Philosophy of chemistry

Chemical ideas about the diversity of matter in terms of elements and compound substances and their transformations have been pivotal to any scientific or pre-scientific approach ever since. From ancient natural philosophy and alchemy to modern 19th-century chemistry, these ideas were made both the basis of philosophical systems and the target of critical reflection. After temporary interruption, when modern philosophy of science materialized as a discourse on mathematical physics, philosophy of chemistry emerged anew in the 1980s and is now a flourishing field in which philosophers, chemists, and historians of chemistry are engaged. While many of the old philosophical issues have been rediscovered and discussed, new issues have appeared due to shifts of general philosophical foci, alliances with historians and sociologists of science, and the changes of chemistry and its role in society.
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