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The Conceptual Structure of the Chemical Revolution

Paul Thagard
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 57, No. 2 (Jun., 1990), pp. 183-209
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/187831
Page Count: 27
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The Conceptual Structure of the Chemical Revolution
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Abstract

This paper investigates the revolutionary conceptual changes that took place when the phlogiston theory of Stahl was replaced by the oxygen theory of Lavoisier. Using techniques drawn from artificial intelligence, it represents the crucial stages in Lavoisier's conceptual development from 1772 to 1789. It then sketches a computational theory of conceptual change to account for Lavoisier's discovery of the oxygen theory and for the replacement of the phlogiston theory.

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