Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Macroscopic Objects: An Exercise in Duhemian Ontology

Paul Needham
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 205-224
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188470
Page Count: 20
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Macroscopic Objects: An Exercise in Duhemian Ontology
Preview not available

Abstract

Aristotelian ideas are presented in a favorable light in Duhem's historical works surveying the history of the notion of chemical combination (1902) and the development of mechanics (1903). The importance Duhem was later to ascribe to Aristotelian ideas as reflected in the weight he attached to medieval science is well known. But the Aristotelian influence on his own mature philosophical perspective, and more particularly on his concern for logical coherence and the development of his ontological views, is not generally acknowledged. There are, however, clear pointers in this direction in these two earlier books on the history of science, which are unashamedly written in such a way as to project the author's own view of what is important in the relevant areas. Thermodynamics was the pinnacle of Duhemian science, and its interpretation requires the reinstatement, in Duhem's view, of Aristotelian conceptions which have been unfashionable since the rise of certain ideas with the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. The present paper is not primarily an exposition of these Aristotelian views of Duhem's, but an attempt to pursue the interpretation of a macroscopic, thermodynamical perspective on chemical substances from an elementary viewpoint in the spirit of Duhem (1902), sometimes being more definite than Duhem seems to be, and occasionally taking issue with him on certain points. Some of his leading ideas will determine the general approach, but views and problems will also be taken from modern textbooks in an attempt to lay down the general lines along which an explicit ontology--in Quine's sense--of macroscopic theory might be developed.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
205
    205
  • Thumbnail: Page 
206
    206
  • Thumbnail: Page 
207
    207
  • Thumbnail: Page 
208
    208
  • Thumbnail: Page 
209
    209
  • Thumbnail: Page 
210
    210
  • Thumbnail: Page 
211
    211
  • Thumbnail: Page 
212
    212
  • Thumbnail: Page 
213
    213
  • Thumbnail: Page 
214
    214
  • Thumbnail: Page 
215
    215
  • Thumbnail: Page 
216
    216
  • Thumbnail: Page 
217
    217
  • Thumbnail: Page 
218
    218
  • Thumbnail: Page 
219
    219
  • Thumbnail: Page 
220
    220
  • Thumbnail: Page 
221
    221
  • Thumbnail: Page 
222
    222
  • Thumbnail: Page 
223
    223
  • Thumbnail: Page 
224
    224