By Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent
This booklet makes use of background to introduce significant concerns within the philosophy of chemistry. Mobilizing the subject matter of impurity, it explores the culture of chemistry s detrimental picture. It then argues for the optimistic philosophical worth of chemistry, reflecting its attribute sensible engagement with the cloth international. The publication concludes with a few moral reflections relating chemistry s orientations within the twenty-first century.
Contents: advent: Chemistry and its Discontents; Chemistry and toxins; The Damnation of the Alchemist; the gap of the Laboratory; evidence within the Laboratory; Chemistry Creates Its item; A Duel among Conceptions of topic; Chemistry as opposed to Physics; Atoms or components; Positivism and Chemistry; Atoms as Fictions; business enterprise and family members; Taming the Nanoworld; in the direction of a dependable Chemistry.
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Leaving aside individual advertising campaigns, the widespread adoption of synthetic materials, particularly in the production of textiles, was the principal factor behind a radical re-evaluation of these substances and the very notion of plastics. In the span of a single generation, the deficiencies of plastics — their protean adaptability in terms of properties and form, their low density, their low manufacturing costs, and even their apparent physical imperfections, like fragility, brittleness or malleability — were transformed into their greatest advantages over their “natural” rivals.
These chemicals answered to standardized norms and could be guaranteed one hundred percent pure. A product without any defects, the argument goes, should be considered superior to one made out of variable natural material, which, because of this variability, was inherently unpredictable if not unreliable. Leaving aside individual advertising campaigns, the widespread adoption of synthetic materials, particularly in the production of textiles, was the principal factor behind a radical re-evaluation of these substances and the very notion of plastics.
While such studies were being undertaken by a number of university biologists, they were still in their infancy and appeared not to be of any interest to those charged with managing the environment. Carson also wanted to attack the technological fatalism that orientated wildlife and environmental management in the United States. The philosophy behind the mass spraying of DDT and other chemicals was that scientific progress necessarily brought with it improved modern technologies that worked better than other traditional approaches, rendering its proponents blind to the potential negative effects of these modern techniques.