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Has Daltonian Atomism Provided Chemistry with Any Explanations?

Paul Needham
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 71, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2002 Biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science AssociationPart II: Symposia PapersEdited by Sandra D. Mitchell (December 2004), pp. 1038-1047
DOI: 10.1086/428008
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/428008
Page Count: 10
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Has Daltonian Atomism Provided Chemistry with Any Explanations?
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Abstract

Philosophers frequently cite Dalton’s chemical atomism, and its nineteenth century developments, as a prime example of inference to the best explanation. This was a controversial issue in its time. But the critics are dismissed as positivist‐inspired antirealists with no interest in explanation. Is this a reasonable assessment?

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