Elements, Compounds, and Other Chemical Kinds

Philosophy of Science 73 (5):864-875 (2006)
In this article I assess the problems and prospects of a microstructural approach to chemical substances. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam famously claimed that to be gold is to have atomic number 79 and to be water is to be H2O. I relate the first claim to the concept of element in the history of chemistry, arguing that the reference of element names is determined by atomic number. Compounds are more difficult: water is so complex and heterogeneous at the molecular level that `water is H2O' seems false under some interpretations. I sketch a response to this problem.
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DOI 10.1086/518745
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References found in this work BETA
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
Julia R. Bursten (forthcoming). Smaller Than a Breadbox: Scale and Natural Kinds. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw022.

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