Arguing towards truth: The case of the periodic table

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Recently Erik Scerri has published an influential philosophical history of the development of the Periodic Table. Following Scerri's account, I will explore the main thread of the arguments responsible for the remarkable advancement of scientific understanding that the Periodic Table represents. I will argue that the history of disputation at crucial junctures in the debate shows sensitivity to the aspects of truth that are captured by my model of truth in inquiry. The availability of a clear and explicit model of truth in inquiry is of crucial importance as a response to post-modernist and other relativistic accounts of inquiry. It shows that despite such apparent sociological constraints as acceptability a robust theory of truth is available as a foundation for evaluating argumentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Argumentation
  • Formal model
  • Periodic table
  • Science
  • Truth


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