Rhetoric and nomenclature in lavoisier's chemical language

Topoi 4 (2):165-169 (1985)
Abstract
Implicit in the theoretical chemical writings of Antoine Laurent Lavoisier is a theory of language that is not in complete harmony with the philosopher of language whom he takes as his explicit authority, Condillac. Lavoisier's reform of the nomenclature of chemistry leads to his dividing scientific language into two sets with different properties: a denotative artificial nomenclature and connotative natural language. This division supposedly permits knowledge to be stored in the nomenclature while the natural language retains the rhetorical tools necessary for creative thought and argument. The consequences of this reform of scientific language are, however, the opposite of what Lavoisier had intended.
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