What might philosophy of science look like if chemists built it?

Synthese 155 (3):321 - 336 (2007)
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Had more philosophers of science come from chemistry, their thinking would have been different. I begin by looking at a typical chemical paper, in which making something is the leitmotif, and conjecture/refutation is pretty much irrelevant. What in fact might have been, might be, different? The realism of chemists is reinforced by their remarkable ability to transform matter; they buy into reductionism where it serves them, but make no real use of it. Incommensurability is taken without a blink, and actually serves. The preeminence of synthesis in chemistry could have led philosophers of science to take more seriously questions of aesthetics within science, and to find a place in aesthetics for utility. The necessary motion twixt macroscopic and microscopic views of matter in modern chemistry leads to the coexistence of symbolic and iconic representations. And in another way to the deliberate, creative violation of categories.



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Citations of this work

Logic in Reality.Joseph Brenner - 2008 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
Emergence and Quantum Chemistry.Jean-Pierre Llored - 2012 - Foundations of Chemistry 14 (3):245-274.
Chemistry, Context and the Objects of Thought.Robert Prentner - 2017 - Foundations of Chemistry 19 (1):29-41.
The Fifth Chemical Revolution: 1973–1999.José A. Chamizo - 2017 - Foundations of Chemistry 19 (2):157-179.

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References found in this work

Against Method.Paul Feyerabend - 1975 - London: New Left Books.
Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics.Peter Galison (ed.) - 1997 - University of Chicago Press: Chicago.
Representing and Intervening.Ian Hacking - 1984 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):381-390.
Against Method.P. Feyerabend - 1975 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 26 (4):331-342.

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