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Eric R. Scerri [96]Eric Scerri [73]
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  1.  6
    The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance.Eric R. Scerri - 2007 - New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    The periodic table of the elements is one of the most powerful icons in science: a single document that captures the essence of chemistry in an elegant pattern. Indeed, nothing quite like it exists in biology or physics, or any other branch of science, for that matter. One sees periodic tables everywhere: in industrial labs, workshops, academic labs, and of course, lecture halls. It is sometimes said that chemistry has no deep ideas, unlike physics, which can boast quantum mechanics and (...)
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  2.  97
    Prediction and the Periodic Table.Eric R. Scerri & John Worrall - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (3):407-452.
    The debate about the relative epistemic weights carried in favour of a theory by predictions of new phenomena as opposed to accommodations of already known phenomena has a long history. We readdress the issue through a detailed re-examination of a particular historical case that has often been discussed in connection with it—that of Mendeleev and the prediction by his periodic law of the three ‘new’ elements, gallium, scandium and germanium. We find little support for the standard story that these predictive (...)
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  3.  3
    A Tale of Seven Scientists and a New Philosophy of Science.Eric R. Scerri - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
    In his latest book, Eric Scerri presents a completely original account of the nature of scientific progress. It consists of a holistic and unified approach in which science is seen as a living and evolving single organism. Instead of scientific revolutions featuring exceptionally gifted individuals, Scerri argues that the "little people" contribute as much as the "heroes" of science. To do this he examines seven case studies of virtually unknown chemists and physicists in the early 20th century quest to discover (...)
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  4. The Case for the Philosophy of Chemistry.Eric Scerri & Lee McIntyre - 1997 - Synthese 111 (3):213-232.
    The philosophy of chemistry has been sadly neglected by most contempory literature in the philosophy of science. This paper argues that this neglect has been unfortunate and that there is much to be learned from paying greater philosophical attention to the set of issues defined by the philosophy of chemistry. The potential contribution of this field to such current topics as reduction, laws, explanation, and supervenience is explored, as are possible applications of insights gained by such study to the philosophy (...)
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  5. A Tale of Seven Elements.Eric R. Scerri - 2013 - New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
     
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  6. What Is A Chemical Element?: A Collection of Essays by Chemists, Philosophers, Historians, and Educators.Eric R. Scerri & Elena Ghibaudi (eds.) - 2020
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  7. Just How Ab Initio is Ab Initio Quantum Chemistry?Eric R. Scerri - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 6 (1):93-116.
  8.  93
    Some Aspects of the Metaphysics of Chemistry and the Nature of the Elements.Eric Scerri - 2005 - Hyle 11 (2):127 - 145.
    There is now a considerable body of published work on the epistemology of modern chemistry, especially with regard to the nature of quantum chemistry. In addition, the question of the metaphysical underpinnings of chemistry has received a good deal of attention. The present article concentrates on metaphysical considerations including the question of whether elements and groups of elements are natural kinds. It is also argued that an appeal to the metaphysical nature of elements can help clarify the re-emerging controversies among (...)
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  9.  70
    The Electronic Configuration Model, Quantum Mechanics and Reduction.Eric R. Scerri - 1991 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 42 (3):309-325.
    The historical development of the electronic configuration model is traced and the status of the model with respect to quantum mechanics is examined. The successes and problems raised by the model are explored, particularly in chemical ab initio calculations. The relevance of these issues to whether chemistry has been reduced to quantum mechanics is discussed, as are some general notions on reduction.
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  10.  17
    Causation, Electronic Configurations and the Periodic Table.Eric R. Scerri - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9709-9720.
    The article examines a recent interventionist account of causation by Ross, in which electronic configurations of atoms are considered to be the cause of chemical behavior. More specifically I respond to the claim that a change in electronic configuration of an atom, such as occurs in the artificial synthesis of elements, causes a change in the behavior of the atom in question. I argue that chemical behavior is governed as much by the nuclear charge of an atom as it is (...)
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  11.  38
    The Ambiguity of Reduction.Eric R. Scerri - 2007 - Hyle 13 (2):67 - 81.
