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If you can spray phlogiston, is it real?

How should we understand understand historical cases of scientists thinking they were directly manipulating entities which modern science considers nonexistent? Hasok Chang explores.

Event description

In the first of three guest-curated talks by Michela Massimi, Hasok Chang discusses how we should understand cases from the history of science in which scientists were confident that they were directly manipulating entities which modern science considers nonexistent. The chemistry of “phlogiston” from the 18th century provides an excellent example.This event is generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust international network 'Kant and the Laws of Nature'

About the speaker

Hasok Chang is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, particularly focussing on the history and philosophy of chemistry and physics from the 18th century onward as well as the philosophy of scientific practice.

Guest curator

This event is part of a series of talks exploring the laws of nature in the physical and the life sciences, curated by Michela Massimi. She is an expert in Kant, and the intersection between contemporary philosophical problems and scientific practice. 

Others in the series are:

Please note that each event is stand-alone so you can attend as many as you wish.