Eric Scerri explores outdated chemical concepts
This series of articles is inspired by the recent book This Idea Must Die, in which 175 leading thinkers expound on ideas, theories and concepts that they believe are unproductive and should be retired.1 Remarkably, there is not a single chemist among the authors, reinforcing the misconception that chemistry lacks any philosophical substance or profound intellectual content.
I’ve spent much of my career attempting to promote the philosophical aspects of chemistry and the value of taking a more reflective view in chemical education, so I feel compelled to make up for the deficit in the book.2-5 Over the coming months, I will discuss what I consider to be the five most obstructive and confused ideas that exist among teachers and authors of chemistry textbooks.
- This Idea Must Die, ed J Brockman, Harper Perennial, New York, 2015.
- Philosophy of Chemistry: Synthesis of a New Discipline, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, ed D Baird, E R Scerri and L McIntyre, Springer, Dordrecht, 2006, vol 242
- Philosophy of Chemistry: Growth of a New Discipline, Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, ed E R Scerri and L McIntyre, Springer, Berlin, 2015, vol 306
- E R Scerri, Collected Papers on the Philosophy of Chemistry, Imperial College Press, London, 2008
- Foundations of Chemistry