Unitary Theory

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Unitary Theory


a system of views in 19th-century chemistry based on the concept that the molecule is a unified whole made up of atoms of the chemical elements. The unitary theory took shape in the 1830’s and 1840’s in the works of J. Dumas, A. Laurent, and, in particular, C. Gerhardt, who set forth the theory in his Introduction to the Study of Chemistry According to the Unitary System (1848; Russian translation, 1859). The theory challenged the generally accepted dualistic theory of J. Berzelius, which regarded chemical compounds as combinations of two distinct constituents bearing opposite electrical charges. The inability of this theory to account for reactions involving the substitution of chlorine for hydrogen in organic compounds was one of the principle reasons for the theory’s abandonment.

The historical significance of the unitary theory lies in its clear distinction between the concepts of atom, molecule, and equivalent and its introduction of Avogadro’s law and “two-volume” formulas, that is, formulas using the H2 molecule as the unit of comparison. In addition, the theory made possible correct values for many elements and corrections of formulas for the elements’ compounds. The basic principles of the unitary theory were accepted in 1860 at an international congress of chemists held in Karlsruhe.


Faershtein, M. G. Istoriia ucheniia o molekule v khimii (do 1860 g.). Moscow, 1961. Pages 243–66, 283–352.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One might think that this "fact" would preclude any originalist from subscribing to a unitary theory of the removal power, unless they reach for Tillman's escape hatch.
Nicknamed "executive power on steroids" (Epstein 2006), the unitary theory of executive power emerged in the 1980s in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under President Reagan.
Their analogy to the controlled-group mechanics of Section 41 is inapposite, however, without being guided by unitary theory. Complete harmonization of the federal and California research tax credit provisions is impossible, given the fundamental distinction between the concept of a controlled group of corporations for federal taxation and the concept of a unitary group of businesses for state taxation.
As California has been a leader in the application of unitary theory for combined reporting, its tax laws have had substantial impact on the implications of the unitary business concept.
Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Toward a Unitary Theory. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1983.
The playful provocation with which he concludes ("approaches like game theory may approximate the situation of much vernacular book-production more fully than more sober notions") partly reveals and partly hides the real consequence of his argument; he really shows that no unitary theory can cover things so various and historically contingent as manuscripts, and that there is no way of segregating any of the lines of literary or historical inquiry from textual history--or of protecting the text from the scribal traditions that transmit it.
Throughout this unraveling of LD history, Coles shows that as each new explanation failed to support a unitary theory of neurological dysfunction, a new one was found to replace it.
Six chapters delineate six models of the relationship between ethical theory and practice and a final chapter outlines the authors' own "unitary theory of clinical ethics." The models are descriptions of the various moves that various ethicists make as they go about analyzing various problems.
Aging as emerging brilliance: Advancing Rogers' unitary theory of aging.
Taxpayers that structured their activities in reliance on the unitary theory established in prior U.S.
When the authors finally propose a "unitary theory" (which they compare to the Unified Field Theory of physics!), they dignify with the tide theory what seemed to me little more than a collection of reflections about practical reasoning.
TACA might also be viewed as an early example of imposing jurisdiction under the unitary theory.