Reduction and Emergence in Chemistry - Two Recent Approches.

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Scerri, Eric R.
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conference paper description
Two articles on the reduction of chemistry are examined. The first, by McLaughlin, claims that chemistry is reduced to physics and that there is no evidence for emergence or for downward causation between the chemical and the physical level. In a more recent article Le Poidevin maintains that his combinatorial approach provides grounding for the ontological reduction of chemistry and also circumvents some limitations in the physicalist program. In examining the scientific issues that each author has discussed the present author finds some shortcomings in both of these approaches.