What is a chemical property?

Synthese 155 (3):293 - 305 (2007)
Despite the currently perceived urgent need among contemporary philosophers of chemistry for adjudicating between two rival metaphysical conceptual frameworks—is chemistry primarily a science of substances or processes?—this essay argues that neither provides us with what we need in our attempts to explain and comprehend chemical operations and phenomena. First, I show the concept of a chemical property can survive the abandoning of the metaphysical framework of substance. While this abandonment means that we will need to give up essential properties, contingent properties can give us all the stability we need to account for chemical continuity as well as change. I then go on to show that this attention to clusters of contingent properties does not force us into the arms of an alternative process metaphysical framework either. Finally, I sketch a view I call particularism with respect to chemical properties on analogy with moral particularism. I conclude by sketching some of the implications for the field of philosophy of chemistry of my proposal that we abandon our interest in the metaphysical question of what chemistry is primarily about in favor of a broadly scientific particularism with respect to kinds and properties.
Keywords Chemistry  Property  Philosophy of chemistry
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-006-9115-z
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,700
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Moral Particularism.Jonathan Dancy - 2009 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

75 ( #69,937 of 2,170,276 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #186,282 of 2,170,276 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums