An appraisal of Mendeleev’s contribution to the development of the periodic table


Authors
MarÍa Rodríguez
University of the Basque Country
Abstract
Historians and philosophers of science generally conceptualize scientific progress to be dichotomous, viz., experimental observations lead to scientific laws, which later facilitate the elaboration of explanatory theories. There is considerable controversy in the literature with respect to Mendeleev’s contribution to the origin, nature, and development of the periodic table. The objectives of this study are to explore and reconstruct: a) periodicity in the periodic table as a function of atomic theory; b) role of predictions in scientific theories and its implications for the periodic table; and c) Mendeleev’s contribution: theory or an empirical law? The reconstruction shows that despite Mendeleev’s own ambivalence, periodicity of properties of chemical elements in the periodic table can be attributed to the atomic theory. It is argued that based on the Lakatosian framework, predictions play an important role in the development of scientific theories. In this context, Mendeleev’s predictions played a crucial role in the development of the periodic table. Finally, it is concluded that Mendeleev’s contribution can be considered as an “interpretative” theory which became “explanatory” after the periodic table was based on atomic numbers.Author Keywords: Periodic table; Mendeleev’s contribution; Theory; Empirical law; Interpretative theory
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2003.12.014
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References found in this work BETA

Why Did Einstein's Programme Supersede Lorentz's? (I).Elie Zahar - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):95-123.
Prediction and the Periodic Table.Eric R. Scerri & John Worrall - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (3):407-452.
Why Did Einstein's Programme Supersede Lorentz's? (II).Elie Zahar - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):223-262.
Logical Versus Historical Theories of Confirmation.Alan Musgrave - 1974 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):1-23.

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Citations of this work BETA

Use-Novel Predictions and Mendeleev’s Periodic Table: Response to Scerri and Worrall.Samuel Schindler - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):265-269.
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A Rationale for Mixed Methods (Integrative) Research Programmes in Education.Mansoor Niaz - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (2):287-305.

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