David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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NTM International Journal of History and Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine 2 (1):65-75 (1994)
Reasoning by analogy in chemical history: fallacies and guidelines. In chemistry (and natural science in general) reasoning in terms of analogy may be of great practical values as well as of theoretical significance. At the same time, however, the use of analogy is risky and the results are uncertain. In alchemy and iatrochemistry analogies between the living and the non-living nature have been carried too far. At the end of the 19th century an analogy was drawn between chemical phenomena and the Darwinian theory of evolution. Another example of an overexaggerated analogy can be found in Lavoisierâs theory of acids, where oxygen was considered to be the general principle of acidity. Reasoning by analogy is mostly based on an inner conviction. It leads to provisional predictions in such cases where the required facts are not or incompletely at our disposal
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