The Atomic Theory: Critique of this Theory

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


We [133] have just expounded the fundamental principles of modem chemistry, and nothing in this exposition has led to the intervention of the doctrines of the atomists, either in confirmation or refutation. The original experimental laws have been taken as the basis of this science, the law of the conservation of mass, the law of definite proportions, the law of equivalent proportions and the law multiple proportions. Certain notions like those found in natural sciences are associated with these laws, the notion of chemical analogy and the notion of chemical substitution, and numerical and geometrical symbols have facilitated the expression of these notions in a form perceptible to the imagination and giving chemical classification an admirable clarity. But nothing has constrained us to pronounce on the nature of mixts, and to chose between the disciples of Epicurus and the partisans of Aristotle.


Simple Substance Chemical Analogy Ethyl Iodide Ammonium Iodide Apparent Number 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

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  • Pierre Duhem

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