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Foundations of Chemistry

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 97–98 | Cite as

Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent and Jonathan Simon: Chemistry, the impure science

Imperial College Press, London, England, distributed by World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore/Hackensack, NJ, 2008; reprinted, 2010, xii + 268 pp, ISBN: 978-1-84816-225-9 (hardbound), $76; £43
  • George B. Kauffman
Book Review

In this book, dedicated to the late historian of medicine and science Frederic Lawrence (Larry) Holmes (1932–2003), Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the Université Paris, Nanterre and recipient of the 1997 Dexter Award in the History of Chemistry, and Jonathan Simon of the Université Lyon 1 employ history to introduce central issues in the philosophy of chemistry. Using the theme of chemistry’s “impurity” and unmerited historical and academic neglect, they explore the tradition of chemistry’s negative image and argue for its positive philosophical value that reflects its characteristic practical engagement with the material world. They contend that the philosophical interest of chemistry should be based precisely on the fact that it is an “impure” science—one that mixes science with technological applications, eschewing high value, and not holding consistency as its highest value.

Bensaude-Vincent and Simon hope “to establish an...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryCalifornia State University, FresnoFresnoUSA

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