Mutual Authority Delegation

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What is mutual authority delegation? How should it be defined?

Mutual authority delegation is defined as the mutual acknowledgement between two separate communities A and B as experts of their own respective fields, and so accepts what each other has accepted within their own discipline.1 Identifying this relationship between two smaller scientific communities can allow the elucidation of overarching scientific communities and their mosaics. This interaction is by no means trivial, as it seems to explain the existence of and the coherence between sub-communities, and how different scientific communities have developed off each other’s work. An example of mutual authority delegation is the relationship between physicists and biologists. Physicists accept that biologists are the experts in the field of life sciences, and likewise, biologists accept that physicists are the experts in physical sciences.1 This ensures that there won’t be contradictory theories between their mosaics.

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Nicholas Overgaard and Mirka Loiselle in 2016. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Mutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term. Mutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016) states "Communities A and B are said to be in a relationship of mutual authority delegation iff community A delegates authority over topic x to community B, and community B delegates authority over topic y to community A."


Émile Durkheim, in his The Division of Labour in Society (1893), introduced the concepts of mechanical and organic solidarity in a society. On one hand, mechanical solidarity describes a society where all members function in an identical manner. On the contrary, organic solidarity describes a society where specialized sub-communities have been formed to maximize social harmony and work together towards a common goal2. Authority delegation is much like the latter, where specialized communities have a mutualistic relationship. Another example can be found in cognitive science. Specialized parts within a system working together to achieve a specific output in a cognitive theory called distributed cognition. Similar concepts can be found in many other disciplines.


Mutual authority delegation was officially accepted by the scientonomic community in September 2016, after reviewing the article published in Scientonomy by Nicholas Overgaard and Mirka Loiselle, titled Authority Delegation (2016).

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this question (it includes all the instances when the question was accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by a community):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy7 September 2016The publication of the article by Overgaard and Loiselle titled Authority Delegation is a good indication of acceptance of the question.1Yes

All Theories

The following theories have attempted to answer this question:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Mutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016)Communities A and B are said to be in a relationship of mutual authority delegation iff community A delegates authority over topic x to community B, and community B delegates authority over topic y to community A.2016
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Accepted Theories

The following theories have been accepted as answers to this question:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyMutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016)2 February 2018

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2016-0004Scientonomy7 September 2016Provided that the notion of authority delegation is accepted, accept the notions of mutual authority delegation and one-sided authority delegation as subtypes of authority delegation.AcceptedFollowing a period of discussion, it was finally agreed that "the current definitions of authority delegation, mutual authority delegation, and one-sided authority delegation, despite their problems, are currently the best available such definitions".c1 It was noted that these definitions don't take into the account the possibility of conditional authority delegation, where community A is prepared to accept the findings of another community on a certain topic only if these findings also satisfy some additional criteria imposed by community A. It was argued that there might be cases where a community's reliance on the findings of another community might be "conditional in ways that the current authority delegation definition is too restrictive to encompass".c2 The idea of conditional delegation was found pursuit-worhty.c3 It was also stressed that these definitions are only the first step towards a deeper understanding of the mechanism of authority delegation. Scientonomists were advised to pursue the idea of deducing "theorems concerning theory acceptance and method employment in delegating mosaics".c42 February 2018

Current View

In Scientonomy community, the accepted definition of the term is Mutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016). It is defined as: "Communities A and B are said to be in a relationship of mutual authority delegation iff community A delegates authority over topic x to community B, and community B delegates authority over topic y to community A." This term arose to describe the mutualistic relationship that exists between two communities, usually under an overarching community. It was first inspired as a one-way interaction by observing the interaction between the art market and the art expert communities; how the former relies on the latter to define their mosaic. A brief explanation of this example is as follows: when the art market community has to decide whether a piece of art is authentic, they turn towards the art experts for their evaluation and subsequently changes their beliefs on the piece of art accordingly. In this example, the art market’s method of authentication is directly dependent, or delegated to, the art experts. Although they may share different interests and intents, the art market community acknowledges that the art experts possess the most knowledge and skills pertaining to this domain, thus initiating in a relationship of authority delegation. Read More

Related Topics

This topic is a sub-topic of Authority Delegation.


  1. a b c  Overgaard, Nicholas and Loiselle, Mirka. (2016) Authority Delegation. Scientonomy 1, 11-18. Retrieved from
  2. ^  Carls, Paul. (2016) Émile Durkheim. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from


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