Foundations of Chemistry 10 (3):157-166 (2008)

Abstract
This paper suggests that the cases made for atoms and the aether in nineteenth-century physical science were analogous, with the implication that the case for the atom was less than compelling, since there is no aether. It is argued that atoms did not play a productive role in nineteenth-century chemistry any more than the aether did in physics. Atoms and molecules did eventually find an indispensable home in chemistry but by the time that they did so they were different kinds of entities to those figuring in the speculations of those natural philosophers who were atomists. Advances in nineteenth-century chemistry were a precondition for rather than the result of the productive introduction of atoms into chemistry.
Keywords Atoms  Aether  Chemical formulae  Scientific realism
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DOI 10.1007/s10698-008-9051-8
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References found in this work BETA

The Lack of Excellency of Boyle's Mechanical Philosophy.Alan Chalmers - 1993 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 24 (4):541-564.
The Heuristic Role of Maxwell's Mechanical Model of Electromagnetic Phenomena.Alan F. Chalmers - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 17 (4):415.

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Citations of this work BETA

Philosophy of Chemistry.Michael Weisberg, Paul Needham & Robin Hendry - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Defending the Indispensability Argument: Atoms, Infinity and the Continuum.Eduardo Castro - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):41-61.

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