    I claim that the question of whether chemistry is reduced to quantum mechanics is more ambiguous and multi-faceted than generally supposed. For example, chemistry appears to be both reduced and not reduced at the same time depending on the perspective that one adopts. Similarly, I argue that some conceptual issues in quantum mechanics are ambiguous and can only be laid to rest by embracing paradox and ambiguity rather than regarding them as obstacles to be overcome. Recent work in the reduction (...)
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  12.  41
    Has Chemistry Been at Least Approximately Reduced to Quantum Mechanics?Eric R. Scerri - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:160 - 170.
    Differing views on reduction are briefly reviewed and a suggestion is made for a working definition of 'approximate reduction'. Ab initio studies in quantum chemistry are then considered, including the issues of convergence and error bounds. This includes an examination of the classic studies on CH2 and the recent work on the Si2C molecule. I conclude that chemistry has not even been approximately reduced.
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  13.  90
    What is an Element? What is the Periodic Table? And What Does Quantum Mechanics Contribute to the Question?Eric R. Scerri - 2011 - Foundations of Chemistry 14 (1):69-81.
    This article considers two important traditions concerning the chemical elements. The first is the meaning of the term “element” including the distinctions between element as basic substance, as simple substance and as combined simple substance. In addition to briefly tracing the historical development of these distinctions, I make comments on the recent attempts to clarify the fundamental notion of element as basic substance for which I believe the term “element” is best reserved. This discussion has focused on the writings of (...)
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  14.  23
    Essays in Philosophy of Chemistry.Eric Scerri & Grant Fisher (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
  15.  59
    Has the Periodic Table Been Successfully Axiomatized?Eric R. Scerri - 1997 - Erkenntnis 47 (2):229-243.
    Although the periodic system of elements is central to the study of chemistry and has been influential in the development of quantum theory and quantum mechanics, its study has been largely neglected in philosophy of science. The present article is a detailed criticism of one notable exception, an attempt by Hettema and Kuipers to axiomatize the periodic table and to discuss the reduction of chemistry in this context.
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  16.  15
    Realism, Reduction and the “Intermediate Position”.Eric Scerri - 2000 - In Nalini Bhushan & Stuart Rosenfeld (eds.), Of Minds and Molecules: New Philosophical Perspectives on Chemistry. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 51--72.
  17.  63
    The Recently Claimed Observation of Atomic Orbitals and Some Related Philosophical Issues.Eric R. Scerri - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S76-.
    The main thrust of the paper involves a theoretical and philosophical analysis of the claim made in September 1999 that atomic orbitals have been directly imaged for the first time. After a brief account of the recent claims the paper reviews the development of the orbit and later orbital concepts and analyzes the theoretical status of atomic orbitals. The conclusion is that contrary to these claims, atomic orbitals have not in fact been observed. The non-referring nature of modern atomic orbitals (...)
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  18.  25
    Five Ideas in Chemical Education That Must Die.Eric R. Scerri - 2019 - Foundations of Chemistry 21 (1):61-69.
    The article concerns five traditionally difficult issues that chemical educators encounter and how they should be resolved. In some cases I propose the examination of necessary and sufficient conditions in order to cast light on the relationships under discussion. The five educational issues are, the notion that a pH value of seven implies a neutral solution of water and vice versa, the use of Le Châtelier’s Principle, the relative occupation and ionization of 4s and 3d orbitals, the explanation of anomalous (...)
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  19.  17
    Prediction of the Nature of Hafnium From Chemistry, Bohr's Theory and Quantum Theory.Eric R. Scerri - 1994 - Annals of Science 51 (2):137-150.
    The chemical nature of element 72, subsequently named hafnium, is generally regarded as a prediction from Bohr's theory of the periodic system and hence as a prediction from quantum theory. It is argued that both of these views and in particular the latter are mistaken. The claim in favour of Bohr's theory is weakened by his accommodation of independent chemical arguments and the claim in favour of quantum theory is untenable since the prediction is not strictly deductive.
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  20.  20
    The Failure of Reduction and How to Resist Disunity of the Sciences in the Context of Chemical Education.Eric R. Scerri - 2000 - Science & Education 9 (5):405-425.
  21. Explaining the Periodic Table, and the Role of Chemical Triads.Eric Scerri - 2010 - Foundations of Chemistry 12 (1):69-83.
