The Second Law (Patton-Overgaard-Barseghyan-2017)
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."
This version of The Second Law was formulated by Nicholas Overgaard, Hakob Barseghyan and Paul Patton 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.
The previous formulation of the second law, originally proposed by Barseghyan in The Laws of Scientific Change,2 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,2 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.
|Community||Accepted From||Acceptance Indicators||Still Accepted||Accepted Until||Rejection Indicators|
|Scientonomy||29 November 2017||The law became accepted as a result of the acceptance of the respective suggested modification.||Yes|
Suggestions To Accept
|Modification||Community||Date Suggested||Summary||Verdict||Verdict Rationale||Date Assessed|
|Sciento-2017-0004||Scientonomy||5 February 2017||Accept 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.||Accepted||The 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.c3||29 November 2017|
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.
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.
- 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.
- Barseghyan, Hakob. (2015) The Laws of Scientific Change. Springer.