Theoretical and practical reasoning in chemistry

Foundations of Chemistry 4 (2):163-171 (2002)
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Traditional philosophy of science regards theoretical reasoning, based on the example of Euclidian geometry, as the hallmark of a mature science. There is, however, a parallel tradition of practical reasoning based on specific cases that goes back to Aristotle. In this paper I argue that practical reasoning is an essential part of the practice of chemistry and should be understood and appreciated on its own merits rather than regarded as a symbol of the immaturity and inferiority of chemistry as a science.



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