    Some recent work in mathematical chemistry is discussed. It is claimed that quantum mechanics does not provide a conclusive means of classifying certain elements like hydrogen and helium into their appropriate groups. An alternative approach using atomic number triads is proposed and the validity of this approach is defended in the light of some predictions made via an information theoretic approach that suggests a connection between nuclear structure and electronic structure of atoms.
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  22.  16
    The Recently Claimed Observation of Atomic Orbitals and Some Related Philosophical Issues.Eric R. Scerri - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S76-S88.
    The main thrust of the paper involves a theoretical and philosophical analysis of the claim made in September 1999 that atomic orbitals have been directly imaged for the first time. After a brief account of the recent claims the paper reviews the development of the orbit and later orbital concepts and analyzes the theoretical status of atomic orbitals. The conclusion is that contrary to these claims, atomic orbitals have not in fact been observed. The non-referring nature of modern atomic orbitals (...)
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  23.  44
    On the Continuity of Reference of the Elements: A Response to Hendry.Eric R. Scerri - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (2):308-321.
    Robin Hendry has recently argued that although the term ‘element’ has traditionally been used in two different senses, there has nonetheless been a continuity of reference. The present article examines this author’s historical and philosophical claims and suggests that he has misdiagnosed the situation in several respects. In particular it is claimed that Hendry’s arguments for the nature of one particular element, oxygen, do not generalize to all elements as he implies. The second main objection is to Hendry’s view that (...)
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  24.  37
    A Critique of Weisberg’s View on the Periodic Table and Some Speculations on the Nature of Classifications.Eric R. Scerri - 2012 - Foundations of Chemistry 14 (3):275-284.
    This article carefully analyzes a recent paper by Weisberg in which it is claimed that when Mendeleev discovered the periodic table he was not working as a modeler but instead as a theorist. I argue that Weisberg is mistaken in several respects and that the periodic table should be regarded as a classification, not as a theory. In the second part of the article an attempt is made to elevate the status of classifications by suggesting that they provide a form (...)
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  25. Reduction and Emergence in Chemistry—Two Recent Approaches.Eric Scerri - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):920-931.
    Two articles on the reduction of chemistry are examined. The first, by McLaughlin (1992), claims that chemistry is reduced to physics and that there is no evidence for emergence or for downward causation between the chemical and the physical level. In a more recent article, Le Poidevin (2005) maintains that his combinatorial approach provides grounding for the ontological reduction of chemistry, which also circumvents some limitations in the physicalist program. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Chemistry and (...)
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  26.  15
    On Chemical Natural Kinds.Eric R. Scerri - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (3):427-445.
    A critique of LaPorte's views on chemical kinds, like jade and ruby, is presented. More positively, a new slant is provided on the question of whether elements are natural kinds. This is carried out by appeal to the dual nature of elements, a topic that has been debated in the philosophy of chemistry but not in the natural kinds literature. It is claimed that the abstract notion of elements, as opposed to their being simple substances, is relevant to the Kripke–Putnam (...)
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  27.  18
    Correspondence and Reduction in Chemistry.Eric R. Scerri - 1993 - In S. French & H. Kamminga (eds.), Correspondence, Invariance and Heuristics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 45--64.
  28.  55
    Popper's Naturalized Approach to the Reduction of Chemistry.Eric R. Scerri - 1998 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (1):33 – 44.
    Sir Karl Popper is one of the few authors to have discussed the reduction of chemistry. His approach consists of what I term naturalistic reduction, which I suggest bears close similarities to the way in which scientists regard reduction. The present article aims to build on Popper's insights into the nature of reduction in science and more specifically to suggest an approach to characterizing a specific sense of the notion of approximate reduction in the context of chemistry. In the course (...)
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  29.  39
    Have Orbitals Really Been Observed?Eric R. Scerri - 2000 - Journal of Chemical Education 77:1492-1494.
    The article disputes the recent claim featured in "Nature" magazine and many other science magazines to the effect that atomic orbitals have been observed for the first time. The claim is incorrect in view of the unconvincing nature of the evidence adduced and since atomic orbitals are deemed unobservable in principle by quantum mechanics. In addition, the possible educational drawbacks of this incorrect claim are discussed.
