Foundations of Chemistry 22 (1):43-57 (2020)

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Justin Price
University of South Carolina
Abstract
The dissemination of models across disciplinary lines has become a phenomenon of interest to philosophers of science. To account for this phenomenon, philosophers have invented two units of analysis. The first identifies to the thing that transfers, model templates. The second identifies the thing to which transferable templates apply, landing zones. There exists a dynamic between the thing that is transferred and the thing to which transferrable templates apply. The use of a transferable template in a new domain requires reconception of domain-specific phenomena. This paper examines two cases of model transfer, the use of the ideal gas law in biology by R.A. Fisher and the use of the virial theorem in chemistry by Richard Bader. These two stories of model transfer in biology and chemistry indicate a dimension to conceptual progress related to this dynamic. Using discourse on model transfer affords philosophers a novel approach for depicting the invention of, for instance, chemical concepts and resulting disputes.
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DOI 10.1007/s10698-019-09344-5
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