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Atoms and Chemistry I: Not a Success Story
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9771-3469
2020 (English)In: Atomism in Philosophy: A History from Antiquity to the Present / [ed] Ugo Zilioli, London: Bloomsbury Academic , 2020, p. 457-469Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Classical atoms—“part-less, ontologically irreducible simples” as the conference flyer puts it—are not the atoms of modern chemistry and analogies with the latter can be construed in various ways. They have figured in the historical development of concepts of chemical affinity but without, as Alan Chalmers and I have independently argued, making any significant contribution to empirically justified theories. A purely combinatorial conception of the formation of compounds by juxtaposing atoms is associated with Daltonian atomism. I review the merits of this idea as a solution to problems posed by developments in early nineteenth century chemistry and go on to suggest that subsequent developments in chemistry are as much in agreement with ideas associated with Aristotle as with the ancient atomists, if not more so. The basic issues can be understood without getting involved in detailed chemistry and I hope what I have to say will be of interest to philosophers concerned with the metaphysics of matter but with no special knowledge of chemistry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Bloomsbury Academic , 2020. p. 457-469
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-185915ISBN: 978-1-3501-0749-6 (print)ISBN: 978-1-3501-0751-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-185915DiVA, id: diva2:1477171
Available from: 2020-10-16 Created: 2020-10-16 Last updated: 2022-02-25Bibliographically approved

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