Hasok Chang

Hasok Chang
University of Cambridge | Cam · Department of History and Philosophy of Science

About

119
Publications
25,833
Reads
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2,000
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - present
University of Cambridge
Position
  • Hans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science
January 1995 - August 2010
University College London
Position
  • Professor of Philosophy of Science
September 1989 - July 1993
Stanford University
Position
  • PhD

Publications

Publications (119)
Article
Full-text available
Building on my previous writings on presentism, pluralism, and “complementary science”, I develop an activist view of historiography. I begin by recognizing the inevitability of presentism. Our own purposes and perspectives do and should guide the production of our accounts of the past; like funerals, history-writing is for the living. There are di...
Article
We present a critical discussion of how chemistry textbooks treat the electrolysis of water and aqueous salt solutions, based on a survey of general chemistry textbooks in English and Korean at secondary and tertiary levels, also informed by the historical background of 19th-century debates. English-language textbooks present various and contradict...
Chapter
In this book the diverse objects of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science's internationally renowned collection are brought into sharp relief by a number of highly regarded historians of science in fourteen essays. Each chapter focuses on a specific instrument or group of objects, ranging from an English medieval astrolabe to a modern agricu...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we consider the problem of how to measure the strength of statistical evidence from the perspective of evidence amalgamation operations. We begin with a fundamental measurement amalgamation principle (MAP): for any measurement, the inputs and outputs of an amalgamation procedure must be on the same scale, and this scale must have a me...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the tight historical links between science and philosophy, present-day scientists often perceive philosophy as completely different from, and even antagonistic to, science. We argue here that, to the contrary, philosophy can have an important and productive impact on science. We illustrate our point with three examples taken from various fi...
Article
Full-text available
A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.
Article
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Article
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Attention to the history of chemistry can help us recognise the characteristics of chemistry that have helped to maintain it as a separate scientific discipline with a unique identity. Three such features are highlighted in this paper. First, chemistry has maintained a distinct type of theoretical thinking, independent from that of physics even in...
Article
This paper provides an account of early historical developments in the characterization and quantification of acidity, which may be considered preliminary steps leading to the measurement of acidity. In this “pre-history” of acidity measurement, emphasis is laid on the relative independence of the rich empirical knowledge about acids from theories...
Article
This special issue consists of selected papers arising from the interdisciplinary conference “The Making of Measurement“ held at the University of Cambridge on 23-24 July 2015. In this introduction, we seek ways to further productive interactions among historical, philosophical, and sociological approaches to the study of measurement without attemp...
Article
In this paper I seek to defend an epistemology that does not confine itself to the knowledge of propositions. The first section motivates this move, especially from the standpoint of the philosophy of science. The second section presents the notion of operational coherence as the key to understanding how knowledge resides in activities. The third s...
Article
In this paper I seek to defend an epistemology that does not confine itself to the knowledge of propositions. The first section motivates this move, especially from the standpoint of the philosophy of science. The second section presents the notion of operational coherence as the key to understanding how knowledge resides in activities. The third s...
Article
This paper provides an account of early historical developments in the characterization and quantification of acidity, which may be considered preliminary steps leading to the measurement of acidity. In this “pre-history” of acidity measurement, emphasis is laid on the relative independence of the rich empirical knowledge about acids from theories...
Article
Introduction to Synthese SI: Systematicity: The Nature of Science?
Article
Full-text available
En este trabajo intento articular y desarrollar la defensa que Roberto Torretti hace del realismo pragmático. En el núcleo de la visión de Torretti existe un rechazo a la idea de que la verdad de las teorías científicas consista en su correspondencia con el mundo. Propongo entonces entender la correspondencia como una noción metafórica. Articularé...
Article
There is much potential in Frans van Lunteren’s schema of using certain important machines as focal points for characterizing large-scale trends in scientific development. However, there are difficulties with the periodization of history he proposes, particularly with regard to the periods focused around the balance and the steam engine; these mach...
Article
The history of science has many functions. Historians should consider how their work contributes to various functions, going beyond a simple desire to understand the past correctly. There are both internal and external functions of the history of science in relation to science itself; I focus here on the internal, as they tend to be neglected these...
Chapter
SCIENTIFIC REALISM Is a philosophical issue with relevance to all sciences, but there are some particularly interesting and distinctive ways in which it has manifested itself in chemistry. Paying proper attention to such aspects will deliver two types of benefits: First, it will aid the philosophical understanding of the nature of chemical knowledg...
Article
Full-text available
Do sensory measurements deserve the label of " measurement " ? We argue that they do. They fit with an epistemological view of measurement held in current philosophy of science, and they face the same kinds of epistemological challenges as physical measurements do: the problem of coordination and the problem of standardization. These problems are a...
