David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 74 (5):906-919 (2007)
Ellis argues that certain essential properties of objects in the world not only determine the nature of these objects but also how they will behave in any situation. In this paper I will critique Ellis's essentialism from the perspective of the philosophy of chemistry, arguing that our current knowledge of chemistry in fact does not lend itself to essentialist interpretations and that this seriously undercuts Ellis's project. In particular I will criticize two key distinctions Ellis draws between internal vs. external properties and essential vs. accidental properties, showing that at the chemical level such distinctions are insupportable. If essential properties only exist at the level of sub-atomic physics, then Ellis's hopes that essentialism will provide a theoretical basis for a philosophy of chemistry are at best hopes for a very distant future, since the argument that chemical structure and dynamics can be explained at the quantum level derived is purely from analogy to much simpler systems than those chemists actually study. This suggests that we have very little scientific evidence that scientific essentialism is a viable ontology. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556; e-mail: email@example.com.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
References found in this work BETA
D. M. Armstrong (1999). A Naturalist Program: Epistemology and Ontology. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 73 (2):77 - 89.
D. M. Armstrong (1983). What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge University Press.
David Malet Armstrong (1978). A Theory of Universals. Universals and Scientific Realism Volume Ii. Cambridge University Press.
H. Beebee (2004). Review: Scientific Essentialism. [REVIEW] Mind 113 (450):334-340.
John W. Carroll, Laws of Nature. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Robin Le Poidevin (2005). Missing Elements and Missing Premises: A Combinatorial Argument for the Ontological Reduction of Chemistry. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):117 - 134.
Robin Findlay Hendry (2006). Elements, Compounds, and Other Chemical Kinds. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):864-875.
W. Russ Payne, Some Good and Some Not so Good Arguments for Necessary Laws William Russell Payne Ph.D.
L. A. Paul (2006). In Defense of Essentialism. Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):333–372.
Paul Thom (2003). De Re Modality and the New Essentialism: A Dilemma. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 44 (4):189-199.
Nalini Bhushan (2007). What is a Chemical Property? Synthese 155 (3):293 - 305.
B. C. Malt (1994). Water is Not H 2 O. Cognitive Psychology 27:41--70.
Eric Scerri (2007). Reduction and Emergence in Chemistry—Two Recent Approaches. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):920-931.
Joseph Simonian (2005). The Paradoxes of Chemical Classification: Why `Water is H2o' is Not an Identity Statement. [REVIEW] Foundations of Chemistry 7 (1):49-56.
B. D. Ellis (2001). Scientific Essentialism. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads53 ( #25,161 of 1,088,426 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #13,559 of 1,088,426 )
How can I increase my downloads?