Continuants and processes in macroscopic chemistry

Axiomathes 14 (1-3):237-265 (2004)
Abstract
Chemistry deals with substances and their transformations. School chemistry provides a picture of this in terms of small balls called atoms and ball-and-stick structures called molecules which, despite its crudity, has been taken to justifiably reflect a reductionist conception of macroscopic concepts like the chemical substances and chemical reactions. But with the recent interest in chemistry within the philosophy of science, an extensive and determined criticism has developed of the idea that the macroscopic world has been, or is likely to be, reduced to microscopic theory. From this perspective, it is of interest to see macroscopic ontology treated autonomously. I try to take a first few steps towards spelling this out. It involves recognising entities falling into two broad categories: continuants-things which can have different properties at different times — and processes — things whose temporal parts may have different features, but which themselves stand in contrast to continuants in this respect. The character of each and their interrelations depends on their mereological structure of parts, the exploration of which is one of the prime purposes of the paper.
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