Philosophical Chemistry

in Inventing Chemistry

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226677606
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226677620 | DOI:
Philosophical Chemistry

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This chapter reports the Elementa Chemiae as both a synthetic and expanded version of all of Herman Boerhaave's previous chemistry courses. It explores Boerhaave's opinion of the work of three contemporary chemists—Stephen Hales on air, Georg Ernst Stahl on phlogiston, and Étienne-François Geoffroy on chemical affinity tables—as he reported in the Elementa. The Elementa was the first textbook of “philosophical chemistry,” and offered the principles of Boerhaave's chemistry. It could be seen as the culmination of his own efforts at chemical reform. Discussions on Hales, Stahl, and Geoffroy revealed Boerhaave's application of his pedagogical and methodological principles in practice as well as exhibited that he was cognizant of contemporary developments in chemistry. Boerhaave used his pedagogical method to redefine chemistry as a discipline.

Keywords: Elementa Chemiae; Herman Boerhaave; Stephen Hales; air; Georg Ernst Stahl; phlogiston; Étienne-François Geoffroy; chemical affinity; chemistry

Chapter.  12123 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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