Scientific Mosaic

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What is scientific mosaic? How should it be defined?

Scientific mosaic is one of the key concepts in current scientonomy. Thus, its proper definition is of great importance.

In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2015. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community. Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2015) is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available definition of the term. Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2015) states "A set of all accepted theories and employed methods."


Although almost all of the great philosophers of science of the 20th century have described the history of science in terms of a changing, systematic collection of beliefs, there has never been a real consensus in the language used to describe such a collection. Thomas Kuhn used the word paradigm to talk of integrated collections of theories, methods, and values that were replaced during episodes of revolutionary scientific change.12 Imre Lakatos described a set of propositions as fitting into a scientific research programme;3 Larry Laudan used the concept of research tradition.45 Richard DeWitt talks of worldviews to describe the beliefs held by a scientific community at any given time.6p. 7

Although these terms are used to describe collections of scientific beliefs at some particular point in history, it would be wrong to assume that they are interchangeable. There has been much debate within the philosophy of science over what constitutes the exact contents of a given community’s system of beliefs. While for Karl Popper and Imre Lakatos a belief system would only include descriptive propositions, for the later Larry Laudan, methods and values should be included along with theories as part of the fabric of a community’s belief system.5p. 26

There has also been debate concerning whether or not scientific methods change over time. The methods of science were once supposed to be fixed. The idea that methods should be included as historically relative elements within a community’s system of beliefs is known as the dynamic method thesis, and was proposed by Paul Feyerabend in the 1970’s.78 In the late 1980's, the question of the existence of static methods became a focal point of the debate between Larry Laudan and John Worrall. In his Science and Values, Laudan (referred to as the 'later Laudan' because his views changed substantially over his career) argued that no method of theory assessment is immune to change. Worrall disagreed, claiming that there are some methods which have persisted throughout all changes.591011 The idea that scientific methods change through time is now generally accepted among contemporary historians and philosophers of science.


The term scientific mosaic was coined by Hakob Barseghyan in 2012 within the context of the The Theory of Scientific Change (TSC). It was suggested at the outset that a scientific mosaic should be understood as a collection of changeable theories and methods. The mosaic metaphor was chosen because the tiles of a mosaic may be tightly adjusted, or their may be a considerable gap between them. In scientific mosaics there may be considerable gaps, such as that between general relativity and quantum mechanics, despite the fact that both are accepted parts of the mosaic.12p. 5

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
Scientonomy1 January 2016Yes

All Theories

The following theories have attempted to answer this question:
TheoryFormulationFormulated In
Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2015)A set of all accepted theories and employed methods.2015
Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2018)A set of all epistemic elements accepted and/or employed by an epistemic agent.2018
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Accepted Theories

The following theories have been accepted as answers to this question:
CommunityTheoryAccepted FromAccepted Until
ScientonomyScientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2015)1 January 2016

Suggested Modifications

Here is a list of modifications concerning this topic:
ModificationCommunityDate SuggestedSummaryVerdictVerdict RationaleDate Assessed
Sciento-2018-0009Scientonomy8 October 2018Accept the new definition of scientific mosaic as a set of all epistemic elements accepted and/or employed by the epistemic agent.Open

Current View

In Scientonomy community, the accepted definition of the term is Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2015). It is defined as: "A set of all accepted theories and employed methods."

Scientific Mosaic Theory Method Class Diagram.png

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Currently, scientific mosaic is defined as a collection of all accepted theories and employed methods.12p. 5 Theory is defined as any set of propositions, descriptive or normative,13 while method is defined as a set of requirements employed in theory assessment.12p. 3-10

At the moment, theories and methods are believed to be the only two fundamental entities that constitute a scientific mosaic. In the TSC, values are not regarded as separate entities within the scientific mosaic. This is because all values can be formulated as methods, there is no essential distinction between the two.12p. 6-7

While it is not included in the definition, it is understood that the bearer of a mosaic is a scientific community.12p. xi The reason for this omission is that there is currently no accepted definition of scientific community.

Related Topics

It has the following sub-topic(s):

This topic is also related to the following topic(s):


  1. ^  Bird, Alexander. (2011) Thomas Kuhn. In Zalta (Ed.) (2016). Retrieved from
  2. ^  Kuhn, Thomas. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
  3. ^  Lakatos, Imre. (1978) Philosophical Papers: Volume 1. The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes. Cambridge University Press.
  4. ^  Matheson, Carl and Dallmann, Justin. (2015) Historicist Theories of Scientific Rationality. In Zalta (Ed.) (2016). Retrieved from
  5. a b c  Laudan, Larry. (1984) Science and Values. University of California Press.
  6. ^  DeWitt, Richard. (2010) An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science. Wiley-Blackwell.
  7. ^  Preston, John. (2016) Paul Feyerabend. In Zalta (Ed.) (2016). Retrieved from
  8. ^  Feyerabend, Paul. (1975) Against Method. New Left Books.
  9. ^  Worrall, John. (1988) Review: The Value of a Fixed Methodology. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39, 263-275.
  10. ^  Laudan, Larry. (1989) If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40, 369-375.
  11. ^  Worrall, John. (1989) Fix It and Be Damned: A Reply to Laudan. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 40, 376-388.
  12. a b c d e  Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.
  13. ^  Sebastien, Zoe. (2016) The Status of Normative Propositions in the Theory of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 1, 1-9. Retrieved from


Jacob MacKinnon (2.0%), Paul Patton (10.7%), Hakob Barseghyan (87.3%)