Similarity and representation in chemical knowledge practices
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- Bengoetxea, J.B., Todt, O. & Luján, J.L. Found Chem (2014) 16: 215. doi:10.1007/s10698-014-9203-y
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This paper argues for the theoretical and practical validity of similarity as a useful epistemological tool in scientific knowledge generation, specifically in chemistry. Classical analyses of similarity in philosophy of science do not account for the concept’s practical significance in scientific activities. We recur to examples from chemistry to counter the claim of authors like Quine or Goodman to the effect that similarity must be excluded from scientific practices (as well as their philosophical analysis). In conclusion we argue that more recent conceptualizations of the notion of similarity, particularly Giere’s one, are appropriate for a philosophical analysis that considers scientific practices on equal terms with scientific theory.