Philosophy of chemistry

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2011)
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Abstract

Chemistry is the study of the structure and transformation of matter. When Aristotle founded the field in the 4th century BCE, his conceptual grasp of the nature of matter was tailored to accommodate a relatively simple range of observable phenomena. In the 21st century, chemistry has become the largest scientific discipline, producing over half a million publications a year ranging from direct empirical investigations to substantial theoretical work. However, the specialized interest in the conceptual issues arising in chemistry, hereafter Philosophy of Chemistry, is a relatively recent addition to philosophy of science. Philosophy of chemistry has two major parts. In the first, conceptual issues arising within chemistry are carefully articulated and analyzed. Such questions which are internal to chemistry include the nature of substance, atomism, the chemical bond, and synthesis. In the second, traditional topics in philosophy of science such as realism, reduction, explanation, confirmation, and modeling are taken up within the context of chemistry.

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Author Profiles

Robin Hendry
Durham University
Paul Needham
Stockholm University
Michael Weisberg
University of Pennsylvania

References found in this work

Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Is Water H2O? Evidence, Realism and Pluralism.Hasok Chang - 2012 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

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