Modification talk:Sciento-2018-0013

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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.


Paul Patton

11 months ago
Score 0

My verdict is to accept, but with strong reservations. Items of the scientonomic ontology, such as stances, are typically intended to identify features of science, or more generally of knowledge systems, that are universally applicable across communities and over history. Without a satisfactory definition, 'scientificity' as a stance does not seem to possess this universality. It is intuitively obvious what 'scientificity' means for modern scientific communities, and the problem of demarcation has been identified as an important one by modern philosophers of science. But how do we use our intuition to identify the equivalent stance under the less familiar circumstances of pre-modern communities? For example, did Aristotelian scholastics identify anything resembling our demarcation problem? How would we even recognize the equivalence without the aid of a definition?

Presumably, Copernicanism would have been 'unscientific' to scholastics, since it was incompatible with a number of theories accepted in the Aristotelian scholastic mosaic. It was also unlikely to satisfy the Aristotelian method of being intuitively obvious to an expert. But there is no definition that specifies whether either criterion is relevant. We have no way to identify the equivalent scholastic stance, or even say that there was one. How, for example, does 'scientificity' relate to another concept (possibly stance) that would have been relevant to scholastics, that of heresy? The concept of heresy clearly has to do with whether a theory is compatible with the theological propositions accepted in the mosaic. Would any heretical theory also have been considered, for that reason, unscientific? This might seem plausible, but with no definition, we have no way to say. If 'scientificity' is accepted as an epistemic stance, then we need to add another open question related to that of its definition- we need to add the question of whether or how it is applicable outside the context of modern science.

Hakob Barseghyan

14 days ago
Score 0

if I understand it correctly, Sarwar and Fraser's suggestion amounts to accepting the idea that scientificity is a universal stance that can be taken towards theories. This assumes that scientificity as a stance is found not only in the post-eighteenth century science, but also in the pre-eighteenth century science. It's this latter part that I'm not sure about. What complicates the situation is that it is not quite clear what the authors mean by scientificity. I realize that providing a definition to the concept is not an easy task; scientificity is notoriously elusive. But without such a definition we cannot even begin to address the question of whether scientificity is a universal stance.

As far as I can tell scientificity is a local stance peculiar to some contemporary epistemic communities. It is likely that other epistemic agents and other time periods might have had other such local stances (e.g. heresy or dogma might be considered as local medieval attitudes towards theories). Special research into the nature of local stances is clearly necessary. All I can say here is that without a clear notion as to what taking the stance of scientificity amount to it is difficult to say whether it is applicable to all epistemic agents or whether it is only a local stance peculiar to some contemporary communities.

Hakob Barseghyan

14 days ago
Score 0
A quick follow up on my previous comment. It is currently accepted that the criteria that make up a method are threefold - acceptance criteria, compatibility criteria, and demarcation criteria. If we end up not accepting Sarwar and Fraser's modification, it will mean that the idea of demarcation criteria as universal components of a method should also be rejected. This is another illustration of the phenomenon of ripple effect.

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