PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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From macroscopic to microscopic: the curious case of the mole

In this paper I take a close look at the SI base quantity amount of substance, and its unit, the mole. The mole was introduced as a base unit in the SI in 1971, and there is currently a proposal to change its definition. I argue, first, that the current definition of the mole creates a certain ambiguity regarding the nature of the quantity amount of substance. I then evaluate some of the criticisms this ambiguity has prompted. Finally I look at how the new proposal affects the ontological status of amount of substance.

Author Information:

J.E. Wolff    
Department of Philosophy
The University of Hong Kong


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