PhilSci Archive

Causal Explanation and the Periodic Table

Ross, Lauren N. (2017) Causal Explanation and the Periodic Table. [Preprint]

This is the latest version of this item.

[img]
Preview
Text
FCS_rev_2.pdf

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

The periodic table represents and organizes all known chemical elements on the basis of their properties. While the importance of this table in chemistry is uncontroversial, the role that it plays in scientific reasoning remains heavily disputed. Many philosophers deny the explanatory role of the table and insist that it is “merely” classificatory (Shapere, 1977, 534-5) (Scerri, 1997a, 239). In particular, it has been claimed that the table does not figure in causal explanation because it “does not reveal causal structure” (Woody, 2014, 143). This paper provides an analysis of what it means to say that a scientific figure reveals causal structure and it argues that the modern periodic table does just this. It also clarifies why these “merely” classificatory claims have seemed so compelling–this is because these claims often focus on the earliest periodic tables, which lack the causal structure present in modern versions.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ross, Lauren N.rossl@uci.edu
Keywords: Causation, Scientific Explanation, Philosophy of Chemistry, Classification
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Lauren N. Ross
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 13:46
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2018 13:46
Item ID: 15082
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 25 July 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15082

Available Versions of this Item

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item