Download Chemistry The Impure Science by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent PDF

By Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

This ebook makes use of heritage to introduce primary concerns within the philosophy of chemistry. Mobilizing the subject of impurity, it explores the culture of chemistry s adverse picture. It then argues for the optimistic philosophical worth of chemistry, reflecting its attribute functional engagement with the cloth international. The e-book concludes with a few moral reflections touching on chemistry s orientations within the twenty-first century.

Contents: creation: Chemistry and its Discontents; Chemistry and pollutants; The Damnation of the Alchemist; the gap of the Laboratory; facts within the Laboratory; Chemistry Creates Its item; A Duel among Conceptions of topic; Chemistry as opposed to Physics; Atoms or components; Positivism and Chemistry; Atoms as Fictions; employer and kinfolk; Taming the Nanoworld; in the direction of a dependable Chemistry.

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S. Handley (1999), J. L. Meikle (1995), S. Mossman and P. Morris (eds) (1994). D. S. L. Cardwell (1975) and Haber (1986). D. J. Rhees (1993). R. Friedel (1983). J. L. Meikle (1995) and (1997). R. Barthes (1971), pp. 171–173. L. Boltanski and E. Chiappello (2000). C. Malabou (2000), pp. 6–25. J. Meikle (1993), p. 12. J. Baudrillard (1968). K. E. Boulding (1966), pp. 3–14. qxd 9/2/2008 9:20 AM Page 33 C HAPTER 3 THE DAMNATION OF THE ALCHEMIST In the previous chapter, we used the history of chemistry to explore and explain the recent (or perhaps not so recent) crisis of confidence in chemistry.

While chemists still had to admit an essential distinction between the “organic” of organic chemistry, and the “organized” of organisms, and so leave the study of the organization and functioning of organs to anatomy and physiology, the fact that substances found in living beings were composed of the same elements and obeyed the same laws as mineral chemistry nevertheless allowed them to establish a foothold in animal and vegetable physiology. It likewise became perfectly legitimate to talk of “applied chemistry” with respect to agriculture, physiology, medicine, etc.

The twentieth century saw economic and industrial rationality raise chemistry up to its highest point, demanding the substitution of natural materials by those produced in the laboratory. This process of substitution has at one and the same time been chemistry’s greatest blessing and its most profound curse. In a sense, one can argue that pharmacy was a precursor of this industrial development, as it enjoyed its own kind of “chemical revolution” as early as the sixteenth century. It was in this period that Paracelsian pharmacists tried to add chemical remedies, often composed of metallic salts, to the range of plant and animal extracts that constituted the traditional pharmacopoeia.

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