•  63
    Kuhn and the Chemical Revolution: a re-assessment (review)
    Foundations of Chemistry 15 (1): 93-101. 2011.
    A recent paper by Hoyningen-Huene argues that the Chemical Revolution is an excellent example of the success of Kuhn’s theory. This paper gives a succinct account of some counter-arguments and briefly refers to some further existing counter-arguments. While Kuhn’s theory does have a small number of more or less successful elements, it has been widely recognised that in general Kuhn’s theory is a “preformed and relatively inflexible framework” (1962, p. 24) which does not fit particular historica…Read more
  •  51
    Theory comparison and choice in chemistry, 1766–1791
    Foundations of Chemistry 20 (3): 169-189. 2017.
    This is the second of a pair of papers, of which the first showed how each of the main late phlogistic theories effectively reached impasses due to internal problems or included features which made them unacceptable even to other phlogistians. This paper deals with theory comparison and theory change. It gives an unprecedentedly detailed comparison between the available theories in 1790–1791, and shows that this was overwhelmingly in favour of the new chemistry. This time period correlates well …Read more
  •  41
    The development of problems within the phlogiston theories, 1766–1791
    Foundations of Chemistry 19 (3): 241-280. 2017.
    This is the first of a pair of papers. It focuses on the development of the most notable phlogistic theories during the period 1766–1791, including the main experiments that their proponents proposed them to interpret. There was a rapid proliferation of late phlogistic theories, particularly from 1784, and the accounts of composition and important implications of the main theories are set out and their issues analysed. Each of them either reached impasses due to internal problems, or included fe…Read more
  •  29
    On Lavoisier's Achievement in Chemistry
    Centaurus 55 (1): 20-47. 2013.
  •  26
    How do we refer to chemical substances, and in particular to chemical elements? This question relates to many philosophical questions, including whether or not theories are incommensurable, the extent to which past theories are later discarded, and issues about scientific realism. This chapter considers the first explicit reference to types of colorless air in late-eighteenth-century chemical practice. Reference to a gas by one chemist was generally intended to give others epistemological, metho…Read more
  •  17
    ArgumentDuring the two decades before the turning point in Copernicus's personal and scientific development in 1510, he had experience of political activity which has been largely ignored by the existing Copernicus literature but part of which is reconstructed in outline in this paper. Given the close linkage between politics and astrology, Copernicus's likely reaction to astrology is re-examined here. This reconstruction also suggests that the turning point in 1510, when Copernicus left his pos…Read more
  •  15
    Priestley’s views on the composition of water and related airs
    Foundations of Chemistry 21 (2): 147-178. 2018.
    In some views in the history, philosophy and social studies of chemistry, Joseph Priestley is at least as well-known and cited for his objections to the new chemistry and his promotion of his own late version of the theory of phlogiston, as for his early series of discoveries about types of air for which he had become famous. These citations are generally not associated with any detailed indications about his late work from 1788 onwards and his late phlogistic theory, of which there has not been…Read more
  •  12
    ArgumentThe main thesis of this paper is that Copernicus's avoidance of all admission that scripture was contravened inDe revolutionibusand his composition of its new Preface in 1542, as well as the non-publication of Rheticus'sTreatise on Holy Scripture and the Motion of the Earth, were influenced by the early information they received on the failure of the 1541 Regensburg Protestant-Catholic colloquy, among the major consequences of which were significant increases in the problems concerning p…Read more