Chapter
The relationship between physics and chemistry is one of the perennial foundational issues in the philosophy of chemistry. It concerns the very existence and identity of chemistry as an independent scientific discipline. Chemistry is also the most immediate territory that physics must conquer if its “imperialistic” claim to be the foundation for al...
Article
I respond to the critical comments by Martin Kusch and Ursula Klein on my account of the Chemical Revolution. I comment along three different lines: descriptive, explanatory, and normative. (1) I agree with Klein that Lavoisier did not introduce drastic changes in chemical ontology, but maintain that there was methodological incommensurability in t...
Chapter
This article discusses some of the significant themes in the development of thermal physics up to the establishment of classical thermodynamics. It begins with a review of the scientific study of heat, focusing on developments in the areas of thermometry and calorimetry. It then considers work on specific and latent heats, including those of Joseph...
Chapter
http://www.cambridgescholars.com/the-philosophy-of-chemistry-14
Article
http://www.antiochne.edu/wholeterrain/issue_20_heresy/
Article
Traduction de Hasok Chang, "Complementary Chemistry"
Article
Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) was a notable theologian, philosopher and chemist of the Enlightenment era. He was a prominent figure in the dissenting circles of provincial England, spending significant phases of his life in Leeds and Birmingham. He entered science with a historical project on electricity, and gained international fame with his work...
Article
Acidity provides an interesting example of an everyday concept that developed fully into a scientific one; it is one of the oldest concepts in chemistry and remains an important one. However, up to now there has been no unity to it. Currently two standard theoretical definitions coexist (Brønsted and Lowry’s and Lewis’s); the standard laboratory me...
Chapter
It was through the Chemical Revolution of the late eighteenth century that water first came to be recognized as a compound, having been considered an element since ancient times. In this chapter I offer a revisionist account of that momentous event. A systematic appraisal shows that the old phlogistonist system of chemistry was not clearly inferior...
Chapter
However one might assess the arguments about the nature of water in the Chemical Revolution (Chap. 1), it may seem that the electrolysis of water (first performed in 1800) must have produced decisive evidence that it was a compound substance. But electrolysis came with a serious puzzle: if the action of electricity was breaking up each particle of...
Chapter
Water served as an emblematic locus for debates on the atomic constitution of matter. Today it is taken as common sense that water is H2O, but this was a highly disputed hypothesis for the first half-century of atomic chemistry. In Dalton’s original formulation of the atomic theory published in 1808 water was presented as HO, and consensus on the H...
Chapter
In this chapter I present a sustained and systematic defence of pluralism in science, building on various hints from earlier chapters. I define my position as “active normative epistemic pluralism”. Based on the recognition of the benefits of having multiple systems of practice in each field of study, pluralism as I intend it is an active stance co...
Chapter
Is water really H2O? Did that become a secure piece of scientific knowledge by the 1860s, after the developments that were discussed in the first three chapters of this book? I conclude that water is H2O, but also other things, really. Inspired by the history of water, I take a new approach to the debate on scientific realism, which argues that rea...
Chapter
http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415808552/
Book
http://www.springer.com/philosophy/history+of+science/book/978-94-007-3931-4
Chapter
What is the use of the history of science? Or more broadly, of the history, the philosophy, and the sociology of science, technology, and medicine? Over 20 years ago John Heilbron formally exhorted the members and the leadership of four major professional societies to take this question seriously, to consider what “applied history of science” could...
Chapter
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444516756500049
Chapter
This chapter advances a contextual view of evidence, through a reconsideration of Hempel's paradox of confirmation (the 'ravens paradox'). The initial view regarding Hempel's paradox is that a non-black non-raven does confirm 'All ravens are black', but only in certain contexts. The chapter begins by reformulating the paradox as a puzzle about how...
Article
Why do some epistemic objects persist despite undergoing serious changes, while others go extinct in similar situations? Scientists have often been careless in deciding which epistemic objects to retain and which ones to eliminate; historians and philosophers of science have been on the whole much too unreflective in accepting the scientists’ decis...
Article
Full-text available
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13194-011-0036-4
Article
I seek to provide a systematic and comprehensive framework for the description and analysis of scientific practice—a philosophical grammar of scientific practice, ‘grammar’ as meant by the later Wittgenstein. I begin with the recognition that all scientific work, including pure theorizing, consists of actions, of the physical, mental, and ‘paper-an...
Article
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/search/article?option1=tka&value1=Compositionism+as+a+Dominant+Way+of+Knowing+in+Modern+Chemistry&pageSize=10&index=1
Article
I advance some novel arguments for the use of historical experiments in science education. After distinguishing three different types of historical experiments and their general purposes, I define complementary experiments, which can recover lost scientific knowledge and extend what has been recovered. Complementary experiments can help science edu...
Article
http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/174582311X13008456751189?journalCode=amb
Chapter
