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  1.  10
    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.  74
    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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  3. 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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  4.  5
    A Tale of Seven Scientists and a New Philosophy of Science.Eric R. Scerri - 2016 - New York, NY: 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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  5. A Tale of Seven Elements.Eric R. Scerri - 2013 - New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
     
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  6. Just how ab initio is ab initio quantum chemistry?Eric R. Scerri - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 6 (1):93-116.
  7.  78
    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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10.  46
    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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  11.  20
    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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  12.  62
    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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  13.  44
    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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  14.  65
    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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  15.  25
    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.
  16.  24
    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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  17.  29
    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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  18.  21
    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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  19.  45
    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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  20.  23
    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.
    The article discusses some of Heinz Post's views on correspondence and whether revolutions occur in science a la Kuhn. For example Post points out that the periodic table of the chemical elements has withstood any revolutions. Specific issues examined include the Paneth-Fajans controversy, the extent to which quantum mechanics provides an explanation for the periodic table and ab initio calculations in quantum chemistry.
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  21.  60
    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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  22.  29
    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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  23.  45
    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.  39
    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.  20
    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.
  26. 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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  27. 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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  28.  62
    Philosophy of chemistry: synthesis of a new discipline.Davis Baird, Eric R. Scerri & Lee C. McIntyre (eds.) - 2006 - Dordrecht: 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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  29.  7
    Mendeleev to Oganesson: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on the Periodic Table.Eric R. 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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  30.  49
    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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  31. 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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  32.  15
    Editorial 21.Eric R. Scerri - 2005 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (3):199-202.
  33.  73
    Editorial 1.Eric R. Scerri - 1999 - Foundations of Chemistry 1 (1):107-109.
  34.  11
    Response to Needham.Eric R. Scerri - 1999 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (2):185 – 192.
  35. Editorial 10.Eric R. Scerri - 2002 - Foundations of Chemistry 4 (1):1-4.
  36.  35
    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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  37.  21
    Editorial 20.Eric R. Scerri - 2005 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (2):119-123.
  38.  11
    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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  39.  7
    Interview with Olimpia Lombardi.Eric R. Scerri - 2022 - Foundations of Chemistry 25 (1):101-117.
  40.  7
    The Philosophy of Chemistry.Eric R. Scerri & Grant Andrew Fisher (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
    The philosophy of chemistry has emerged in recent years as a new and autonomous field within the Anglo-American philosophical tradition. With the development of this new discipline, Eric Scerri and Grant Fisher's "Essays in the Philosophy of Chemistry" is a timely and definitive guide to all current thought in this field. This edited volume will serve to map out the distinctive features of the field and its connections to the philosophies of the natural sciences and general philosophy of science more (...)
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  41.  53
    Editorial 15.Eric R. Scerri - 2003 - Foundations of Chemistry 5 (3):185-188.
  42.  53
    Editorial 12.Eric R. Scerri - 2002 - Foundations of Chemistry 4 (3):179-182.
  43.  6
    A commentary on Weisberg’s critique of the ‘structural conception’ of chemical bonding.Eric R. Scerri - 2022 - Foundations of Chemistry 25 (2):253-264.
    Robin Hendry has presented an account of two equally valid ways of understanding the nature of chemical bonding, consisting of what the terms the structural and the energetic views respectively. In response, Weisberg has issued a “challenge to the structural view”, thus implying that the energetic view is the more correct of the two conceptions. In doing so Weisberg identifies the delocalization of electrons as the one robust feature that underlies the increasingly accurate quantum mechanical calculations starting with the Heitler-London (...)
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  44.  73
    Bibilography of secondary sources on the periodic system of the chemical elements.Eric R. Scerri & Jacob Edwards - 2001 - Foundations of Chemistry 3 (2):183-195.
    One of the consequences of the renewed interest in philosophical aspects of chemistry has been the corresponding renewed interest in the periodic system of the elements which embodies so much chemical knowledge in an implicit form.We have therefore decided to further promote scholarship on the periodic system by compiling a bibliography of previously published material. As the title of this article implies, we restrict ourselves to secondary sources. Readers interested in primary material can consult a number of useful references for (...)
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  45.  70
    Editorial 19 special issue on philosophical problems of chemical kinds.Eric R. Scerri - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (1):1-4.
  46.  41
    Editorial 13.Eric R. Scerri - 2003 - Foundations of Chemistry 5 (1):1-6.
  47.  12
    Charles S. McCaw: Orbitals with applications in atomic spectra, 2nd edition.Eric R. Scerri - 2020 - Foundations of Chemistry 23 (1):133-134.
  48.  17
    10. Interdisciplinary Research at the Caltech Beckman Institute.Eric R. Scerri - 2000 - In Peter Weingart & Nico Stehr (eds.), Practising Interdisciplinarity. University of Toronto Press. pp. 194-214.
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  49.  24
    Editorial 16.Eric R. Scerri - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 6 (1):1-2.
  50.  30
    Editorial 34.Eric R. Scerri - 2010 - Foundations of Chemistry 12 (1):1-3.
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