Hendry, R. F. (2006) 'Elements, compounds and other chemical kinds.', Philosophy of science., 73 (5). pp. 864-875.
In this paper I assess the problems and prospects of a microstructural approach to chemical substances. Kripke and Putnam famously claimed that (a) to be gold is to have atomic number 79, and (b) to be water is to be H2O. I relate (a) to the concept of element in the history of chemistry, arguing that the reference of element names is determined by atomic number. Compounds are more difficult: water is so complex and heterogeneous at the molecular level that ‘water is H2O’ seems false. I sketch a response to this problem.
|Keywords:||Chemical substances, Natural kinds, Essentialism.|
|Full text:||(VoR) Version of Record|
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|Publisher Web site:||http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/518745|
|Publisher statement:||© 2006 by the Philosophy of Science Association|
|Date accepted:||No date available|
|Date deposited:||28 July 2008|
|Date of first online publication:||December 2006|
|Date first made open access:||No date available|
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