Foundations of Chemistry 19 (3):197-207 (2017)

Abstract
The classical model of the molecule assumes that it has a definite shape and structure like a mechanical object in the world of possible experience. This study deals with this assumption so as to shed some light on the foundations of the model. Arguments based on Kant’s theory of transcendental idealism suggest that neither shape nor structure are attributes of the molecule, but are rather contributions of the subject. This claim has great relevance to the questions of whether or not a quantum treatment of the molecule can derive structure without recourse to any approximation, and the possible existence of emergence and downward causation. The answer to the first question is in the negative, and to the second is that agnosticism is the only possible attitude to have toward this problem. We are creatures who can only imagine what is going on by observing phenomena. All that is accessible to us is the modal structure of the model. The causal structure of the real system is not. From the same point of view and taking the concept of the affordance into account, the adequacy of the concept of molecular structure will be argued. The point is to specify what objects the concept can legitimately be applied to. Also briefly discussed in relation to shape and structure is the idea that molecular chirality might be a probe to reveal the nature of space.
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DOI 10.1007/s10698-017-9284-5
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References found in this work BETA

Representing and Intervening.Ian Hacking - 1987 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 92 (2):279-279.
Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach.Paul Teller - 1990 - Philosophy of Science 57 (4):729-731.
Realism, Essentialism, and Intrinsic Properties.Jeffry L. Ramsey & Rosenfeld Bhushan - 2000 - In Nalini Bhushan & Stuart Rosenfeld (eds.), Of Minds and Molecules: New Philosophical Perspectives on Chemistry. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 117.

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