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Ideal Reaction Types and the Reactions of Real Alloys

Jeffry L. Ramsey
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1994, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1994), pp. 149-159
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/193020
Page Count: 11
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Ideal Reaction Types and the Reactions of Real Alloys
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Abstract

Research on the oxidation of alloys supports the claim that natural scientists can and do use ideal type concepts when confronted with analytical or computational intractability. In opposition to those who collapse ideal types into 'standard' theoretical concepts, I argue ideal types possess a unique structure, function and axiology. In phenomenologically complex situations, scientists use these features to articulate experiment with theory generally and in particular to discover new boundary conditions. This conceptual articulation is achieved using models rather than objective perceptual attributes alone. The analysis supports a claim of local rather than global identities of methodology.

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