservation of knowledge, it doesn't seem appropriate to deem Google an epistemic community, on the other hand, since its collective intentionality does result in the creation of new knowledge it doesn't seem appropriate to deem it a non-epistemic community under the current definition either. Almost any community one might think of creates or preserves some knowledge of some sort.

To address this second problem I propose the following set of definitions:

epistemic community: A community whose primary collective intentionality is to preserve and create knowledge.

non-epistemic community: A community whose primary collective intentionality is something other than the preservation or creation of knowledge.

Under these newly proposed definitions, a non-epistemic community might still have the preservation or creation of knowledge as one of its subsidiary goals, just not as its primary shared intentionality.

Hakob Barseghyan

14 days ago
Score 0

So here is where we seem to stand on this modification. There seem to be a consensus that some distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic communities is necessary. This much seems to be clear. However, Overgaard's definitions of the concepts have raised several objections. Under the current workflow, the way to handle such a situation is to divide this modification into two modifications - one ontological and one definitional (similar to Sebastien's modification 2016-0001 that was divided into modification 2017-0001 and modification 2017-0002.

Paul's comment also highlights a problem with the current workflow, which does not allow commentators of suggested modifications to suggest reformulations of the original formulation. If such reformulations were allowed, perhaps we could dispense with dividing the modification into two new modification and could arrive at a pair of acceptable definitions through a series of comments on this page. that would save us from the tedious bureaucracy of creating two new modifications. In fact, allowing the commentators to reformulate the original suggestions is the gist of one of the modifications that Jamie Shaw and I have recently suggested. If that modification becomes accepted, then we could proceed here without dividing the modification. If there are no objections, we can wait to see what happens to modification 2019-0003 before we decide whether to divide this one or whether to try and arrive at a closure here.

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