Mixts According to the Atomists and According to the Peripatetics

  • Pierre Duhem
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 223)


Throw [11] a little sugar into a glass of water. After a short time, the solid, white crystalline body which constitutes the sugar has disappeared. The glass contains no more than a homogeneous liquid, transparent like water, but with a different taste. What is this liquid? The vulgar call it sugared water. The chemist says that it is a solution of sugar in water. These two descriptions correspond to two essentially distinct opinions.


Chemical Combination Sugared Water Homogeneous Liquid Mere Appearance Rough Particle 
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  1. 1.
    Duhem’s substantive mixte is consistently translated with the old chemical term “mixt.”]Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Duhem’s substantive mélange is consistently translated as “mixture.”]Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lucretius, De rerum natura,lib. Il, vers. 390–476Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    lines 464–477, translated by Cyril Bailey as follows: `But because you see that some things which are fluid, are also bitter, as is the brine of the sea, it should be no wonder.Chrw(133) For because it is fluid, it is of smooth and round particles, and many rugged painful bodies are mingled in it; and yet it must needs be that they are not hooked and held together: you must know that they are nevertheless spherical, though rugged, so that they can roll on together and hurt the senses. And that you may the more think that rough are mingled with smooth first-beginnings, from which is made the bitter body of the sea-god, there is a way of sundering them and seeing how, apart from the rest, the fresh water, when it trickles many a time through the earth, flows into a trench and loses its harshness; for it leaves behind up above the first-beginnings of its sickly saltness, since the rough particles can more readily stick in the earth.“ Titi Lucreti Cari De rerum natura libri sex,edited with prolegomena, critical apparatus, translation, and commentary by Cyril Bailey, m 1947 Clarendon Press, Oxford; p. 261. Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.]Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Aristotle, Ilept yevéaetaç xa1 O6opàç [De generation et corruption],Bk. I, chap. x.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

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  • Pierre Duhem

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