La Chimie de Homberg: Une vérité certaine dans une physique contestable

in Early Science and Medicine
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.

Help

 

Have Institutional Access?

Login with your institution. Any other coaching guidance?

Connect

Abstract

This paper aims to provide an account of Homberg's definition of chemistry as given in the first part of his "Essays de chimie" (1702). We show that his definition inverts the respective status traditionally assigned to chemistry and physics, which allows Homberg to establish chemistry as a science in its own right. For Homberg, chemistry alone is true, whereas physical explanations, though plausible, remain uncertain. Yet, in his chemical writings, Homberg did not hesitate to make use of physical principles in order to account for chemical phenomena. But the paradox is only apparent, because for Homberg, the use of physical principles amounted to providing an intelligible model for chemical phenomena, which would otherwise seem to be inconceivable (e.g. the transformation of mercury into gold). If such phenomena can be physically accounted for (by using figures and movements of corpuscles), we may be certain that they are real and not an experimental illusion. It is this view that implies the aforementioned inversion of status: whether physics is true is a moot question, because the only veritable science of matter is chemistry.

Sections
Index Card
Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 32 28 0
Full Text Views 49 49 1
PDF Downloads 14 14 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0