Vol. 2 No. 1 (2018)
Feature Articles

Mechanistic Trends in Chemistry

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

Published 2018-03-26


  • mechanism,
  • Descartes,
  • atomism,
  • substance,
  • teleology

How to Cite

Caruana SJ, L. (2018). Mechanistic Trends in Chemistry. Substantia, 2(1), 29-40. https://doi.org/10.13128/Substantia-39


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.