chemistry the impure science

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Author : Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
ISBN : 9781908977625
Genre : Science
File Size : 39. 63 MB
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What do you associate with chemistry? Explosions, innovative materials, plastics, pollution? The public's confused and contradictory conception of chemistry as basic science, industrial producer and polluter contributes to what we present in this book as chemistry's image as an impure science. Historically, chemistry has always been viewed as impure both in terms of its academic status and its role in transforming modern society. While exploring the history of this science we argue for a characteristic philosophical approach that distinguishes chemistry from physics. This reflection leads us to a philosophical stance that we characterise as operational realism. In this new expanded edition we delve deeper into the questions of properties and potentials that are so important for this philosophy that is based on the manipulation of matter rather than the construction of theories. Sample Chapter(s) Chapter 1: Introduction: Chemistry and Its Discontents (61 KB) Contents: Introduction: Chemistry and Its DiscontentsChemistry and PollutionThe Damnation of the AlchemistThe Space of the LaboratoryProof in the LaboratoryChemistry Creates Its ObjectA Duel between Two Conceptions of MatterChemistry versus PhysicsAtoms or ElementsPositivism and ChemistryAtoms as FictionsAgency and RelationsTaming the NanoworldTowards a Responsible Chemistry Readership: Students, professionals, graduate of chemistry and philosophy. Keywords:Philosophy of Chemistry;History of ChemistryKey Features:It is accessible to a wide range of readersIt treats the philosophy of chemistry by means of a new approachIt provides the means for contextualizing current concerns with the chemical industryReviews:“We can learn a great deal that has hitherto remained hidden – not just about chemistry of the past, but about its promise and perils for the future. This is a book that will instruct and enlighten not just historians and philosophers of science, but also chemists (both in training and in practice).”Alan J. Rocke Distinguished University Professor of History Case Western Reserve University Reviews of the First Edition: “In this book Bensaude-Vincent and Simon offer up a refreshing and innovative introduction to the history and philosophy of chemistry, the like of which is not to be found anywhere in the extant literature … the authors locate chemistry squarely in the material and social worlds of its practices, and a sustained commitment to that contextualization gives their philosophical discourse a distinctive flavour. This book is not only an exciting addition to the literature in the history and philosophy of chemistry, but a great contribution to the philosophy and history of science and technology in general.” Hasok Chang Hans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science University of Cambridge “In clear and simple prose the authors provide a richly historically-informed interpretation of the philosophy of chemistry for student and scholar alike. Underlying the whole book such apparent contradictions as the tension between beneficial claims and environmental criticisms are treated as fruitful sources of insight for a new perspective on science.”Dr Robert Bud Keeper of Science and Medicine The Science Museum, London


Author : Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
ISBN : 1848162251
Genre : Science
File Size : 74. 29 MB
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This book uses history to introduce central issues in the philosophy of chemistry. Mobilizing the theme of impurity, it explores the tradition of chemistry's negative image. It then argues for the positive philosophical value of chemistry, reflecting its characteristic practical engagement with the material world. The book concludes with some ethical reflections concerning chemistry's orientations in the twenty-first century.

Impure Science

Author : Steven Epstein
ISBN : 0520921259
Genre : Medical
File Size : 87. 67 MB
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In the short, turbulent history of AIDS research and treatment, the boundaries between scientist insiders and lay outsiders have been crisscrossed to a degree never before seen in medical history. Steven Epstein's astute and readable investigation focuses on the critical question of "how certainty is constructed or deconstructed," leading us through the views of medical researchers, activists, policy makers, and others to discover how knowledge about AIDS emerges out of what he calls "credibility struggles." Epstein shows the extent to which AIDS research has been a social and political phenomenon and how the AIDS movement has transformed biomedical research practices through its capacity to garner credibility by novel strategies. Epstein finds that nonscientist AIDS activists have gained enough of a voice in the scientific world to shape NIH–sponsored research to a remarkable extent. Because of the blurring of roles and responsibilities, the production of biomedical knowledge about AIDS does not, he says, follow the pathways common to science; indeed, AIDS research can only be understood as a field that is unusually broad, public, and contested. He concludes by analyzing recent moves to democratize biomedicine, arguing that although AIDS activists have set the stage for new challenges to scientific authority, all social movements that seek to democratize expertise face unusual difficulties. Avoiding polemics and accusations, Epstein provides a benchmark account of the AIDS epidemic to date, one that will be as useful to activists, policy makers, and general readers as to sociologists, physicians, and scientists.

