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Hasok Chang on the Nature of Acids

Scerri, Eric (2022) Hasok Chang on the Nature of Acids. [Preprint]

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Abstract

For a period of several years the philosopher of science Hasok Chang has promoted various inter-related views including pluralism, pragmatism, and an associated view of natural kinds.

He has also argued for what he calls the persistence of everyday terms in the scientific view.
Chang claims that terms like phlogiston were never truly abandoned but became transformed into different concepts that remain useful. On the other hand, Chang argues that some scientific terms such as acidity have suffered a form of “rupture”, especially in the case of the
modern Lewis definition of acids. Chang also complains that the degree of acidity of a Lewis acid cannot be measured using a pH meter and seems to regard this as a serious problem.

The present paper examines some of these views, especially what Chang claims to be a rupture in the definition of acidity. It is suggested that there has been no such rupture but a genuine generalization, on moving from the Bronsted-Lowry theory to the Lewis theory of
acidity. It will be shown how the quantification and measurement of Lewis acidity can easily be
realized through the use of equilibrium theory and the use of stability constants.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Scerri, Ericscerri@chem.ucla.edu
Keywords: acidity, natural kinds, pH, G.N.Lewis, chemical bonding, thermodynamic activity
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
Depositing User: Eric Scerri
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 15:58
Last Modified: 06 May 2022 15:58
Item ID: 20554
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
Date: 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20554

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