Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Philosophy Wire: I "see" chemical bonds <> I interpret an image

gross4HRPhilosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2012-09-18]: A pioneering team from IBM in Zurich has published single-molecule images so detailed that the type of atomic bonds between their atoms can be discerned. [source: BBC News] Before being ecstatic about such announcements, one should always be a little careful. What is that we actually "see" ? Surely the image I post above, but what "IS" that image? The only way to securely describe what we see is to claim that "we see what we see". Nothing more. There are no "bonds" in there, no "molecules". We have created those notions with our modern chemistry and we will "destroy" them as soon as a new chemistry (possibly one not including molecules and bonds at all, but only chords) will arise. Interpreting is not "seeing"...
 
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