Article ID: CBB001421611

Philosophy of Chemistry or Philosophy with Chemistry? (2014)


Chemistry deserves more philosophical attention not so much to do justice to a long-neglected science or to enhance its cultural prestige, but to undermine a number of taken-for-granted assumptions about scientific rationality and more importantly to diversify our metaphysical views of nature and reality. In brief, this paper does not make the case for a philosophy of chemistry. It rather urges philosophers of science to listen to chemists and discuss what they learn from them. Because over the course of many centuries chemists have developed a special access to nature and a special way of investigating and dealing with material substances, they have confronted a number of epistemological and ontological issues that are worth discussing. Following critical remarks about the disciplinary partition of philosophy, a historical section presents the contributions to philosophy of a few French twentieth-century chemists-turned philosophers to emphasize how they have challenged the dominant philosophical categories. The final section develops one of the lessons that philosophers can learn from chemists: to pay attention to things, to their materiality and activity in order to develop new ontological perspectives. Keywords: philosophy of science, disciplines, thing-turn, Gaston Bachelard, Pierre Duhem, Emile Meyerson, Georges Urbain.

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Authors & Contributors
Meyerson, Émile
Fortino, Mirella
Bensaude-Vincent, Bernadette
Calemi, Francesco
Antonio Fundarò
M. Anthony Mills
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Kritiki: Critical Science & Education
History of European Ideas
H. Champion
Edinburgh University Press
Philosophy of science
History of philosophy of science
Philosophers of science, modern
Bachelard, Gaston
Duhem, Pierre
Meyerson, Émile
Urbain, Georges
Votocek, Emil
Popper, Karl Raimund
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
18th century

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