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  30.  18
    Philosophy of Chemistry—a New Interdisciplinary Field?Eric Scerri - 2000 - Journal of Chemical Education 77:522-526.
    Philosophy of Chemistry—A New Interdisciplinary Field? What could possibly be the connection between chemistry and philosophy, apart from the obvious superficial one of their both representing quests for knowledge? How do contemporary chemists and philosophers generally view one another? These are some of the questions I will try to put before going on to describe the connections that have recently been forged between these two seemingly very diverse fields of academic study.
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  31.  18
    Response to Barnes’s Critique of Scerri and Worral.Eric R. Scerri - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (4):813-816.
  32.  41
    A Revisionist History of Atomism: Chalmers, Alan. The Scientist’s Atom and the Philosopher’s Stone: How Science Succeeded and Philosophy Failed to Gain Knowledge of Atoms. 2009, Springer, 288 Pp, €99,95 HB.Rom Harré, Paul Needham, Eric Scerri & Alan Chalmers - 2010 - Metascience 19 (3):349-371.
    Contribution to a symposium on Alan Chalmer's The Scientist’s Atom and the Philosopher’s Stone: How Science Succeeded and Philosophy Failed to Gain Knowledge of Atoms (Springer, Dordrecht, 2009).
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  33.  44
    The Periodic Table and the Turn to Practice.Eric R. Scerri - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
    The philosopher of chemistry Andrea Woody has recently published a wide-ranging article concerning the turn to practice in the philosophy of science. Her primary example consists of the use of different forms of representations by Lothar Meyer and Mendeleev when they presented their views on chemical periodicity. Woody believes that this distinction can cast light on various issues including why Mendeleev was able to make predictions while Meyer was not. Secondly, she claims that it can clarify the much-debated question concerning (...)
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  34.  3
    Mendeleev to Oganesson: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on the Periodic Table.Eric Scerri & Guillermo Restrepo (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Since 1969, the international chemistry community has only held conferences on the topic of the Periodic Table three times, and the 2012 conference in Cusco, Peru was the first in almost a decade. The conference was highly interdisciplinary, featuring papers on geology, physics, mathematical and theoretical chemistry, the history and philosophy of chemistry, and chemical education, from the most reputable Periodic Table scholars across the world. Eric Scerri and Guillermo Restrepo have collected fifteen of the strongest papers presented at this (...)
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  35. The Exclusion Principle, Chemistry and Hidden Variables.Eric R. Scerri - 1995 - Synthese 102 (1):165 - 169.
    The Pauli Exclusion Principle and the reduction of chemistry have been the subject of considerable philosophical debate, The present article considers the view that the lack of derivability of the Exclusion Principle represents a problem for physics and denies the reduction of chemistry to quantum mechanics. The possible connections between the Exclusion Principle and the hidden variable debate are also briefly criticised.
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  36.  38
    Response to Vollmer’s Review of Minds and Molecules.Eric Scerri - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):391-398.
    I present a response to Vollmer's review of the book Of Minds and Molecules, and especially her comments on my own article therein. This provides an opportunity to discuss two central ideas in the philosophy of chemistry. These are the distinction between elements as simple substances (element-1) and elements as basic substances (element-2) and Paneth's proposed intermediate position for philosophy of chemistry. The response also discusses the question of isotopes in relationship to the nature of the elements and their classification (...)
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  37.  56
    Philosophy of Chemistry: Synthesis of a New Discipline.Davis Baird, Eric Scerri & Lee McIntyre (eds.) - 2006 - Springer.
    This comprehensive volume marks a new standard in scholarship in the still emerging field of the philosophy of chemistry. With selections drawn from a wide range of scholarly disciplines, philosophers, chemists, and historians of science here converge to ask some of the most fundamental questions about the relationship between philosophy and chemistry. What can chemistry teach us about longstanding disputes in the philosophy of science over such issues as reductionism, autonomy, and supervenience? And what new issues may chemistry bring to (...)
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  38.  13
    Hasok Chang on the Nature of Acids.Eric R. Scerri - 2022 - Foundations of Chemistry 24 (3):389-404.
