Connecting the philosophy of chemistry, green chemistry, and moral philosophy

Foundations of Chemistry 18 (2):125-152 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper aims to connect philosophy of chemistry, green chemistry, and moral philosophy. We first characterize chemistry by underlining how chemists: co-define chemical bodies, operations, and transformations; always refer to active and context-sensitive bodies to explain the reactions under study; and develop strategies that require and intertwine with a molecular whole, its parts, and the surroundings at the same time within an explanation. We will then point out how green chemists are transforming their current activities in order to act upon the world without jeopardizing life. This part will allow us to highlight that green chemistry follows the three aforementioned characteristics while including the world as a partner, as well as biodegradability and sustainability concerns, into chemical practices. In the third part of this paper, we will show how moral philosophy can help green chemists: identify the consequentialist assumptions that ground their reasoning; and widen the scope of their ethical considerations by integrating the notion of care and that of vulnerability into their arguments. In the fourth part of the paper, we will emphasize how, in return, this investigation could help philosophers querying consequentialism as soon as the consequences of chemical activities over the world are taken into account. Furthermore, we will point out how the philosophy of chemistry provides philosophers with new arguments concerning the key debate about the ‘intrinsic value’ of life, ecosystems and the Earth, in environmental ethics. To conclude, we will highlight how mesology, that is to say the study of ‘milieux’, and the concept of ‘ecumeme’ proposed by the philosopher and geographer Augustin Berque, could become important both for green chemists and moral philosophers in order to investigate our relationships with the Earth.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,100

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

An overview: Origins and development of green chemistry.J. A. Linthorst - 2009 - Foundations of Chemistry 12 (1):55-68.
Green chemistry: An innovative technology. [REVIEW]M. Kidwai & R. Mohan - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (3):269-287.
Emergence and quantum chemistry.Jean-Pierre Llored - 2012 - Foundations of Chemistry 14 (3):245-274.
Professionalism and ethics in chemistry.Jeffrey Kovac - 2000 - Foundations of Chemistry 2 (3):207-219.
Ethics of Chemical Synthesis.Joachim Schummer - 2001 - Hyle 7 (2):103 - 124.
The emergence of the philosophy of chemistry.Lee McIntyre - 1999 - Foundations of Chemistry 1 (1):57-63.
Molecules and mereology.Rom Harré & Jean-Pierre Llored - 2013 - Foundations of Chemistry 15 (2):127-144.


Added to PP

59 (#272,953)

6 months
8 (#365,731)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Principia ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.
On Certainty (ed. Anscombe and von Wright).Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1969 - San Francisco: Harper Torchbooks. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe, G. H. von Wright & Mel Bochner.
Principia Ethica.G. E. Moore - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 13 (3):7-9.
The collapse of the fact/value dichotomy and other essays.Hilary Putnam - 2002 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Two distinctions in goodness.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):169-195.

View all 27 references / Add more references