David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 155 (3):293 - 305 (2007)
Despite the currently perceived urgent need among contemporary philosophers of chemistry for adjudicating between two rival metaphysical conceptual frameworks—is chemistry primarily a science of substances or processes?—this essay argues that neither provides us with what we need in our attempts to explain and comprehend chemical operations and phenomena. First, I show the concept of a chemical property can survive the abandoning of the metaphysical framework of substance. While this abandonment means that we will need to give up essential properties, contingent properties can give us all the stability we need to account for chemical continuity as well as change. I then go on to show that this attention to clusters of contingent properties does not force us into the arms of an alternative process metaphysical framework either. Finally, I sketch a view I call particularism with respect to chemical properties on analogy with moral particularism. I conclude by sketching some of the implications for the field of philosophy of chemistry of my proposal that we abandon our interest in the metaphysical question of what chemistry is primarily about in favor of a broadly scientific particularism with respect to kinds and properties.
|Keywords||Chemistry Property Philosophy of chemistry|
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References found in this work BETA
David Bakhurst (2000). Ethical Particularism in Context. In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism. Oxford University Press. 157--77.
Nalini Bhushan (2004). Introduction. Foundations of Chemistry 6 (1):3-9.
Bhushan & Rosenfeld (eds.) (2000). Of Minds and Molecules. Oxford University Press.
Barry Carpenter (2000). Models and Explanations: Understanding Chemical Reaction Mechanisms. In Bhushan & Rosenfeld (eds.), Of Minds and Molecules. Oxford University Press. 211--229.
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge University Press.
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