David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Foundations of Chemistry 4 (3):183-200 (2002)
The main aim of the paper is to reinforce the notion that emergence is a basic characteristic of the molecular sciences in general and chemistry in particular. Although this point is well accepted, even in the primary reference on emergence, the keyword emergence is rarely utilized by chemists and molecular biologists and chemistry textbooks for undergraduates. The possible reasons for this situation are discussed. The paper first re-introduces the concept of emergence based on very simple geometrical forms; and considers some simple chemical examples among low and high molecular weight compounds. On the basis of these chemical examples, a few interesting philosophical issues inherent to the field of emergence are discussed – again making the point that such examples, given their clarity and simplicity, permit one to better understand the complex philosophical issues. Thus, the question of predictability is discussed, namely whether and to what extent can emergent properties be predicted on the basis of the component’s properties; or the question of the explicability (a top down process). The relation between reductionism and emergentism is also discussed as well as the notion of downward causality and double causality (macrodeterminism); namely the question whether and to what extent the emergent properties of the higher hierarchic level affect the properties of the lower level components. Finally, the question is analyzed, whether life can be considered as an emergent property. More generally, the final point is made, that the re-introduction of the notion of emergence in chemistry, and in particular in the teaching, may bring about a deeper understanding of the meaning of chemical complexity and may bring chemistry closer to the humanistic areas of philosophy and epistemology.
|Keywords||Philosophy Chemistry/Food Science, general Physical Chemistry Philosophy of Science History|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Lee McIntyre (2007). Emergence and Reduction in Chemistry: Ontological or Epistemological Concepts? Synthese 155 (3):337-343.
Christophe Malaterre (2010). Lifeness Signatures and the Roots of the Tree of Life. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):643-658.
Olimpia Lombardi & Martín Labarca (2005). The Ontological Autonomy of the Chemical World. Foundations of Chemistry 7 (2):125-148.
Andrew M. McKinnon (2010). Elective Affinities of the Protestant Ethic: Weber and the Chemistry of Capitalism. Sociological Theory 28 (1):108 - 126.
Similar books and articles
Michel Bitbol (2007). Ontology, Matter and Emergence. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (3):293-307.
Jaegwon Kim (2006). Emergence: Core Ideas and Issues. Synthese 151 (3):547-559.
Sandra D. Mitchell (2012). Emergence: Logical, Functional and Dynamical. [REVIEW] Synthese 185 (2):171-186.
Alan Chalmers (2012). Klein on the Origin of the Concept of Chemical Compound. Foundations of Chemistry 14 (1):37-53.
Eric Scerri (2007). Reduction and Emergence in Chemistry—Two Recent Approaches. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):920-931.
Bryon Cunningham (2001). The Reemergence of 'Emergence'. Philosophy of Science 3 (September):S63-S75.
Robert Bishop (2005). Patching Physics and Chemistry Together. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):710-722.
Robert C. Bishop (2005). Patching Physics and Chemistry Together. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):710-722.
Eric R. Scerri (2007). Reduction and Emergence in Chemistry—Two Recent Approaches. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):920-931.
Lee McIntyre (1999). The Emergence of the Philosophy of Chemistry. Foundations of Chemistry 1 (1):57-63.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads163 ( #7,471 of 1,699,575 )
Recent downloads (6 months)43 ( #11,747 of 1,699,575 )
How can I increase my downloads?