Scientific Pluralism and the Chemical Revolution

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


In a number of papers and in his recent book, Is Water H 2O? Evidence, Realism, Pluralism (2012), Hasok Chang has argued that the correct interpretation of the Chemical Revolution provides a strong case for the view that progress in science is served by maintaining several incommensurable "systems of practice" in the same discipline, and concerning the same region of nature. This paper is a critical discussion of Chang's reading of the Chemical Revolution. It seeks to establish, first, that Chang's assessment of Lavoisier's and Priestley's work and character follows the phlogistonists' "actors' sociology"; second, that Chang simplifies late-eighteenth-century chemical debates by reducing them to an alleged conflict between two systems of practice; third, that Chang's evidence for a slow transition from phlogistonist theory to oxygen theory is not strong; and fourth, that he is wrong to assume that chemists at the time did not have overwhelming good reasons to favour Lavoisier's over the phlogistonists' views.

Seiten (von - bis)69-79
FachzeitschriftStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
AusgabenummerFebruary 2015
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Feb. 2015

ÖFOS 2012

  • 603113 Philosophie