Departmental Papers (Philosophy)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

12-2008

Publication Source

Philosophy of Science

Volume

75

Issue

5

Start Page

932

Last Page

946

DOI

10.1086/594536

Abstract

The covalent bond, a difficult concept to define precisely, plays a central role in chemical predictions, interventions, and explanations. I investigate the structural conception of the covalent bond, which says that bonding is a directional, submolecular region of electron density, located between individual atomic centers and responsible for holding the atoms together. Several approaches to constructing molecular models are considered in order to determine which features of the structural conception of bonding, if any, are robust across these models. Key components of the structural conception are absent in all but the simplest quantum mechanical models of molecular structure, seriously challenging the conception’s viability.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2008 by Philosophy of Science Association.

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Date Posted: 04 December 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.