    For a period of several years the philosopher of science Hasok Chang has promoted various inter-related views including pluralism, pragmatism, and an associated view of natural kinds. He has also argued for what he calls the persistence of everyday terms in the scientific view. Chang claims that terms like phlogiston were never truly abandoned but became transformed into different concepts that remain useful. On the other hand, Chang argues that some scientific terms such as acidity have suffered a form of (...)
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  39.  1
    Philosophy of Biology, Psychology, and Neuroscience-Philosophy of Chemistry-Putting Quantum Mechanics to Work in Chemistry: The Power of Diagrammatic Representation.Eric Scerri & Andrea I. Woody - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (3):S612-S627.
    Most contemporary chemists consider quantum mechanics to be the foundational theory of their discipline, although few of the calculations that a strict reduction would seem to require have ever been produced. In this essay I discuss contemporary algebraic and diagrammatic representations of molecular systems derived from quantum mechanical models, specifically configuration interaction wavefunctions for ab initio calculations and molecular orbital energy diagrams. My aim is to suggest that recent dissatisfaction with reductive accounts of chemical theory may stem from both the (...)
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  40.  47
    A Critique of Atkins' Periodic Kindom and Some Writings on Electronic Structure.Eric R. Scerri - 1999 - Foundations of Chemistry 1 (3):295-303.
    This article consists of a critique of the writings of Peter Atkins. The topics discussed include the quantum mechanical explanation of the periodic system, the aufbau principle and the order of occupation of orbitals by electrons. It is also argued that Atkins fails to appreciate the philosophical significance of the more general version of the Pauli Exclusion Principle and that this omission has ramifications in the popular presentation of chemistry as well as chemical education and philosophy of chemistry in general.
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  41.  14
    Editorial 21.Eric R. Scerri - 2005 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (3):199-202.
  42. Principles and Parameters in Physics and Chemistry.Eric Scerri - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1082-1094.
    The paper examines critically some recently published views by Ramsey on the contrast between ab initio and parametrized theories. I argue that, all things being equal, ab initio calculations are indeed regarded more highly in the physics and chemistry communities. A case study on density functional approaches in theoretical chemistry is presented in order to re‐examine the question of ab initio and parametrized approaches in a contemporary context.
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  43.  5
    In Praise of Triads.Eric R. Scerri - 2022 - Foundations of Chemistry 24 (2):285-300.
    The article begins with a response to a recent contribution by Jensen, in which he has criticized several aspects of the use of triads of elements, including Döbereiner’s original introduction of the concept and the modern use of atomic number triads by some authors including myself. Such triads are groups of three elements, one of which has approximately the average atomic weight of the other two elements, as well as having intermediate chemical reactivity. I also examine Jensen’s attempted reconstruction Mendeleev’s (...)
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  44.  41
    On the Formalization of the Periodic Table.Eric R. Scerri - 2005 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 84 (1):191-210.
    A critique is given of the attempt by Hettema and Kuipers to formalize the periodic table. In particular I dispute their notions of identifying a naïve periodic table with tables having a constant periodicity of eight elements and their views on the different conceptions of the atom by chemists and physicists. The views of Hettema and Kuipers on the reduction of the periodic system to atomic physics are also considered critically.
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  45.  30
    Commentary on Allen & Kinght’s Response to the Löwdin Challenge.Eric R. Scerri - 2006 - Foundations of Chemistry 8 (3):285-292.
    This commentary provides a critical examination of a recent article by Allen and Knight in which the authors claim to provide the long-sought explanation for the Madelung, or n + ℓ, n rule for the order of orbital filling in many-electron atoms. It is concluded that the explanation is inadequate for several reasons.
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  46.  20
    Editorial 20.Eric R. Scerri - 2005 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (2):119-123.
  47. Philosophy of Chemistry.Eric Scerri - 2003 - Philosophy 25 (3).
  48.  28
    Editorial 1.Eric R. Scerri - 1999 - Foundations of Chemistry 1 (1):107-109.
  49.  7
    Response to Needham.Eric R. Scerri - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (2):185 – 192.
  50.  4
    Editorial 70.Eric Scerri - 2022 - Foundations of Chemistry 24 (1):1-2.
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