Philosophy of Chemistry

  • Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
Part of the Boston Studies In The Philosophy Of Science book series (BSPS, volume 276)

The notion of “philosophy of chemistry” challenges the singular in the phrase “philosophy of science”, which is the standard term for the discipline in the English language. This linguistic peculiarity has undoubtedly favored the tacit equation science = physics that has characterized mainstream philosophy of science during the course of the 20th century. The hegemony of physics has had profound consequences that have subsequently become identifiable. One of them is the increasing gap between philosophical reflection and science in action. As Joachim Schummer has pointed out: “Had those philosophers without prejudice gone into the laboratories, then they would have stumbled on chemistry almost everywhere”.1 For there is a striking contrast between the philosophers’ neglect of chemistry and the quantitative data, which show that chemistry is by far the largest scientific discipline in terms of the number of publications indexed by the major journals of abstracts. Thus, philosophers have virtually ignored the major part of scientific activity choosing instead to focus on theoretical physics, which seemed more appropriate in light of the “linguistic turn”.


Chemical Theory Linguistic Turn Chemical Revolution Essential Tension Metaphysical Notion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de philosophieUniversité Paris XNanterreFrance

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