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  1. Atomic number and isotopy before nuclear structure: multiple standards and evolving collaboration of chemistry and physics.Jordi Cat & Nicholas W. Best - forthcoming - Foundations of Chemistry:1-33.
    We provide a detailed history of the concepts of atomic number and isotopy before the discovery of protons and neutrons that draws attention to the role of evolving interplays of multiple aims and criteria in chemical and physical research. Focusing on research by Frederick Soddy and Ernest Rutherford, we show that, in the context of differentiating disciplinary projects, the adoption of a complex and shifting concept of elemental identity and the ordering role of the periodic table led to a relatively (...)
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  2. What Can the Discovery of Boron Tell Us About the Scientific Realism Debate?Jonathon Hricko - forthcoming - In Timothy D. Lyons & Peter Vickers (eds.), Contemporary Scientific Realism: The Challenge from the History of Science. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter examines the work in chemistry that led to the discovery of boron and explores the implications of this episode for the scientific realism debate. This episode begins with Lavoisier’s oxygen theory of acidity and his prediction that boracic acid contains oxygen and a hypothetical, combustible substance that he called the boracic radical. And it culminates in the work of Davy, Gay-Lussac, and Thénard, who used potassium to extract oxygen from boracic acid and thereby discovered boron. This episode constitutes (...)
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  3. Ordonnancement de la production. Lavoisier.P. Lopez & F. Roubelat - forthcoming - Hermes.
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  4. Theodore Richards and the Discovery of Isotopes.K. Brad Wray - forthcoming - Foundations of Chemistry:1-10.
    I challenge Gareth Eaton’s recent claim that Theodore Richards should be counted among the discoverers of isotopes. In evaluating Eaton’s claim, I draw on two influential theories of scientific discovery, one developed by Thomas Kuhn, and one developed by Augustine Brannigan. I argue that though Richards’ experimental work contributed to the discovery, his work does not warrant attributing the discovery to him. Richards’ reluctance to acknowledge isotopes is well documented. Further, the fact that he made no claim to having made (...)
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  5. Joachim Schummer; Tom Børsen (Editors). Ethics of Chemistry: From Poison Gas to Climate Engineering. 568 pp., indexes. Hackensack, N.J.: World Scientific, 2021. $198 (cloth); ISBN 9789811233531. E-book available. [REVIEW]Howard G. Barth - 2022 - Isis 113 (1):207-208.
  6. Has the problem (or puzzle) of the element concept been solved?: Eric Scerri and Elena Ghibaudi (eds): What is a chemical element? A collection of essays by chemists, philosophers, historians, and educators. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020, 296 pp, £65 HB. [REVIEW]Nicholas W. Best - 2022 - Metascience 31 (2):255-259.
  7. Essence, Experiment, and Underdetermination in the Spinoza-Boyle Correspondence.Stephen Harrop - 2022 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 12 (2):447-484.
    I examine the (mediated) correspondence between Spinoza and Robert Boyle concerning the latter’s account of fluidity and his experiments on reconstitution of niter in the light of the epistemology and doctrine of method contained in the Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect. I argue that both the Treatise and the correspondence reveal that for Spinoza, the proper method of science is not experimental, and that he accepted a powerful under-determination thesis. I argue that, in contrast to modern versions, Spinoza’s (...)
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  8. Newton’s Secrets Revealed. [REVIEW]Elisabeth Moreau - 2022 - Metascience 31 (1):5-10.
  9. Jennifer M. Rampling The Experimental Fire: Inventing English Alchemy, 1300–1700. (Synthesis.) 416 pp., 19 halftones, 2 tables. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2020. $35 (cloth); ISBN 9780226710709. E-book available. [REVIEW]Megan Piorko - 2022 - Isis 113 (1):178-179.
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  10. Lawrence M. Principe. The Transmutations of Chymistry: Wilhelm Homberg and the Academie Royal des Sciences. 504 pp., halftones, drawings. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2020. $45 (cloth); ISBN 9780226700786. E-book available. [REVIEW]Anna Marie Roos - 2022 - Isis 113 (1):185-186.
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  11. What happened when chemists came to classify elements by their atomic number?K. Brad Wray - 2022 - Foundations of Chemistry 24 (2):161-170.
    I respond to Scerri’s recent reply to my claim that there was a scientific revolution in chemistry in the early twentieth Century. I grant, as Scerri insists, that there are significant continuities through the change about which we are arguing. That is so in all scientific revolutions. But I argue that the changes were such that they constitute a Kuhnian revolution, not in the classic sense of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, but in the sense of Kuhn’s mature theory, developed (...)
