David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 73 (5):841-852 (2006)
The main scientific problems of chemical bonding were solved half a century ago, but adequate philosophical understanding of chemical combination is yet to be achieved. Chemists routinely use important terms ("element," "atom," "molecule," "substance") with more than one meaning. This can lead to misunderstandings. Eliminativists claim that what seems to be a baseball breaking a window is merely the action of "atoms, acting in concert." They argue that statues, baseballs, and similar macroscopic things "do not exist." When macroscopic objects like baseballs move, exceedingly large numbers (1025) of microscopic components coordinate their activities. Understanding how this happens requires attention to the interactions that link parts into larger units. Eliminativists say that everything that truly exists has causal relationships in addition to those of its components—"nonredundant causality." This paper holds that if a number of entities interact in such a way that the effect of that collection on test objects is different than it would have been in the absence of the interaction, then identification of that collection as a single composite agent is warranted, for purposes to which that difference is relevant. Ordinary "chemical substances" (both elementary materials such as dihydrogen and compounds such as water) fulfill this version of the requirement of nonredundant causality. Other sorts of chemical coherences, including chemical dissipative structures (e.g., flames), also fulfill that criterion. All these types of coherences qualify as "substances" (as that term is used in philosophy) even though they are not all "chemical substances.".
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
D. M. Armstrong (1997). A World of States of Affairs. Cambridge University Press.
D. M. Armstrong (2004). Truth and Truthmakers. Cambridge University Press.
Justus Buchler (1966). Metaphysics of Natural Complexes. New York, Columbia University Press.
Joseph E. Earley (2005). Why There is No Salt in the Sea. Foundations of Chemistry 7 (1):85-102.
Hud Hudson (2003). Alexander's Dicta and Merricks' Dictum. Topoi 22 (2):173-182.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Robin Findlay Hendry (2006). Elements, Compounds, and Other Chemical Kinds. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):864-875.
Ursula Klein (2005). Technoscience. Perspectives on Science 13 (2).
Joachim Schummer (2001). Ethics of Chemical Synthesis. Hyle 7 (2):103 - 124.
Ursula Klein (2012). Objects of Inquiry in Classical Chemistry: Material Substances. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 14 (1):7-23.
Paul Needham (2004). Continuants and Processes in Macroscopic Chemistry. Axiomathes 14 (1-3):237-265.
Ursula Klein (1995). Die Anfänge der neuzeitlichen Chemie in der Pharmazie und Metallurgie. Zu E.F. Geoffroys tabelle stofflicher Beziehungen. [REVIEW] NTM International Journal of History and Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine 3 (1):167-191.
Sr Earley (2006). Chemical “Substances” That Are Not “Chemical Substances”. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):841-852.
Joachim Schummer (2004). Editorial: Substances Versus Reactions. Hyle 10 (1):3 - 4.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads14 ( #114,562 of 1,101,769 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #292,275 of 1,101,769 )
How can I increase my downloads?