Chain reactions, “impossible” reactions, and panenmentalist possibilities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Panenmentalist possibilities are individual pure possibilities existing independently of any mind, actual reality, and possible-world conception. These possibilities are a priori accessible to our intellect and imagination. In this paper, I attempt to shed some panenmentalist light on the discovery of chemical branched chain reactions and its implications on biology and cancer research. I also examine the case of the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction which, at first, was believed to be impossible. Finally, I proceed to examine through a panenmentalist lens Szilard’s discovery of the possibility of physical chain reactions and Mullis’s discovery of a polymerase chain reaction. All these major actual discoveries clearly depend on the discovery of the relevant panenmentalist possibilities and the ways in which they relate to one another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalFoundations of Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Branched chain reactions
  • Individual pure possibilities
  • Nuclear chain reactions
  • Panenmentalism
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • The Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction
  • “Impossible” reactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • History


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