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Dalton’s Chemical Atoms versus Duhem’s Chemical Equivalents

Karen R. Zwier
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 78, No. 5 (December 2011), pp. 842-853
DOI: 10.1086/662284
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662284
Page Count: 12
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Dalton’s Chemical Atoms versus Duhem’s Chemical Equivalents
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Abstract

Paul Needham has claimed in several recent papers that Dalton’s chemical atomism was not explanatory. I respond to his criticism of Dalton by arguing that explanation admits of degrees and that under a view that allows for a spectrum of explanatory value, it is possible to see ample worth in Dalton’s atomistic explanations. Furthermore, I argue that even Duhem, who rejected atomism, acknowledged the explanatory worth of Dalton’s atomism.

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