How Philosophy of Nature Needs Philosophy of Chemistry

Philosophica: International Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (47):93-108 (2016)
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Abstract

This paper aims to highlight how the philosophy of chemistry could be of help for rethinking Nature today. To do so, we will point out: the co-definition of chemical relations and chemical relata within chemical activities; the constitutive role of the modes of intervention in the definition, always open and provisional, of “active” chemical bodies; and the mutual dependence of the levels of organization in chemistry. We will insist on the way chemists tailor networks of interdependencies within which chemical bodies and properties are context-sensitive and mutually determined by means of particular chemical operations or transformations. To conclude, we will show how the specific action of bodies upon the Earth at different scales of space and time, and how the relational definition of a chemical body, pave the way for a new understanding of Nature.

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