French Studies In The Philosophy Of Science

Author : Anastasios Brenner
ISBN : 9781402093685
Genre : Science
File Size : 72. 81 MB
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Having examined previous volumes of the Boston Studies series devoted to different countries, and having discussed the best way to present contemporary research in France, we have arrived at a careful selection of 15 participants, including the organizers. Our aim is to bring together philosophers and practicing scientist from the major institutions of the country, both universities and research centers. The areas of research represented here cover a wide spectrum of sciences, from mathematics and physics to the life sciences, as well as linguistics and economics. This selection is a showcase of French philosophy of science, illustrating the different methods employed: logico-linguistic analysis, rational reconstruction and historical inquiry. These participants have the ability to relate their research both to the French tradition and current discussions on the international scene. Also included is a substantial historical introduction, explaining the development of philosophy of science in France, the various schools of thought and methods as well as the major concepts and their significance.

Research Objects In Their Technological Setting

Author : Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
ISBN : 1848935846
Genre : Research
File Size : 33. 17 MB
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What kind of stuff is the world made of? What is the nature or substance of things? These are ontological questions, and they are usually answered with respect to the objects of science. The objects of technoscience tell a different story that concerns the power, promise and potential of things - not what they are but what they can be. Seventeen scholars from history and philosophy of science, epistemology, social anthropology, cultural studies and ethics each explore a research object in its technological setting, ranging from carbon to cardboard, from arctic ice cores to nuclear waste, from wetlands to GMO seeds, from fuel cells to the great Pacific garbage patch. Together they offer fascinating stories and novel analytic concepts, all the while opening up a space for reflecting on the specific character of technoscientific objects. With their promise of sustainable innovation and a technologically transformed future, these objects are highly charged with values and design expectations. By clarifying their mode of existence, we are learning to come to terms more generally with the furniture of the technoscientific world - where, for example, the 'dead matter' of classical physics is becoming the 'smart material' of emerging and converging technologies.


Author : Jennifer Gabrys
ISBN : 9781135090463
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 46. 67 MB
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From food punnets to credit cards, plastic facilitates every part of our daily lives. It has become central to processes of contemporary socio-material living. Universalised and abstracted, it is often treated as the passive object of political deliberations, or a problematic material demanding human management. But in what ways might a 'politics of plastics' deal with both its specific manifestation in particular artefacts and events, and its complex dispersed heterogeneity? Accumulation explores the vitality and complexity of plastic. This interdisciplinary collection focuses on how the presence and recalcitrance of plastic reveals the relational exchanges across human and synthetic materialities. It captures multiplicity by engaging with the processual materialities or plasticity of plastic. Through a series of themed essays on plastic materialities, plastic economies, plastic bodies and new articulations of plastic, the editors and chapter authors examine specific aspects of plastic in action. How are multiple plastic realities enacted? What are their effects? This book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, human and cultural geography, environmental studies, consumption studies, science and technology studies, design, and political theory.

The Lost Elements

Author : Marco Fontani
ISBN : 9780199383368
Genre : Science
File Size : 88. 24 MB
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The Periodic Table of Elements hasn't always looked like it does now, a well-organized chart arranged by atomic number. In the mid-nineteenth century, chemists were of the belief that the elements should be sorted by atomic weight. However, the weights of many elements were calculated incorrectly, and over time it became clear that not only did the elements need rearranging, but that the periodic table contained many gaps and omissions: there were elements yet to be discovered, and the allure of finding one had scientists rushing to fill in the blanks. Supposed "discoveries" flooded laboratories, and the debate over what did and did not belong on the periodic table reached a fever pitch. With the discovery of radioactivity, the discourse only intensified. Throughout its formation, the Periodic Table of Elements has seen false entries, good-faith errors, retractions, and dead ends. In fact, there have been more falsely proclaimed elemental discoveries throughout history than there are elements on the table as we know it today. The Lost Elements: The Periodic Table's Shadow Side collects the most notable of these instances, stretching from the nineteenth century to the present. The book tells the story of how scientists have come to understand elements, by discussing the failed theories and false discoveries that shaped the path of scientific progress. We learn of early chemists' stubborn refusal to disregard alchemy as a legitimate practice, and of one German's supposed discovery of an elemental metal that breathed. As elements began to be created artificially in the twentieth century, we watch the discovery climate shift to favor the physicists, rather than the chemists. Along the way, Fontani, Costa, and Orna introduce us to the key figures in the development of today's periodic table, including Lavoisier and Mendeleev. Featuring a preface from Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann, The Lost Elements is an expansive history of the wrong side of chemical discovery-and reveals how these errors and gaffes have helped shape the table as much as any other form of scientific progress.

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