Para além das fronteiras da química: relações entre filosofia, psicologia e ensino de química
Recebido em 17/6/96; aceito em 3/7/96 BEYOND CHEMICAL BOUNDARIES: A CONCEPTUAL PROFILE FOR MOLECULE AND MOLECULAR STRUCTURE. The concepts of molecule and of molecular structure are so central to understand chemical phenomena that seems to be no doubt about the uniqueness of its meanings. Nevertheless, the idea that the world exhibits a multiform structure and that to different spheres of the world correspond different ways of knowing (Berger & Luckmann, 1967) has received support from different
... areas of scientific inquiry. Bachelard (1940, 1982) showed that a single philosophical doctrine is not enough to describe all the different ways of thinking when we try to explain a single concept. Wooley's question about the possibility of deducing the concept of molecular structure from quantum theory (Wooley, 1978) strengthened the feasibility of thinking the concept of molecule as a profile that encompasses different meanings. Moreover, research on students' learning of scientific concepts have brought to light that students use several ideas to explain scientific and everyday phenomena which are different from those learned in formal schooling. These ideas are not extinguished or replaced by scientific concepts, despite the efforts to do so in science classes. The common sense and scientific ways of understanding and talking about reality seems to be complementary in the same sense of the Bohr's complementarity (Halliday & Martin, 1993). So, we have to include in our profile of the concept of molecule not only scientific but also common sense zones. Drawing from Bachelard's notion of epistemological profile, from the history of science and from the research on children's ideas in science, we have developed the idea of a conceptual profile and used it to analyse basic scientific concepts, such as the concepts of matter and physical states of matter (Mortimer, 1995) and to investigate new ways to teach them. In the present paper, we will discuss the zones that might constitute a conceptual profile of molecule. The need of complementary views to account for the molecular structure in different contexts bring important issues for understanding and teaching chemistry, which will be discussed further in the article.