Thinking about Matter : Studies in the History of Chemical Philosophy book cover
1st Edition

Thinking about Matter
Studies in the History of Chemical Philosophy

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ISBN 9780860784647
Published September 14, 1995 by Routledge
302 Pages

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Book Description

In these articles Professor Brooke has aimed to expose and explore the many layers of philosophical debate that accompanied the development of chemistry in the 100 years from Priestley to Kekulé. During this period the foundations of our modern science were laid: Lavosier’s ’chemical revolution’, Dalton’s atomic theory, the electrochemical concepts of Berzelius transformed the science, as did new ideas of valency and molecular structure. But it was also a period of intense controversy when chemists called each other brigands and assassins.

Table of Contents

Contents: Chemists in their contexts: some recent trends in historiography; A sower went forth: Joseph Priestley and the ministry of reform; Davy’s chemical outlook: the acid test; The superiority of nature’s art? Vitalism, natural theology and the rise of organic chemistry; Wöhler’s urea and its vital force?-a verdict from the chemists; Berzelius, the dualistic hypothesis, and the rise of organic chemistry; Laurent, Gerhardt, and the philosophy of chemistry; Organic synthesis and the unification of chemistry-a reappraisal; Avogadro’s hypothesis and its fate: a case-study in the failure of case-studies; Doing down the Frenchies: how much credit should Kekulé have given?; Index.

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'How often do we lament the fact that the book-and-tenure system (at least in the States) drives us to write unnecessarily long books instead of turning out short, yet insightful and significant articles? The Variorum Collected Studies Series provides us with an important outlet for the landmark articles of some well-known historians of science while presenting, at the same time, an overview of their works over time. This volume makes an excellent addition to the series.' Ambix 'Brooke writes with wit and precision. His arguments are powerful, and the essays in this volume, individually important, gain added force by being presented together...A useful contribution to the history and philosophy of chemistry.’ Annals of Science 'Brooke exhibits his wide-ranging scholarship and influence on contemporary historiography...' Choice