Mutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016)

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A definition of Mutual Authority Delegation that 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."

This definition of Mutual Authority Delegation was formulated by Nicholas Overgaard and Mirka Loiselle in 2016.1 It is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term.


Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist that examined the idea of the division of labor in a society in his On the Division of Social Labor (1893), where he introduced the concepts of mechanical and organic solidarity in a society.2 Durkheim observed that in advanced societies, there exists a solidarity – a set of “laws” – between its members, referring to the representations of organization that underpins social life.3pp.24-59 These laws can be repressive (punitive) or restitutive (civil). The former is sanctioned based on what Durkheim called the “conscience collective”, which is the unison of individual beliefs common amongst members of the society. It represents what actions are in the society’s best interest, and are shared in an identical manner across all individuals as a set of repressive laws that individuals feel morally bound by. This is what Durkheim called mechanical solidarity, and is what he regards as a more primitive state of society. On the other hand, organic solidarity is more akin to mutual authority delegation in that, individuals belong to ‘specialised parties’ within society and that restitutive laws are in place to establish and enforce contractual, cooperative relationships between two distinct parties.3pp.24-59 This cooperative relationship is the result of the division of labor in a society, and it is precisely the individual differences people have that bind the society together as a functional unit. Furthermore, an organic society has a collective understanding of the world, which Durkheim referred to as représentations collectives – the equivalent of a mosaic in scientonomic terms.2 Durkheim argues that a society operates under a common language despite differences in individual sensory perceptions. It is the fusion of the individual perceptions of reality that come together to form a “new and irreducible” conglomeration of ideas. As such, society structures, and limits the extent of, the individual’s perception of reality.


The definition of Mutual Authority Delegation was first proposed by Nicholas Overgaard and Mirka Loiselle in 2016, and was accepted from Jan 21, 2017 by the scientonomic community. It remains as the current accepted definition.

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of Mutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy2 February 2018The definition became accepted as a result of the acceptance of the respective suggested modification.Yes

Suggestions To Accept

Here are all the modifications where the acceptance of this theory has been suggested:
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

Question Answered

Mutual Authority Delegation (Overgaard-Loiselle-2016) is an attempt to answer the following question: What is mutual authority delegation? How should it be defined?

See Mutual Authority Delegation for more details.


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. Mutual authority delegation is essentially the same relationship but bidirectional. Overgaard and Loiselle illustrates the mutualistic relationship that compatible scientific disciplines share as sub-communities. For example, physicists acknowledge that biologists are the experts of life sciences, and likewise biologists acknowledge that physicists are the experts of physical sciences. Consequently, they will accept the theories in each other’s domains into their own mosaics insofar as they were evaluated and accepted by the respective experts. This relationship is also present within a scientific discipline. Looking at the relationship between theoretical and applied physicists, we know that despite the differences in their methods and overall objectives, they don’t discredit the works and findings of one and other, but work inter-dependently as sub-communities of the physics community. This relationship between two communities can allow elucidation of a larger over-arching community, and the elements of this community’s mosaic. Furthermore, understanding this relationship allows us to examine the exchange of mosaic elements between two communities through a new lens, benefitting both observational and theoretical scientonomists in reconstructing mosaics and describing scientific change.


  1. ^  Overgaard, Nicholas and Loiselle, Mirka. (2016) Authority Delegation. Scientonomy 1, 11-18. Retrieved from
  2. a b  Carls, Paul. (2016) Émile Durkheim. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
  3. a b  Jones, Robert Alun. (1986) Emile Durkheim: An Introduction to Four Major Works. Sage Publications, Inc..


Hakob Barseghyan (15.5%), Brendan Wu (47.5%), Nicholas Overgaard (20.8%), Mirka Loiselle (16.2%)