The main goal of the scientonomy seminar is to scrutinize different aspects of our current scientonomic knowledge and formulate interesting open questions. As opposed to the workshop format, the seminar's primary objective is unearthing the drawbacks of our current scientonomic knowledge, i.e. understanding what does not work. While the seminar also often generates interesting ideas on how this or that problem can be solved, the primary outcome of the seminar is the list of open questions for future research.
The seminar is held annually by the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto. The seminar usually starts in January and ends in April consisting of 10-12 discussion sessions.
The seminar was first designed and run by Hakob Barseghyan in 2013. Originally, the seminar had a wider agenda and tried to accomplish the following two tasks:
- scrutinizing each aspect of the current theory and understanding what is not working;
- generating ideas on how the theory can be improved by finding solutions to its topical issues.
It took three full iterations of the seminar before it became clear that it should be mainly focusing on the former task, i.e. on compiling a list of open questions for future research. As for finding answers to open questions, it was appreciated that the seminar is not the best format for it. Solutions to open problems require proper research papers; only when an idea is published can the community begin to appraise it and decide whether it is acceptable or not. This idea is in the foundation of the Journal of Scientonomy.
Although the previous iterations of the seminar produced a number of interesting open questions, the seminar of 2016 was the first to aim directly at producing open questions. It was the first year when a comprehensive list of open questions was generated.Here is the complete list of all scientonomy seminars:
|Scientonomy Seminar 2013||The first annual IHPST seminar on the theory of scientific change||11 January 2013||5 April 2013|
|Scientonomy Seminar 2014||The second annual IHPST seminar on the theory of scientific change||10 January 2014||4 April 2014|
|Scientonomy Seminar 2015||The third annual IHPST seminar on the theory of scientific change||9 January 2015||27 March 2015|
|Scientonomy Seminar 2016||The fourth annual IHPST seminar on the theory of scientific change||15 January 2016||8 April 2016|
|Scientonomy Seminar 2017||The fifth annual IHPST seminar on the theory of scientific change||6 January 2017||31 March 2017|
|Scientonomy Seminar 2018||The sixth annual IHPST seminar on the theory of scientific change||11 January 2018||29 March 2018|
|Scientonomy Seminar 2018 Fall||The seventh annual IHPST seminar on the theory of scientific change||6 September 2018||29 November 2018|
The seminar currently takes place at the beginning of every calendar year and focuses on the task of unearthing the drawbacks in our current scientonomic knowledge.
If a question raises a sufficient level of interest or disagreement, it is considered an open question. Clearly, this criterion is somewhat vague and not very strict; as a result, the list of open questions can sometimes include questions the answers to which may appear trivial. However, this is done on purpose; the assumption here is that an occasional inclusion of a trivial question outweighs the risk of missing an important question.
As the format of the seminar is exportable, scientonomists throughout the world are encouraged to organize similar seminars and formulate open questions. These questions will be entered into the encyclopedia and will become potential topics for future research.