Discuss the claim, in the history of Chemistry, that some knowledge is discovered, and others invented.

Essay by jonkatHigh School, 11th gradeA, August 2009

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The periodic table is now ubiquitous within the academic discipline of chemistry, providing an extremely useful framework to classify, systematize and compare all of the many different forms of chemical behavior. Created by Dmitri Mendeleev , it adheres to certain trends such as increasing atomic weight , physical properties , chemical properties. From the above facts , one can note that the periodic table was indeed a human invention made for use by humans, however, there is no doubt that the elements were discovered.

Within the Periodic table inductive reasoning - using specific information to infer a general theory or law is definitely present, the ability to postulate new conclusions , new information from a set of empirical data is seen in Mendeleev’s ability to predict the presence of undiscovered elements by using the consecutive trends of elements in the periodic table as a benchmark to induce characteristics based on earlier observations of similarly grouped elements.

An example of inductive reasoning would be that because 3 elements in period 4 have one more atom than the one before, the number of other undiscovered elements between iron (26) and zinc(30) is 3 and their atomic masses are 27 ,28 and 29. This was instrumental in differentiating Mendeleev’s version of the periodic table against John Newlands’s and Lothar Meyer’s versions which both did not leave spaces nor have a system to predict new elements. One can note that this knowledge was first invented before being discovered.

Deductive knowledge, while similar to inductive knowledge in the fact that they both require pre-existing knowledge as a basis to work upon is different as it begins with a general premise, rule which one then uses to make conclusions about something specific. For example, from experience Mendeleev notes that the general premise is that all elements...