Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Teaching Officers

Hasok Chang

Hasok Chang

Hans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science

Research interests: history and philosophy of chemistry and physics from the 18th century onward; philosophy of scientific practice; other topics in the philosophy of science, including measurement, realism, evidence, pluralism and pragmatism.

Professional service and academic networks

Selected recent publications

  • Is Water H2O? Evidence, Pluralism and Realism, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht: Springer, 2012.
  • Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress. Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Science. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Editor, with Catherine Jackson, An Element of Controversy: the Life of Chlorine in Science, Medicine, Technology and War, BSHS Monographs, No. 13. British Society for the History of Science, 2007. A collection of studies by undergraduate students at University College London.
  • 'Phlogiston Revisited: How Philosophical Failure Can Generate Historiographical Refinement', HYLE (forthcoming).
  • With Grant Fisher, 'What the Ravens Really Teach Us: The Intrinsic Contextuality of Evidence', in Philip Dawid, ed., Evidence, Inference and Enquiry (London: British Academy, forthcoming).
  • 'We Have Never Been Whiggish (About Phlogiston)', Centaurus 51 (2009), 239–264.
  • 'Ontological Principles and the Intelligibility of Epistemic Activities', in Henk de Regt, Sabina Leonelli, and Kai Eigner, eds., Scientific Understanding: Philosophical Perspectives (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), 64–82.
  • 'Operationalism', Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online, published in July 2009).
  • 'Contingent Transcendental Arguments for Metaphysical Principles', in Michela Massimi, ed., Kant and Philosophy of Science Today, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 63 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 113–133.
  • 'Scientific Progress: Beyond Foundationalism and Coherentism', in Anthony O'Hear, ed., Philosophy of Science, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 61 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 1–20.
  • 'The Myth of the Boiling Point' (online hypertext paper with video links), first posted on 18 October 2007. Not peer-reviewed.

Selected recent presentations

  • 'Practicing 18th-Century Science Today', inaugural lecture at UCL, 13 May 2009.
  • 'A Case for Scientific Pluralism', at the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, 1 March 2010.
  • 'We Have Never Been Whiggish (About Phlogiston)', for the CHSTM seminar series, University of Manchester, 13 October 2009.
  • 'The Myth of the Boiling Point' / 'When Water Does Not Boil at the Boiling Point' (various titles), for Salisbury Café Scientifique, at the Salisbury Arts Centre, 14 October 2008; at the Royal Academy of Engineering ('Engineering and Metaphysics'), 3 September 2007; for the UCL Chemical and Physical Society, 9 January 2007; at Kingston Grammar School, Surrey; etc.
  • 'Bringing History, Philosophy and Science Together in the Lab', at the 2nd Biennial Conference for Integrated History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, 12 March 2009.
  • 'Water: the Long Road from Aristotelian Element to H2O', for the Royal Society Lunchtime Lectures, 5 December 2008.
  • 'Phlogiston Revisited: An Argument for Scientific Pluralism', at the Dept. of HPS, University of Cambridge, 20 November 2008; etc.
  • (with Ruth Ashbee, Rosemary Coates, Emma Goddard, and David Nader) 'How Chlorine Helped Research and Teaching to Come Together', at the British Society for the History of Science annual conference (joint meeting with the Canadian and U.S. societies), at Keble College, University of Oxford, 5 July 2008.
  • 'Inventing Temperature' / 'The Philosophical Thermometer' (various titles), for the Portsmouth and District Physical Society, at the Univ. of Portsmouth, 16 Jan. 2008; for the Institute of Physics, South Central Branch, at the University of Sussex, 27 Nov. 2007; for BURPS (Balliol Undergraduate and Research Physics Society), Oxford, 9 May 2006; at the Deutsches Museum, Munich, 25 October 2004; etc.
  • 'The Philosophical Grammar of Scientific Practice', keynote address at the first biennial conference of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice, at the University of Twente, 23 August 2007.