A critique of Weisberg's view on the periodic table and some speculations on the nature of classifications

Foundations of Chemistry 14 (3):275-284 (2012)
Abstract
This article carefully analyzes a recent paper by Weisberg in which it is claimed that when Mendeleev discovered the periodic table he was not working as a modeler but instead as a theorist. I argue that Weisberg is mistaken in several respects and that the periodic table should be regarded as a classification, not as a theory. In the second part of the article an attempt is made to elevate the status of classifications by suggesting that they provide a form of ‘side-ways explanation’
Keywords Mendeleev  Periodic table  Theory  Classification  Explanation  Models  Shapere
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