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What Is A Chemical Element? – A Collection of Essays by Chemists, Philosophers, Historians, and Educators - Oxford Scholarship Online
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What Is A Chemical Element?: A Collection of Essays by Chemists, Philosophers, Historians, and Educators

Eric Scerri and Elena Ghibaudi

Abstract

The term “element” is typically used in two distinct senses. First it is taken to mean isolated simple substances such as the green gas chlorine or the yellow solid sulphur. In some languages, including English, it is also used to denote an underlying abstract concept that subsumes simple substances but possesses no properties as such. The allotropes and isotopes of carbon, for example, all represent elements in the sense of simple substances. However, the unique position for the element carbon in the periodic table refers to the abstract sense of “element.” The dual definition of elements pro ... More

Keywords: chemical element, substance, essence, periodic table, atomicity, elementarity, ontology, Mendeleev, Lavoisier, Paneth

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780190933784
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190933784.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eric Scerri, editor
Lecturer, UCLA

Elena Ghibaudi, editor
Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, University of Torino

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