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  12. Alison M Roberts. Hathor’s Alchemy: The Ancient Egyptian Roots of the Hermetic Art. 336 pp., notes, bibl., index. East Sussex: Northgate Publishers, 2019. £27.50 (paper); ISBN 9780952423331. [REVIEW]Marco Beretta - 2021 - Isis 112 (1):181-181.
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  13. Gaining traction: Foothold concepts and exemplars in conceptual change.William Goodwin - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90 (C):145-152.
    This paper investigates the emergence of conformational analysis in organic chemistry as a case of conceptual change in science. In this case, the mechanism of conceptual change is identified as the emergence of a new exemplar. This new exemplar was made possible because of the identification of a distinctive chemical structure to which ‘foothold’ concepts were applicable. These concepts facilitated both clear explanation in the particular case, and the analogical extension of the conceptual innovation throughout the discipline. The case suggests (...)
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  14. Epistemic issues in computational reproducibility: software as the elephant in the room.Alexandre Hocquet & Frédéric Wieber - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-20.
    Computational reproducibility possesses its own dynamics and narratives of crisis. Alongside the difficulties of computing as an ubiquitous yet complex scientific activity, computational reproducibility suffers from a naive expectancy of total reproducibility and a moral imperative to embrace the principles of free software as a non-negotiable epistemic virtue. We argue that the epistemic issues at stake in actual practices of computational reproducibility are best unveiled by focusing on software as a pivotal concept, one that is surprisingly often overlooked in accounts (...)
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  15. Glen E. Rodgers. Traveling with the Atom: A Scientific Guide to Europe and Beyond. 551 pp., app., indexes. Croydon: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019. £29.99 (paper); ISBN 9781788015288. E-book available. [REVIEW]Alan Rocke - 2021 - Isis 112 (1):175-176.
  16. Small Bohr: John L. Heilbron: Niels Bohr: a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020, xxii+132 pp, £8.99 PB. [REVIEW]K. Brad Wray - 2021 - Metascience 31 (1):27-28.
    This is a book review of John Heilbron's book _Niels Bohr: a very short introduction_.
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  17. Ernst Homburg; Elisabeth Vaupel (Editors). Hazardous Chemicals: Agents of Risk and Change, 1800–2000. (Environment in History: International Perspectives, 17.) xiv + 407 pp., index. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2019. $105 (cloth). E-book available. [REVIEW]David Arnold - 2020 - Isis 111 (3):651-652.
  18. The Chemical Philosophy of Robert Boyle: Mechanicism, Chymical Atoms, and Emergence.Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    This book examines the way in which Robert Boyle seeks to accommodate his complex chemical philosophy within the framework of a mechanistic theory of matter. More specifically, the book proposes that Boyle regards chemical qualities as properties that emerged from the mechanistic structure of chymical atoms. Within Boyle’s chemical ontology, chymical atoms are structured concretions of particles that Boyle regards as chemically elementary entities, that is, as chemical wholes that resist experimental analysis. Although this interpretation of Boyle’s chemical philosophy has (...)
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  19. Reflections on the Reception of Jean Perrin’s Experiments by His Contemporaries.Milena Ivanova - 2020 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 10 (1):219-224.
  20. From Food to Elements and Humors: Digestion in Late Renaissance Galenism.Elisabeth Moreau - 2020 - In Giouli Korobili & Roberto Lo Presti (eds.), Nutrition and Nutritive Soul in Aristotle and Aristotelianism. De Gruyter. pp. 319-338.
    In late Renaissance medicine, the example of digestion was frequently invoked to prove the elemental composition of the human body. Food was considered as being decomposed in its first elements by the stomach, and digested into a thick juice, which was assimilated by the liver and the body parts. Such a process points to the structure of the human body into four elements that are transformed into different types of humors during several stages of “concoction”. This chapter examines the Galenic (...)
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  21. Problem of the Direct Quantum-Information Transformation of Chemical Substance.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Computational and Theoretical Chemistry eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 3 (26):1-15.
    Arthur Clark and Michael Kube–McDowell (“The Triger”, 2000) suggested the sci-fi idea about the direct transformation from a chemical substance to another by the action of a newly physical, “Trigger” field. Karl Brohier, a Nobel Prize winner, who is a dramatic persona in the novel, elaborates a new theory, re-reading and re-writing Pauling’s “The Nature of the Chemical Bond”; according to Brohier: “Information organizes and differentiates energy. It regularizes and stabilizes matter. Information propagates through matter-energy and mediates the interactions of (...)
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  22. The History of Chemistry in Chemical Education.John C. Powers - 2020 - Isis 111 (3):576-581.
