Hendry, R.F. (2016) 'Structure as abstraction.', Philosophy of science., 83 (5). pp. 1070-1081.
In this article I argue that structure in chemistry is a creature of abstraction: attending selectively to structural similarities, we neglect differences. There are different ways to abstract, so abstraction is interest dependent. So is structure. First, there are two different and mutually irreducible notions of structure in chemistry: bond structure and geometrical structure. Second, structure is relative to scale (of energy, time, and length): the same substance has different structures at different scales, and relationships of structural sameness and difference vary across the scales. However, these facts have no tendency to undermine structure’s claim to reality, or its metaphysical seriousness.
|Full text:||(AM) Accepted Manuscript|
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|Publisher Web site:||https://doi.org/10.1086/687939|
|Publisher statement:||© 2016 by the Philosophy of Science Association.|
|Date accepted:||No date available|
|Date deposited:||07 March 2017|
|Date of first online publication:||01 December 2016|
|Date first made open access:||01 December 2017|
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