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  • 1.
    Needham, Paul
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Determining Sameness of Substance2017In: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, ISSN 0007-0882, E-ISSN 1464-3537, Vol. 68, no 4, p. 953-979Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The idea that the extension of a chemical substance is fixed by determining what stands in the relation of being the same substance to a paradigm sample plays a substantial role in chemistry, and procedures of identification which don’t make direct use of the method can be traced back to ones that do. But paradigm samples are not typically selected by ostension, as in Putnam’s version of this procedure. The relevance of ostension is questioned after a discussion of the establishment of paradigm specimens in the analysis of some contents of crude oil and an examination of the general features of the same substance relation which takes into account the temporal dependency and the consequent role of characteristic features of substances.

  • 2.
    Needham, Paul
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Process and Change: From a Thermodynamic Perspective2013In: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, ISSN 0007-0882, E-ISSN 1464-3537, Vol. 64, no 2, p. 395-422Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Needham, Paul
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Substance and Time2010In: British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, ISSN 0007-0882, E-ISSN 1464-3537, Vol. 61, no 3, p. 485-512Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    ‘Water is H2O’ is naturally construed as an equivalence. What are the things to which the two predicates ‘is water’ and ‘is H2O’ apply? The equivalence presupposes that substance properties are distinguished from phase properties. A substance like water (H2O) exhibits various phases (solid, liquid, gas) under appropriate conditions, and a given (say liquid) phase may comprise several substances. What general features distinguish substance from phase properties? I tackle these questions on the basis of an interpretation of a theorem of thermodynamics known as Gibbs' phase rule which systematically relates these two kinds of feature of matter. The interpretation develops the idea that the things substance and phase predicates apply to are quantities of matter which sustain mereological relations and operations and exploits these mereological features in distinguishing the two kinds of property. Gibbs' phase rule is a macroscopic principle applicable for macroscopic intervals of time. Bringing intervals of time into the picture calls for a more detailed consideration of the relation between macroscopic equilibria and the corresponding dynamic equilibria at the microlevel and throws into question the simple idea that quantities can always be regarded as collections of molecules. The account provides some insight into how the continuous, macroscopic conception of matter (‘gunk’) is reconciled with the discrete microscopic conception and illuminates the interpretation of substances present in mixtures.

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