Lattice-based dynamic and overlapping taxonomies: The case of epistemic communities
We present a method for describing taxonomy evolution. We focus on the structure of epistemic communities (ECs), or groups of agents sharing common knowledge concerns. Introducing a formal framework based on Galois lattices, we categorize ECs in an automated and hierarchically structured way and propose criteria for selecting the most relevant epistemic communities - for instance, ECs gathering a certain proportion of agents and thus prototypical of major fields. This process produces a manageable, insightful taxonomy of the community. Then, the longitudinal study of these static pictures makes possible an historical description. In particular, we capture stylized facts such as field progress, decline, specialization, interaction (merging or splitting), and paradigm emergence. The detection of such patterns in epistemic networks could fruitfully be applied to other contexts.
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