Posted: January 8th, 2016
The Philosophy of Chemistry is one of the newest and fastest-growing areas in the Philosophy of Science. This is refreshing because the Philosophy of Science in the 20th century was dominated by the Philosophy of Physics. What makes chemistry distinct from other sciences is that it has been the only science that can create new things (i.e. chemical synthesis to make novel structures). The combination of analysis and synthesis brings chemistry closer to art in many ways. Discuss some aspect(s) of the Philosophy of Chemistry and how it relates to art, creativity or the philosophy of any other science.
To give you an idea of the range of thoughts published on the Philosophy of Chemistry, consider the following chapter titles from a 1999 book on the subject: “Aristotle’s theory of chemical reactions and chemical substances”; “Kant’s legacy for the philosophy of chemistry”; “Normative and descriptive philosophy of science and the role of chemistry”; “How classical models of explanation fail to cope with chemistry—the case of molecular modelling”; “Is there downward causation in chemistry”; “Water is not H2O”. Or how about an article by Roald Hoffmann “What might philosophy of science look like if chemists built it?” Synthese, 155(3), April 2007, pp. 321-336. So you can see that the possibilities for the essay are broad. We’re not asking you to use any of the titles listed here but rather to be inspired to think of your own specific essay title based on your reading on the subject. There are also many sites for the Philosophy of Science (e.g. http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/) or more specifically the philosophy of chemistry (http://www.hyle.org/).
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