Symposium on the Philosophy of Chemistry

Bogota, July 20-22, 2009.
Universidad de los Andes

General information

  • To think how science is made and its implications has played an important role in the development of science itself.
  • Traditional areas of this study have been the philosophy of mathematics, of physics and of biology.
  • Curiously enough, although Chemistry is as mature a science as the former three, and probably has had the most influence in the creation of our contemporary world, scarce philosophical activity about chemistry has been done and only recently have appeared two international journals on the topic: HYLE and Foundations of Chemistry.  In both of them the Latin American presence is still incipient.
  • For these reasons, scientists of various nationalities, including Colombians, have decided to promote the philosophical discussion in Chemistry.
  • Accordingly, we have considered important and convenient to organise in Colombia a symposium on the topic, in which worldwide leaders on the Philosophy of Chemistry show the recent advances in the area, the most recent discussions and the frontier themes to be studied in the future.
  • It is a pleasure to announce the participation of two of the leaders in the field of Philosophy of Chemistry: Joachim Schummer and Eric Scerri, editors of HYLE and Foundations of Chemistry, respectively.

Universidad de los Andes & Universidad de Pamplona

Chair persons:
José L. Villaveces, Vicerrector de investigaciones, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia
Guillermo Restrepo, Laboratorio de química teórica, Universidad de Pamplona, Pamplona, Colombia

Monday 20th July

9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Welcome and inauguration, by

  • Wolfram Baumann, Head of the Chemistry Department, Universidad de los Andes
  • José L. Villaveces, Vicerrector for Research, Universidad de los Andes
10:00a.m.-10:15a.m. Coffee break

Inaugural session, Joachim Schummer, chair

10:15a.m.-11:15a.m. Eric Scerri
Recent work on the concept of ‘element’
11:15a.m.-11:45a.m. Eugenio J. Llanos
To be announced
11:45a.m.-3:00p.m. Lunch

General session, Andrés Bernal, chair

3:00p.m.-3:30p.m. José L. Villaveces
Philosophical implications of the idea of structure.  From symmetry to ontogenesis
3:30p.m.-4:00p.m. Edgar Vargas
Origins of natural alchemist philosophy

Tuesday 21st July
General session, Eric Scerri, chair

9:00a.m.-10:00a.m. Joachim Schummer
Dealing with radical change and material complexity: An introduction to the philosophy of chemistry
10:00a.m.-10:30a.m. Guillermo Restrepo
Philosophy of chemistry and mathematical chemistry, two sides of the same coin?
10:30a.m.-10:45a.m. Coffee break

General session, Guillermo Restrepo, chair

10:45a.m.-11:15a.m. Andrés Bernal
Internality and selectivity in the chemical concept of relation
11:15a.m.-11:45a.m. Wilmer O. Leal
Binary compounds, a network theory approach
11:45a.m.-3:00p.m. Lunch

Panel discussion, José L. Villaveces, chair

3:00p.m.-4:30p.m. Topic: Why philosophy of chemistry?

Wednesday 22nd July
Panel discussion, Eugenio J. Llanos, chair

9:00a.m.-10:30a.m. Topic: Trends in philosophy of chemistry
10:30a.m.-10:45a.m. Coffee break
10:45a.m.-12:00m. Concluding remarks


Attendance is free, but you must register first. Registrations may be sent to [email protected] [email protected]
or to [email protected].
Simply send an e-mail with your name, institution, an abstract of your CV and the reasons of your interest in the Philosophy of Chemistry.