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On Chemical Natural Kinds

Scerri, Eric (2020) On Chemical Natural Kinds. Journal for the General Philosophy of Science, 51. pp. 427-445.

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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 approach to natural kinds and to some criticisms that have been raised against it, although I do not support the K–P account. The proposed view avoids the traditional microstructuralist approach to natural kinds. The article also addresses the question of whether natural kinds concern metaphysical or epistemological considerations.
Recent attempts by chemists to modify the periodic table are brought to bear on the question of classification and consequently on whether the identification of elements is interest dependent.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Scerri, Eric
Keywords: Natural kinds · Element · Chemistry · Isotopes · Mendeleev · Putnam & Kripke
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Eric Scerri
Date Deposited: 18 May 2022 13:20
Last Modified: 18 May 2022 13:20
Item ID: 20567
Journal or Publication Title: Journal for the General Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 2020
Page Range: pp. 427-445
Volume: 51

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