Chemistry: The Impure Science by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

By Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

What do you go along with chemistry? Explosions, leading edge fabrics, plastics, pollutants? The public's burdened and contradictory belief of chemistry as uncomplicated technology, commercial manufacturer and polluter contributes to what we found in this ebook as chemistry's photograph as an impure technological know-how. traditionally, chemistry has constantly been considered as impure either by way of its educational prestige and its function in remodeling sleek society. whereas exploring the heritage of this technological know-how we argue for a attribute philosophical procedure that distinguishes chemistry from physics. This mirrored image leads us to a philosophical stance that we characterise as operational realism. during this new improved version we delve deeper into the questions of homes and potentials which are so very important for this philosophy that's in keeping with the manipulation of subject instead of the development of theories.

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Petroski (1992). S. L. Meikle (1995), S. Mossman and P. Morris (eds) (1994). L. Cardwell (1975) and Haber (1986). J. Rhees (1993). R. Friedel (1983). L. Meikle (1995) and (1997). R. Barthes (1971), pp. 171–173. L. Boltanski and E. Chiappello (2000). C. Malabou (2000), pp. 6–25. J. Meikle (1993), p. 12. J. Baudrillard (1968), p. 204. E. Boulding (1966), pp. 3–14. qxd 5/19/2012 7:16 PM Page 33 b1343 Chemistry: The Impure Science C HAPTER 3 THE DAMNATION OF THE ALCHEMIST In the previous chapter we used the history of chemistry to explore and explain the recent (or perhaps not so recent) crisis of confidence in chemistry.

Carson argued that the problem of modern chemical profligacy was not any particular malevolence on the part of the chemical industrialists (despite what some conspiracy theorists might have thought), but their rank ignorance concerning the potentially harmful consequences of the widespread dissemination of their products. This ignorance, which was linked to a public display of unbounded optimism, duped the population into thinking that those responsible for such practices knew what they were doing and were capable of foreseeing and averting any negative effects.

Without a true knowledge of the properties that flow from the essence of any given species of metal, the alchemists cannot hope to transform it in any way. Thus, beyond the suspicion of charlatanism or downright dishonesty concerning the alchemists’ alleged transformations, Avicenna had good theoretical reasons for refusing to believe that there could be any genuine gold apart from the naturally occurring kind and so for dismissing alchemical gold on principle. 6 Interestingly, Sciant artifices became a standard text not only for condemning the art of the alchemists but also for attacking the pretensions of a range of other arts.

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