David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (2):265-302 (2001)
The paper studies various functions of Berzelian formulas in European organic chemistry prior to the mid-nineteenth century from a semiotic, historical and epistemological perspective. I argue that chemists applied Berzelian formulas as productive 'paper tools' for creating a chemical order in the 'jungle' of organic chemistry. Beginning in the late 1820s, chemists applied chemical formulas to build models of the binary constitution of organic compounds in analogy to inorganic compounds. Based on these formula models, they constructed new classifications of organic substances. They further applied Berzelian formulas in a twofold way to experimentally investigate organic chemical reactions: as tools which supplemented laboratory tools and as tools for constructing interpretive models of organic reactions. The scrutiny of chemists' performances with chemical formulas on paper also reveals a dialectic which contributed considerably to the formation of the new experimental culture of synthetic carbon chemistry that emerged between the late 1820s and the early 1840s. In an unintended and unforeseen way, the tools reacted back on the goals of their users and contributed to conceptual development and a shift of scientific objects and practices ('substitution') which transcended the originally intended chemical order.
|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
Timothy L. Alborn (1989). Negotiating Notation: Chemical Symbols and British Society, 1831–1835. Annals of Science 46 (5):437-460.
John Hedley Brooke (1973). Chlorine Substitution and the Future of Organic Chemistry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 4 (1):47-94.
J. C. & J. Hughes (1998). 'Modernists with a Vengeance': Changing Cultures of Theory in Nuclear Science, 1920-1930. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 29 (3):339-367.
Peter Galison (1998). Feynman's War: Modelling Weapons, Modelling Nature. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 29 (3):391-434.
Ian Hacking (1992). 'Style' for Historians and Philosophers. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 23 (1):1-20.
Citations of this work BETA
Christoph Hoffmann & Barbara Wittmann (2013). Introduction: Knowledge in the Making: Drawing and Writing as Research Techniques. Science in Context 26 (2):203-213.
Similar books and articles
Joachim Schummer (1998). The Chemical Core of Chemistry I: A Conceptual Approach. Hyle 4 (2):129 - 162.
Paweł Zeidler & Danuta Sobczyńska (1995). The Idea of Realism in the New Experimentalism and the Problem of the Existence of Theoretical Entities in Chemistry. Foundations of Science 1 (4):517-535.
William Mark Goodwin (2009). Scientific Understanding and Synthetic Design. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):271-301.
William Goodwin (2009). Scientific Understanding and Synthetic Design. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):271-301.
William Goodwin (2010). How Do Structural Formulas Embody the Theory of Organic Chemistry? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):621-633.
W. M. Goodwin (2008). Structural Formulas and Explanation in Organic Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 10 (2):117-127.
B. L. (2002). Instruments and Rules: R. B. Woodward and the Tools of Twentieth-Century Organic Chemistry. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):1-32.
Ursula Klein (2005). Technoscience. Perspectives on Science 13 (2).
Ursula Klein (2001). Berzelian Formulas as Paper Tools in Early Nineteenth-Century Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 3 (1):7-32.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #173,508 of 1,102,628 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #121,188 of 1,102,628 )
How can I increase my downloads?