  23. John F. Marra. Hot Carbon: Carbon-14 and a Revolution in Science. xii + 264 pp., bibl., index. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019. $35 (cloth); ISBN 9780231186704. E-book available. [REVIEW]Seth C. Rasmussen - 2020 - Isis 111 (4):900-901.
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  24. E. Nicolaidis (Editor). Greek Alchemy from Late Antiquity to Early Modernity. (De Diversis Artibus, 104 [N.S., 67].) 197 pp., figs., notes, index. Turnhout: Brepols, 2018. €80 (cloth). [REVIEW]Curtis Runstedler - 2020 - Isis 111 (3):659-660.
  25. Models, Parameterization, and Software: Epistemic Opacity in Computational Chemistry.Frédéric Wieber & Alexandre Hocquet - 2020 - Perspectives on Science 28 (5):610-629.
    . Computational chemistry grew in a new era of “desktop modeling,” which coincided with a growing demand for modeling software, especially from the pharmaceutical industry. Parameterization of models in computational chemistry is an arduous enterprise, and we argue that this activity leads, in this specific context, to tensions among scientists regarding the epistemic opacity transparency of parameterized methods and the software implementing them. We relate one flame war from the Computational Chemistry mailing List in order to assess in detail the (...)
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  26. Brightening Biochemistry: Humor, Identity, and Scientific Work at the Sir William Dunn Institute of Biochemistry, 1923–1931.Robin Wolfe Scheffler - 2020 - Isis 111 (3):493-514.
    In the 1920s, scientists at the University of Cambridge’s Sir William Dunn Institute of Biochemistry made major contributions to the emerging discipline of biochemistry while also devoting considerable time and energy to the production of a humor journal entitled Brighter Biochemistry. Although humor is frequently regarded as peripheral to the work of science, the journal provides an opportunity to understand how it contributes to the social infrastructure of scientific communities as modern workplaces. Taking methodological cues from cultural history, ethnography, and (...)
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  27. The function of microstructure in Boyle’s chemical philosophy: ‘chymical atoms' and structural explanation.Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino - 2019 - Foundations of Chemistry 21 (1):51-59.
    One of several important issues that inform contemporary philosophy of chemistry is the issue of structural explanation, precisely because modern chemistry is primarily concerned with microstructure. This paper argues that concern over microstructure, albeit understood differently than it is today, also informs the chemical philosophy of Robert Boyle. According to Boyle, the specific microstructure of ‘chymical atoms’, understood in geometric terms, accounts for the unique essential properties of different chemical substances. Because he considers the microstructure of ‘chymical atoms’ as semi-permanent, (...)
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  28. Pere Grapí, Inspiring Air: A History of Air-Related Science. Wilmington: Vernon Press, 2019. Pp. ix + 352. ISBN 1-62273-738-5. £44.00. [REVIEW]Nicholas Danne - 2019 - British Journal for the History of Science 52 (4):717-719.
  29. The Artificial Cell, the Semipermeable Membrane, and the Life that Never Was, 1864–1901.Daniel Liu - 2019 - Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 49 (5):504-555.
    Since the early nineteenth century a membrane or wall has been central to the cell’s identity as the elementary unit of life. Yet the literally and metaphorically marginal status of the cell membrane made it the site of clashes over the definition of life and the proper way to study it. In this article I show how the modern cell membrane was conceived of by analogy to the first “artificial cell,” invented in 1864 by the chemist Moritz Traube (1826–1894), and (...)
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  30. The Periodic Table and its Iconicity: an Essay.Juergen H. Maar & Alexander Maar - 2019 - Substantia 3 (2):29-48.
    In this essay, we aim to provide an overview of the periodic table’s origins and history, and of the elements which conspired to make it chemistry’s most recognisable icon. We pay attention to Mendeleev’s role in the development of a system for organising the elements and chemical knowledge while facilitating the teaching of chemistry. We look at how the reception of the table in different chemical communities was dependent on the local scientific, cultural and political context, but argue that its (...)
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  31. The rise of cryptographic metaphors in Boyle and their use for the mechanical philosophy.Dana Matthiessen - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 73:8-21.
    This paper tracks the development of Boyle’s conception of the natural world in terms of the popular “book of nature” trope. Boyle initially spoke of the creatures and phenomena of nature in a spiritual and moral register, as emblems of divine purpose, but gradually shifted from this ideographic view to an alphabetical account, which at times became posed in explicitly cryptographic terms. I explain this transition toward cryptographic metaphors in terms of Boyle’s social and intellectual milieu and their concordance with (...)
