HPS211 2013.01.24 Lecture Notes

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History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Curtis Forbes

January 24, 2013 – Lecture Notes (Thursday) The Chemical Revolution: Dalton’s Atomic Chemistry Oxygen vs. Phlogiston Chemistry - Iron rust = compound of oxygen and iron - Iron = considered to be an element can’t be broken down into further atoms - The main piece of evidence that they had was that iron ore turns into iron metal - This was the same for any sort of metal ore - So because you could account for the transition b/w an ore and its metal using phlogiston chemistry Oxygen chemistry - Interconvertibility of fixed and dephlogisticated air through combustion and respiration - Quantitative aspects of calcinations - Quantitative aspects of combustion - Differences b/w various airs - Formation of acids Phlogiston chemistry - Interconvertability of fixed and dephlogisticated air through combustion and respiration - Qualitative similarity of metals - Qualitative aspects of combustion - No anomalous acids Lavoisier’s Tools of Revolution - No crucial test between these two theories - Advocates are many ways talking past people advocating for a different paradigm - Adoption of new theories often includes ‘hey look at what we can do with this new way of thinking’ - Why was he adopted? Practices and Principles - Upheld the conversation of matter - Said he would be consistent with any sort of physical basis you could ever give chemistry - This was a virtue of this system - Enclosed reactions - Idea of a balanced chemical reaction formed - Recognition of anomalies - Most importantly measurement and quantitative analysis was the primary way of investigation (included measuring mass and volume) - In the Newtonian climate the way of quantitative bookkeeping made chemistry seem more scientific Novel Instruments - To implement his theory he introduced many new instruments to measure things and also to show off - Large, transparent apparatus (designed to show people what is going on inside) - Excessively accurate instruments (which required a lot of capital) - Indicated that he was taking his work more seriously than his contemporaries because he had more accurate measurements (which sort of indicated that he took his work more seriously) - Gasometer - Many of his followers were drawn in by the desire for a distinctly French science Linguistic Reform - Reformation of chemical language - Much of the previous knowledge had many different frameworks (different languages and practices) - Lavoisier wanted to get all of that language together while promoting a universal language system - His system was designed to be a potentially universally used system - The language he came up with actually allowed for other people to just add in new elements - Basically that language was very permissive (allowed for change/development) - Forced choice: his language forced chemists to chose between his system and the previous system - One thing that his systems lacked was a really substantial theoretical backing - These are not the makings of a full forced world view of chemistry - He didn’t come up with a new world system he came up with a new way of studying things - His techniques allowed people to investigate different elements of chemistry by non theoretical
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