Foundations of Chemistry 22 (3):447-456 (2020)

In recent publications, Harré and Llored Challenges of cultural psychology, Routledge, London, pp 189–206, 2018a; Philosophy, 93:167–186, 2018b; The analysis of practices, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2019) take the role of philosophy of science as a digging out of the ‘hinges’, that are the tacit elements of a discipline. In this perspective, the philosophy of chemistry consists, at least partly, in making explicit the hinges on which chemistry turns and in examining their origins and logical status. In this paper, we propose to query Harré and Llored’s research approach in the case study of the element chlorine. Whereas most early nineteenth-century textbooks define the element as the endpoint of chemical decomposition, the controversy surrounding the element chlorine reveals implicit criteria that surpass operational indivisibility. From 1810 onwards, Davy argued that chlorine was a simple substance; yet, even though it had been known to be indecomposable using the strongest instruments available, the widespread acceptance of chlorine took until 1816–1818. The main factor that contributed to the resolution of the debate was the discovery of iodine, an analogous element which provided new theoretical coherence between explanations of different phenomena :247–258, 1959). Thus, the idea that elements should qualitatively resemble each other is an implicit belief which appears to have been shared by many prominent chemists of the time, despite the fact that it was not stated as part of the definition of the chemical element. Could we assert that this idea was a ‘hinge’ around which the notion of chemical element revolved? Our talk will answer this question.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10698-020-09372-6
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,355
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What is the Problem of Simplicity?Elliott Sober - 2002 - In Arnold Zellner, Hugo A. Keuzenkamp & Michael McAleer (eds.), Simplicity, Inference, and Modelling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 13-32.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Epistemological Status of the Chemical Concept of Element.F. A. Paneth - 1962 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 13 (50):144-160.
The Epistemological Status of the Chemical Concept of Element (I).F. A. Paneth - 1962 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 13 (49):1-14.
The Atomic Number Revolution in Chemistry: A Kuhnian Analysis.K. Brad Wray - 2018 - Foundations of Chemistry 20 (3):209-217.
Chemical Elements and the Problem of Universals.M. F. Sharlow - 2006 - Foundations of Chemistry 8 (3):225-242.
Why Take Chemistry Stoically? The Case of Posidonius.Ernesto Paparazzo - 2008 - Foundations of Chemistry 10 (1):63-75.


Added to PP index

Total views
5 ( #1,207,781 of 2,519,632 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #406,756 of 2,519,632 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes