Objects of inquiry in classical chemistry: material substances [Book Review]

Foundations of Chemistry 14 (1):7-23 (2011)
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I argue in the paper that classical chemistry is a science predominantly concerned with material substances, both useful materials and pure chemical substances restricted to scientific laboratory studies. The central epistemological and methodological status of material substances corresponds with the material productivity of classical chemistry and its way of producing experimental traces. I further argue that chemist’s ‘pure substances’ have a history, conceptually and materially, and I follow their conceptual history from the Paracelsian concept of purity to the modern concept of pure stoichiometric compounds. The history of the concept of ‘pure substances’ shows that modern chemists’ concept of purity abstracted from usefulness rather than being opposed to it. Thus modern chemists’ interest in pure chemical substances does not presuppose a concept of pure science



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Citations of this work

A Revolution that never happened.Ursula Klein - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:80-90.
The fifth chemical revolution: 1973–1999.José A. Chamizo - 2017 - Foundations of Chemistry 19 (2):157-179.

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References found in this work

Le matérialisme rationnel.Gaston Bachelard - 1953 - Paris,: Presses universitaires de France.
Technoscience avant la lettre.Ursula Klein - 2005 - Perspectives on Science 13 (2):226-266.
Boyle and the origins of modern chemistry: Newman tried in the fire.Alan F. Chalmers - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (1):1-10.
Aristotelian chemistry: A prelude to Duhemian metaphysics.Paul Needham - 1996 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 27 (2):251-269.

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