David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 73 (5):829-840 (2006)
The Aristotelian distinction between actual and potential presence of a substance in a mixture forms part of a conception of mixture which stands in contrast to atomist and Stoic theories as propounded by the ancients. But the central ideas on which these theories are built need not be combined and opposed to one another in precisely the ways envisaged by these ancient theories. This is well illustrated by Duhem, who maintained the Aristotelian idea that the original ingredients are only potentially, and not actually, present in a mixture, but who sided with the Stoics and against Aristotle on the possibility of co-occupancy. I have argued that the Stoic theory cannot dispense with some such notion as the Aristotelian conception of potentiality in allowing the elements to be actually present in a mixture. Here I suggest that some such Aristotelian notion must be at work in a more modern atomic conception of matter if this is to allow elemental substances to be actually present in compounds, which I think is how compounds are usually understood. Analogous issues arise regarding the status of solutions and their components.
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References found in this work BETA
Aristotle (1984). The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Princeton University Press.
Paul Needham (2002). The Discovery That Water is H2O. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (3):205 – 226.
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Citations of this work BETA
Paul Needham (2011). Microessentialism: What is the Argument? Noûs 45 (1):1-21.
Paul Needham (2008). Is Water a Mixure Bridging the Distinction Between Physical and Chemical Properties. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (1):66-77.
Michael Weisberg & Paul Needham (2010). Matter, Structure, and Change: Aspects of the Philosophy of Chemistry. Philosophy Compass 5 (10):927-937.
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