What can we conclude from a mere handful of case studies? The field of HPS has witnessed too many hasty philosophical generalizations based on a small number of conveniently chosen case studies. One might even speculate that dissatisfaction with such methodological shoddiness contributed decisively to a widespread disillusionment with the whole HPS...
Article
Full-text available
Historians often feel that standard philosophical doctrines about the nature and development of science are not adequate for representing the real history of science. However, when philosophers of science fail to make sense of certain historical events, it is also possible that there is something wrong with the standard historical descriptions of t...
Chapter
Full-text available
http://www.prometheusbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1963&zenid=pvh5q8qree4una51pukvoks5u1
Chapter
Full-text available
http://www.prometheusbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1963&zenid=pvh5q8qree4una51pukvoks5u1
Article
If whiggism involves judging past scientific theories according to our modern standards, not many people have been properly whiggish about the Chemical Revolution. From a modern perspective, Lavoisier's theory is just as wrong as advanced versions of the phlogiston theory. Three of the central pillars of Lavoisier's system are clearly at odds with...
Article
Online, published in July 2009. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/operationalism
Article
If chemical elements were people, chlorine would be a celebrity. Although intrinsically no more or less important than any other element, chlorine has had a knack of making headlines. The genre of "object biography" has been quite successful in popular science recently. We took this opportunity to write a "biographical" study of chlorine. Chlorine'...
Chapter
http://www.upress.pitt.edu/BookDetails.aspx?bookId=35989
Article
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=2457760&fileId=S1358246108000076
Article
Full-text available
Around 1800, many reputable scientists reported significant variations in the temperature of pure water boiling under normal atmospheric pressure. The reported variations included a difference of over 1 degree C between boiling in metallic and glass vessels (Gay-Lussac), and "superheating" up to 112 degrees C on extracting dissolved air out of wate...
Chapter
http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415518758/
Article
Full-text available
http://essential.metapress.com/content/m6548253280j1x31/
Article
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0498.2008.00092.x/abstract
Article
Scientific progress remains one of the most significant issues in the philosophy of science today. This is not only because of the intrinsic importance of the topic, but also because of its immense difficulty. In what sense exactly does science makes progress, and how is it that scientists are apparently able to achieve it better than people in oth...
Article
Every schoolchild learns that, under standard pressure, pure water always boils at 100 degrees C. Except that it does not. By the late 18th century, pioneering scientists had already discovered great variations in the boiling temperature of water under fixed pressure. So, why have most of us been taught that the boiling point of water is constant?...
Article
We continue our discussion of the competing arguments in favour of the unified theory and the pluralistic theory of radiation advanced by three nineteenth-century pioneers: Herschel, Melloni, and Draper. Our narrative is structured by a consideration of the epistemic criteria relevant to theory-choice; the epistemic focus highlights many little-kno...
Article
Full-text available
I develop a concept of observability that pertains to qualities rather than objects: a quality is observable if it can be registered by human sensation (possibly with the aid of instruments) without involving optional interpretations. This concept supports a better description of observations in science and everyday life than the object-based obser...
Article
Hardly any ontological result of modern science is more firmly established than the fact that infrared radiation differs from light only in wavelength; this is part of the modern conception of the continuous spectrum of electromagnetic radiation reaching from radio waves to gamma radiation. Yet, like many such evident truths, the light-infrared uni...
Article
Full-text available
I describe here an ongoing pilot project aimed at a full integration of teaching and research at the undergraduate level. Our chief innovation is the mechanism of inheritance: each year students receive a body of work produced by the previous group of students and make improvements and additions to it; this process can be repeated until publishable...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we give a full account of the work of William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) on absolute temperature, which to this day provides the theoretical underpinnings for the most rigorous measurements of temperature. When Thomson fashioned his concepts of 'absolute' temperature, his main concern was to make the definition of temperature independent o...
Book
What is temperature, and how can we measure it correctly? These may seem like simple questions, but the most renowned scientists struggled with them throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. In Inventing Temperature , Chang examines how scientists first created thermometers; how they measured temperature beyond the reach of standard thermometers; and...
Article
Full-text available
A popular and plausible response against Laudan's “pessimistic induction” has been what I call “preservative realism,” which argues that there have actually been enough elements of scientific knowledge preserved through major theory-change processes, and that those elements can be accepted realistically. This paper argues against preservative reali...
Article
http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/synchrony-and-simultaneity
Chapter
http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/l-ottocento-fisica-la-fisica-dei-fenomeni-termici_%28Storia-della-Scienza%29/
Article
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1355219802000126
Article
In this paper I examine the debate regarding the positive reality of cold: whether it is merely an absence of heat, or a quality or entity in its own right. Marc-Auguste Pictet stimulated this debate by showing that radiation from a cold object apparently could be focused by concave mirrors to cool another object some distance away from it. Pictet...

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