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

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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10698-017-9284-5
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,013
External links

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

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Philosophical Foundations of Stereochemistry.Hirofumi Ochiai - 2015 - Hyle: International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry 21 (1):1-18.
The Chemist’s Concept of Molecular Structure.N. Sukumar - 2008 - Foundations of Chemistry 11 (1):7-20.
Neurogeometry of V1 and Kanizsa Contours.Jean Petitot - 2003 - Axiomathes 13 (3-4):347-363.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #491,579 of 2,344,158 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #332,321 of 2,344,158 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes