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Journal Articles Journal for General Philosophy of Science Year : 2010

Saving Mach's view on atoms


According to a common belief concerning the Mach-Boltzmann debate on atoms, the new experiments performed in microphysics at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries confirmed Boltzmann's atomic hypothesis and disproved Mach's anti-atomic view. This paper intends to show that this belief is partially unjustified. Mach's view on atoms consists in fact of different kinds of arguments. While the new experiments in microphysics refute indeed his scientific arguments against the atomic hypothesis, his epistemological arguments are unaffected. In this regard, Mach's epistemological approach remains relevant for today's discussion on the status of the notion of atom.

Dates and versions

halshs-00792175 , version 1 (21-02-2013)



Manuel Bächtold. Saving Mach's view on atoms. Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 2010, 41 (1), pp.1-19. ⟨10.1007/s10838-009-9109-x⟩. ⟨halshs-00792175⟩
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