Abstract
Organic chemistry provides fertile ground for scholars interested in understanding the role of non-linguistic representations in scientific thinking. In this discipline, it is not plausible to regard diagrams as simply heuristic aids for expressing or applying what is essentially a linguistic theory. Instead, it is more plausible to think of linguistic representation as supplementing theories whose principal expression is diagrammatic. Among the many sorts of diagrams employed by organic chemists, structural formulas are the most important. In this paper, by examining two central episodes in the development of structural formulas—Kekulé’s proposal of a structure for benzene and Ingold’s explanation of dipole moments in terms of ‘mesomerism’—I investigate how the norms for the production and interpretation of structural formulas evolve in response to experimental results and theoretical developments. I conclude that one principal way in which structural formulas embody the theory of organic chemistry is through these evolving norms
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Reprint years 2010
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axp052
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References found in this work BETA

How Models Are Used to Represent Reality.Ronald N. Giere - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):742-752.
Using Models to Represent Reality.Ronald N. Giere - 1999 - In L. Magnani, N. J. Nersessian & P. Thagard (eds.), Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery. Kluwer/Plenum. pp. 41--57.
The Truth in Pictures.Laura Perini - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1):262-285.

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Citations of this work BETA

Structure, Function, and Protein Taxonomy.William Goodwin - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):533-545.
Theoretical Models as Representations.Anguel Stefanov - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (1):67-76.
Towards Teaching Chemistry as a Language.Pierre Laszlo - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (7):1669-1706.

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