Calendario eventi

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Da Venerdì 21 Giugno 2024
a Sabato 22 Giugno 2024
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We are pleased to announce the first international workshop on the metaphysics of chemistry, which is scheduled to take place from 21-22 July 2024 in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) at the Institut Supérieur de Philosophie (ISP) of the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). 

Although metaphysics of science has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in recent years, the metaphysics of chemistry remains largely uncharted and has not received the attention it deserves. This workshop seeks to remedy this situation.

The aim of the workshop is threefold: (1) to reinforce and create new collaborations between scholars in metaphysics of science and philosophy of chemistry, (2) to provide a forum for the exploration of chemistry’s metaphysics by focusing on the nature of chemical kinds, chemical laws, chemical causation, chemical realism, and the relation of chemistry to physics and biology, and (3) to produce the first edited volume, devoted specifically to the metaphysics of chemistry.

Keynote talks will be delivered by Prof. Robin HENDRY (Durham University) and Prof. Emma TOBIN (University College London).

Dates and location

21-22 July 2024
Institut Supérieur de Philosophie
Université Catholique de Louvain
Place Cardinal Mercier 14, Bte L3.06.01
Louvain-la-Neuve 1348

Please note that the workshop will be an in-person event. The workshop dates (21-22 July) are conveniently scheduled after the British Society for the Philosophy of Science conference in York (17-19 July) and the annual symposium of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry in Croatia (15-17 July). We hope this arrangement will allow participants to potentially attend multiple conferences without excessive travel.


We welcome submissions on any topic in the metaphysics of chemistry. But note that the workshop will be organised around the following five themes:

Chemical kinds: Does the ontology of chemistry provide us with genuine natural kinds? Which metaphysical account of natural kinds best applies to them? Should substance identity be grounded in micro- or macroscopic properties? What are the prospects of microstructural essentialism? Are chemical kinds functional kinds?

Chemical laws: What are candidates of chemical laws? What is there status as laws of nature? How do they differ from physical or biological laws? Do chemical laws reduce to microphysical laws? Are chemical laws ceteris paribus laws? Which metaphysical account of laws best accommodates chemical laws?

Chemical causation: Is chemical causation an actual feature of reality? Is it fundamental, or can one understand it in terms of something more fundamental, such as laws or dispositions? Are chemical kinds causally autonomous? Are chemical reactions susceptible to causal analysis? Which metaphysical account of causation best applies to them?

Chemical reduction: How does chemistry relate to the other sciences, and in particular to physics? Should one construe the relation in terms of reduction, emergence, grounding or supervenience? In what sense is chemistry an autonomous science? Is there downward causation in chemistry?

Chemical realism: Should one be realist or instrumentalist about unobservable chemical entities? How do chemical entities relate to microphysical entities? Does reductionism imply eliminativism about chemical entities? Do orbitals exist? Do elements survive chemical change? Is the chemical bond real? Is molecular structure real?

Luogo Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)