The Second Law (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)

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An attempt to answer the question of Mechanism of Theory Acceptance which states "If a theory satisfies the acceptance criteria of the method employed at the time, it becomes accepted into the mosaic; if it does not, it remains unaccepted; if assessment is inconclusive, the theory can be accepted or not accepted."

The Second Law (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017).png

This version of The Second Law was formulated by Paul Patton, Nicholas Overgaard and Hakob Barseghyan in 2017.1 It is also known as law of theory acceptance. It is currently accepted by Scientonomy community as the best available theory on the subject.

History

The previous formulation of the second law, originally proposed by Barseghyan in The Laws of Scientific Change,2p. 129 didn't specify the causal relations between theory assessment outcomes and the actual acceptance or non-acceptance of a theory. All it accomplished is stating that a theory is assessed by the method employed at the time. This is a flaw, as any law of theory acceptance should specify what exactly happens to a theory in terms of its acceptance/unacceptance when an assessment outcome obtains.

As a result, it wasn't even clear whether the second law had any empirical content or whether it was a tautology. While Barseghyan held that it was a tautology,2p. 129, footnote 18 its actual status as a tautology has been questioned almost from the outset (see Tautological Status of the Second Law for details).

In short, a new formulation of the second law was required that would fix these flaws. Thus, a new formulation was proposed which explicitly stated causal relationships between different theory assessment outcomes and actual cases of theory acceptance/unacceptance. By forbidding a number of logically possible combinations (e.g. Satisfied → Not Accept), this formulation made it clear that the law is not a tautology.

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of The Second Law (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017):
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy29 November 2017The law 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-2017-0004Scientonomy5 February 2017Accept the reformulation of the second law which explicitly links theory assessment outcomes with theory acceptance/unacceptance. To that end, accept three new definitions for theory assessment outcomes (satisfied, not satisfied, and inconclusive) as well as the new ontology of theory assessment outcomes, and accept the new definition of employed method.AcceptedThe new formulation of the law became accepted as a result of a communal consensus. It was noted by the commentators that the "modification provides a much improved formulation of the 2nd law".c1 It was noted that the new formulation "decouples the method from acceptance outcomes" and "is needed to avoid a contradiction for cases where assessment by the method is inconclusive, but the theory is accepted".c2 It was agreed that the new law eliminates two of the major flaws of the previous formulation. First, it clearly states the relations between different assessment outcomes and the actual theory acceptance/unacceptance. Second, it clearly forbids certain conceivable courses of events and, thus, doesn't sounds like a tautology.c329 November 2017

Question Answered

The Second Law (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017) is an attempt to answer the following question: How do theories become accepted into a mosaic?

See Mechanism of Theory Acceptance for more details.

Description

The second law explained by Gregory Rupik

According to this formulation of the second law, if a theory satisfies the acceptance criteria of the method actually employed at the time, then it becomes accepted into the mosaic; if it does not, it remains unaccepted; if it is inconclusive whether the theory satisfies the method, the theory can be accepted or not accepted.

Unlike the previous formulation of the second law, this formulation makes the causal connection between theory assessment outcomes and cases of theory acceptance/unacceptance explicit. In particular, it specifies what happens to a theory in terms of its acceptance/unacceptance when a certain assessment outcome obtains.

In addition, this new formulation is clearly not a tautology because it forbids certain logically possible scenarios, such as a theory satisfying the method of the time yet remaining unaccepted.

References

  1. ^  Patton, Paul; Overgaard, Nicholas and Barseghyan, Hakob. (2017) Reformulating the Second Law. Scientonomy 1, 29-39. Retrieved from https://www.scientojournal.com/index.php/scientonomy/article/view/27158.
  2. a b  Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.

Contributors

Hakob Barseghyan (100.0%)