Mechanistic Trends in Chemistry

  • Louis Caruana SJ Faculty of Philosophy, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Rome, Italy
Keywords: mechanism, Descartes, atomism, substance, teleology


During the twentieth century, the mechanistic worldview came under attack mainly because of the rise of quantum mechanics but some of its basic characteristics survived and are still evident within current science in some form or other. Many scholars have produced interesting studies of such significant mechanistic trends within current physics and biology but very few have bothered to explore the effects of this worldview on current chemistry. This paper makes a contribution to fill this gap. It presents first a brief historical overview of the mechanistic worldview and then examines the present situation within chemistry by referring to current studies in the philosophy of chemistry and determining which trends are still mechanistic in spirit and which are not.

Author Biography

Louis Caruana SJ, Faculty of Philosophy, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Rome, Italy

Louis Caruana is Full Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he has been working since 2000. He has served with different roles at the University of Cambridge (where he received his PhD in Philosophy in 1997), University of London, University of Notre Dame-Indiana, and at the Australian National University. He currently teaches Philosophy of Nature

How to Cite
Caruana SJ, L. (2018). Mechanistic Trends in Chemistry. Substantia, 2(1), 29-40.
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