Quantum mechanical atom models, legitimate explanations and mechanisms

Foundations of Chemistry 23 (3):407-429 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The periodic table is one of the best-known systems of classification in science. Because of the information it contains, it raises explanation-seeking questions. Quantum mechanical models of the behaviour of electrons may be seen as providing explanations in response to these questions. In this paper we first address the question ‘Do quantum mechanical models of atoms provide legitimate explanations?’ Because our answer is positive, our next question is ‘Are the explanations provided by quantum mechanical models of atoms mechanistic explanations?’. This question is motivated by the fact that in many scientific disciplines, mechanistic explanations are abundant. Because our answer to the second question is negative, our last question is ‘What kind of explanation do quantum mechanical models of atom provide?’ By addressing these questions, we shed light on the nature of an important type of chemical explanation.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,385

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

Models of intentional explanation.Robrecht Vanderbeeken - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (3):233 – 246.
Mechanisms and the Mental.Marcin Miłkowski - 2017 - In Stuart Glennan & Phyllis McKay Illari (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mechanisms and Mechanical Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 74--88.


Added to PP

30 (#527,977)

6 months
9 (#449,120)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The New Mechanical Philosophy.Stuart Glennan - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance.Eric R. Scerri - 2007 - New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

View all 10 references / Add more references