Crítica, Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, Volume 48, number 144, diciembre 2016
El problema de las clases naturales en química: algunas dificultades para el microestructuralismo
[The Problem of Natural Kinds in Chemistry: Challenges to Microstructuralism]
Juan Camilo Martínez González
Mariana Córdoba
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Abstract: Our purpose is to subvert the traditional analysis of the problem of natural kinds in philosophy of science, which will be analyzed from a synchronic perspective and focusing on chemistry. Three problems of essentialist microstructuralism in chemistry will be considered: (1) the atomic number is insufficient as an essential property and criterion, (2) quantum mechanics cannot account for molecular shape and, hence, for important macroscopic properties of substances, (3) it is not possible to define relevant properties, as acidity, from microscopic ones. We will argue it is convenient to maintain the notion of natural kind, though, but it can be redefined from the perspective of active realism and ideological pluralism proposed by Hasok Chang. This approach allows us to think that classifications must not be considered from an essentialist approach, but they are not arbitrary or merely conventional either, since reality can make a classification system fail and make another one work.
Keywords: microstructuralism, atomic number, molecular shape, acids, pluralism

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