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Implementation and Innovation in Total Synthesis

Goodwin, William (2008) Implementation and Innovation in Total Synthesis. [Preprint]

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      This paper investigates how understanding the theory of organic chemistry facilitates the total synthesis of organic compounds. After locating the philosophical significance of this question within the methodology or epistemology of applied science, I summarize the results of previous work on this issue – roughly that theoretical organic chemistry underwrites a sequence of heuristic policies that help to isolate plausible synthetic routes from the array of possibilities provided by structural or descriptive organic chemistry. While this previous work makes a solid start, it does not capture all of the ways that the theory of organic chemistry contributes to total synthesis. This paper aspires to enrich this previous work by exploring some additional ways that theory contributes. More specifically, I investigate how understanding the theory of organic chemistry can facilitate both the development of novel synthetic reactions and the implementation of a synthetic plan. The role of theory in these aspects of total synthesis will be explored by considering a particular, novel synthesis of longifolene.

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      Item Type: Preprint
      Additional Information: This article is now available at: Foundations of Chemistry, vol. 10, pp. 177-186, 2008
      Keywords: organic chemistry, total synthesis, Philosophy of applied science, Philosophy of technology, longifolene
      Subjects: General Issues > Technology
      Specific Sciences > Chemistry
      Depositing User: William Mark Goodwin
      Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008
      Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:16
      Item ID: 3899

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