more from Robin F. Hendry

Single Idea 17482

[catalogued under 27. Natural Reality / F. Chemistry / 1. Chemistry]

Full Idea

The distinctness of the isomers ethanol (CH3CH2OH, boiling at 78.4°) and dimethyl ether (CH3OCH3, boiling at -24.9°) must lie in their different molecular structures. ...But structure has continuously varying quantities, like bond length and angle.


The each have the same number of C, H and O atoms

Gist of Idea

Compounds can differ with the same collection of atoms, so structure matters too


Robin F. Hendry (Chemistry [2008], 'Micro')

Book Reference

'Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science', ed/tr. Psillos,S/Curd,M [Routledge 2010], p.523

A Reaction

[compressed] This seems to imply that what matters is an idealised abstraction of the structure (i.e. its topology), which is a reason for denying that chemistry is reducible to mere physics.

Related Idea

Idea 15263 Chemistry is not purely structural; CO2 is not the same as SO2 [Harré/Madden]