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  32. The Instrument of Science: Scientific Anti-Realism Revitalised.Darrell P. Rowbottom - 2019 - New York: Routledge.
    Roughly, instrumentalism is the view that science is primarily, and should primarily be, an instrument for furthering our practical ends. It has fallen out of favour because historically influential variants of the view, such as logical positivism, suffered from serious defects. -/- In this book, however, Darrell P. Rowbottom develops a new form of instrumentalism, which is more sophisticated and resilient than its predecessors. This position—‘cognitive instrumentalism’—involves three core theses. First, science makes theoretical progress primarily when it furnishes us with (...)
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  33. Kuhn, the History of Chemistry, and the Philosophy of Science.K. Brad Wray - 2019 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 9 (1):75-92.
    I draw attention to one of the most important sources of Kuhn’s ideas in Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Contrary to the popular trend of focusing on external factors in explaining Kuhn’s views, factors related to his social milieu or personal experiences, I focus on the influence of the books and articles he was reading and thinking about in the history of science, specifically, sources in the history of chemistry. I argue that there is good reason to think that the history (...)
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  34. Reporting the discovery of new chemical elements: working in different worlds, only 25 years apart.K. Brad Wray & Line Edslev Andersen - 2019 - Foundations of Chemistry 22 (2):137-146.
    In his account of scientific revolutions, Thomas Kuhn suggests that after a revolutionary change of theory, it is as if scientists are working in a different world. In this paper, we aim to show that the notion of world change is insightful. We contrast the reporting of the discovery of neon in 1898 with the discovery of hafnium in 1923. The one discovery was made when elements were identified by their atomic weight; the other discovery was made after scientists came (...)
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  35. Mechanistic trends in chemistry.Louis Caruana - 2018 - Substantia 2 (1):29-40.
    During the twentieth century, the mechanistic worldview came under attack mainly because of the rise of quantum mechanics but some of its basic characteristics survived and are still evident within current science in some form or other. Many scholars have produced interesting studies of such significant mechanistic trends within current physics and biology but very few have bothered to explore the effects of this worldview on current chemistry. This paper makes a contribution to fill this gap. It presents first a (...)
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  36. Heads and Tails: Molecular Imagination and the Lipid Bilayer, 1917–1941.Daniel Liu - 2018 - In Karl Matlin, Jane Maienschein & Manfred Laubichler (eds.), Visions of Cell Biology: Reflections Inspired by Cowdry's General Cytology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 209-245.
    Today, the lipid bilayer structure is nearly ubiquitous, taken for granted in even the most rudimentary introductions to cell biology. Yet the image of the lipid bilayer, built out of lipids with heads and tails, went from having obscure origins deep in colloid chemical theory in 1924 to being “obvious to any competent physical chemist” by 1935. This chapter examines how this schematic, strictly heuristic explanation of the idea of molecular orientation was developed within colloid physical chemistry, and how the (...)
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  37. Chemical Dissolution and Kant’s Critical Theory of Nature.Michael Bennett McNulty - 2018 - Kant Studien 109 (4):537-556.
    Kant conceives of chemical dissolutions as involving the infinite division and subsequent blending of solvent and solute. In the resulting continuous solution, every subvolume contains a uniform proportion of each reactant. Erich Adickes argues that this account stands in tension with other aspects of Kant’s Critical philosophy and his views on infinity. I argue that although careful analysis of Kant’s conception of dissolution addresses Adickes’ objections, the infinite division inherent to the process is beyond our human cognition, for Kant. Nevertheless, (...)
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  38. What to make of Mendeleev’s predictions?K. Brad Wray - 2018 - Foundations of Chemistry 21 (2):139-143.
    I critically examine Stewart’s suggestion that we should weigh the various predictions Mendeleev made differently. I argue that in his effort to justify discounting the weight of some of Mendeleev’s failures, Stewart invokes a principle that will, in turn, reduce the weight of some of the successful predictions Mendeleev made. So Stewart’s strategy will not necessarily lead to a net gain in Mendeleev’s favor.
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  39. What to make of Mendeleev’s predictions?K. Brad Wray - 2018 - Foundations of Chemistry 21 (2):139-143.
    I critically examine Stewart’s suggestion that we should weigh the various predictions Mendeleev made differently. I argue that in his effort to justify discounting the weight of some of Mendeleev’s failures, Stewart invokes a principle that will, in turn, reduce the weight of some of the successful predictions Mendeleev made. So Stewart’s strategy will not necessarily lead to a net gain in Mendeleev’s favor.
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  40. Guest Editor: Foundations of Chemistry (Special Issue).Marina P. Banchetti - 2017 - Foundations of Chemistry 19 (1).
