Pure Possibilities and Some Striking Scientific Discoveries

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this Chapter, I demonstrate, on the grounds of panenmentalism, how some of the most fascinating scientific discoveries in chemistry could not have been accomplished without relying on the knowledge of individual pure possibilities and the ways in which they relate to one another (for instance, in theoretical models). The discoveries include the following: Dan Shechtman’s discovery of quasicrystals; Linus Pauling’s alpha helix; the discovery of F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario J. Molina concerning the destruction of the atmospheric ozone layer; and Neil Bartlett’s noble gas compounds. On the grounds of the analysis of these cases, actualism must fail, whereas panenmentalism, at least as a philosophy of science, gains more support.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSynthese Library
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameSynthese Library
ISSN (Print)0166-6991
ISSN (Electronic)2542-8292

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Logic


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