[lit-ideas] Re: Logical Corpuscularism

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2015 18:30:44 -0400

In a message dated 9/6/2015 4:05:40 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:

Popper does not think "atomism" is a true metaphysical picture of the
physical world or of W1, despite its success as a research programme>

To reverse the dictum, Boyle's Corpuscularism may be quite a degenerate
research programme (I think 'degenerate' is the Hungarian word Lakatos uses to
describe some programmes) but it has quite an appeal as a metaphysical
picture. Or so I read in the Stanford entry for "Philosophy of Chemistry":

"Lavoisier was quite clear that Boyle's corpuscular theories did nothing
to advance chemistry."

Perhaps part of the problem is that he thought billiard balls were too big
compared to corpuscules. Also from the Stanford entry:

In spite of Boyle, Hoffman liked billiard balls.

In Hofmann's models, atoms (as they were made of corpurscules) were
coloured billiard balls (Hoffman used black for carbon, white for hydrogen, red

for oxygen, and so on for all the other combos of corpuscules into atoms)

Furthermore, Hoffman linked these atoms (composed of corpuscules) by bonds.

Even though they are, for Hoffman, realised by concrete three-dimensional
structures of billiard balls and connecting arms, the three-dimensionality
of these models he knew was "artificial" -- "and bad art at that," he added
as a joke.

The medium itself forced the representations of atoms (composed of
corpuscules) to be spread out in space. But did this correspond to chemical

What _is_ chemical reality? Is it deterministic in nature?


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