  41. Il neoplatonismo nell'ontologia chimica di Jan Baptista van Helmont.Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino - 2017 - In Il minimo, l’unità, e l’universo infinito nella cosmologia vitalistica di Giordano Bruno. Milano: Limina Mentis.
  42. A Chemistry of Human Nature: Chemical Imagery in Hume’s Treatise.Tamás Demeter - 2017 - Early Science and Medicine 22 (2-3):208-228.
  43. What is Chemistry, for Kant?Michael Bennett McNulty - 2017 - Kant Yearbook 9 (1):85-112.
    Kant’s preoccupation with architectonics is a characteristic and noteworthy aspect of his thought. Various features of Kant’s argumentation and philosophical system are founded on the precise definitions of the various subdomains of human knowledge and the derivative borders among them. One science conspicuously absent from Kant’s routine discussions of the organization of knowledge is chemistry. Whereas sciences such as physics, psychology, and anthropology are all explicitly located in the architectonic, chemistry finds no such place. In this paper, I examine neglected (...)
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  44. Corpuscularism and Experimental Philosophy in Domenico Guglielmini's Reflections on Salts.Alberto Vanzo - 2017 - In Peter R. Anstey (ed.), The Idea of Principles in Early Modern Thought. New York: Routledge. pp. 147-171.
    Several recent studies of early modern natural philosophy have claimed that corpuscularism and experimental philosophy were sharply distinct or even conflicting views. This chapter provides a different perspective on the relation between corpuscularism and experimental philosophy by examining Domenico Guglielmini’s ‘Philosophical Reflections’ on salts (1688). This treatise on crystallography develops a corpuscularist theory and defends it in a way that is in line with the methodological prescriptions, epistemological strictures, and preferred argumentative styles of experimental philosophers. The examination of the ‘Reflections’ (...)
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  45. What was revolutionary about the Chemical Revolution?Nicholas W. Best - 2016 - In Eric Scerri & Grant Fisher (eds.), Essays in Philosophy of Chemistry. Oxford University Press. pp. 37-59.
    Lavoisier and his allies should be regarded as philosophers of chemistry, for they took it upon themselves to carry out a scientific revolution. Inspired by enlightenment philosophy, they introduced new assumptions, apparatus and methods of experimentation. They provided a linguistic framework that would ensure These reforms, as much as any theoretical changes, are what make this period revolutionary. Moreover, by reading these scientists as philosophers of chemistry, we see that the Chemical Revolution was in many ways more revolutionary than Thomas (...)
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  46. Chemistry in Kant’s Opus Postumum.Michael Bennett McNulty - 2016 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):64-95.
    In his Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft (MAN), Kant claims that chemistry is an improper, though rational science. The chemistry to which Kant confers this status is the phlogistic chemistry of, for instance, Georg Stahl. In his Opus Postumum (OP), however, Kant espouses a broadly Lavoiserian conception of chemistry. In particular, Kant endorses Antoine Lavoisier's elements, oxygen theory of combustion, and role for the caloric. As Lavoisier's lasting contribution to chemistry, according to some histories of the science, was his emphasis on (...)
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  47. Philosophy of chemistry: unkempt jungle and fertile ground: Eric Scerri and Lee McIntyre : Philosophy of chemistry: Growth of a new discipline . Dordrecht: Springer, 2015. xii+233pp, $99 HB.Micah Newman - 2016 - Metascience 25 (3):473-477.
  48. review of Fumie Kawamura, Diderot et la chimie: science, pensée et écriture. [REVIEW]Charles T. Wolfe - 2016 - H-France Reviews 16.
  49. Van Helmont’s hybrid ontology and its influence on the chemical interpretation of spirit and ferment.Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino - 2015 - Foundations of Chemistry 18 (2):103-112.
    This essay proposes to discuss the manner in which Jan Baptista van Helmont helped to transform the Neoplatonic notions of vital spirit and of ferment by giving these notions an unambiguously chemical interpretation, thereby influencing the eventual naturalization of these ideas in the work of late seventeenth century chymists. This chemical interpretation of vital spirit and ferment forms part of Helmont’s hybrid ontology, which fuses a corpuscular conception of minima naturalia with a non-corporeal conception of semina rerum. For Helmont, chemical (...)
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  50. Antoine Lavoisier. Oeuvres de Lavoisier: Correspondance. Volume 7: 1792–1794. Edited by, Patrice Bret. Foreword by, Henri Kagan. xv + 587 pp., illus., tables, apps., index. Paris: Académie des Sciences, 2012. €70. [REVIEW]Marco Beretta - 2015 - Isis 106 (3):724-726.
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