Synthese 155 (3):321 - 336 (2007)
AbstractHad 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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