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Jean Perrin and the Philosophers' Stories: The Role of Multiple Determination in Determining Avogadro's Number

Coko, Klodian (2019) Jean Perrin and the Philosophers' Stories: The Role of Multiple Determination in Determining Avogadro's Number. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The French physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin is widely credited with providing the conclusive
argument for atomism. The most well-known part of Perrin’s argument is his description of
thirteen different procedures for determining Avogadro’s number (N)–the number of atoms, ions,
and molecules contained in a gram-atom, gram-ion, and gram-mole of a substance, respectively.
Because of its success in ending the atomism debates, Perrin’s argument has been the focus of
much philosophical interest. The various philosophers, however, have reached different
conclusions, not only about the argument’s general rationale but also the role that the multiple
determination of N played in it. This paper emphasizes the historical development of Perrin’s
experimental work in order to understand the role that the multiple determination of molecular
magnitudes played in his argument for molecular reality. It claims that Perrin used the multiple
determination strategy to put forward an exceptionally strong no-coincidence argument to argue
for both the correctness of the values for the molecular magnitudes determined and the validity
of the auxiliary assumptions upon which the different determinations were based. The historicist
approach also allows the identification of the elements responsible for the epistemic strength of
Perrin’s no-coincidence argument.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Coko, Klodiankcoko@uwo.ca
Keywords: Jean Perrin; Atomism; Multiple Determination; Triangulation
Subjects: General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr. Klodian Coko
Date Deposited: 16 May 2019 14:08
Last Modified: 16 May 2019 14:08
Item ID: 16017
Subjects: General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 14 May 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16017

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