Chemical philosophy

In hmol science, chemical philosophy refers to the utilization of chemistry to build on and develop human philosophy, particularly using the view that a human being is a human molecule, and that chemical principles, theory, and law apply absolutely to the regulation of reaction between humans.

In 1813, English chemist Humphry Davy summarized the basics of "philosophy" based on chemistry, as follows: [1]

“The true chemical philosopher sees good in all the diversified forms of the external world. Whilst he investigates the operations of infinite power guided by infinite wisdom, all low prejudices, all mean superstitions disappear from his mind. He sees man an atom amidst atoms fixed upon a point in space ; and yet modifying the laws that are around him by understanding them; and gaining, as it were, a kind of dominion over time, and an empire in material space, and exerting on a scale infinitely small a power seeming a sort of shadow or reflection of a creative energy, and which entitles him to the distinction of being made in the image of God and animated by a spark of the divine mind. Whilst chemical pursuits exalt the understanding, they do not depress the imagination or weaken genuine feelings; whilst they give the mind habits of accuracy, by obliging it to attend to facts, they likewise extend its analogies; and, though conversant with the minute forms of things, they have for their ultimate end the great and magnificent objects of nature.”

In 1914, English-born American engineer William Fairburn, in his booklet Human Chemistry, using Empedocles-style chemistry aphorism, regarding how unmixing types of people will forever separate like oil and water, stated: [2]

“A trained chemist would never attempt to mix oil and water alone, but employers, managers, and foreman are constantly endeavoring to bring about a corresponding physical impossibility. If, however, the chemist adds in a third substance—soda or gum Arabic—the oil and water will blend.”

In 1989, Venezuelan-born English chemical engineer and thermodynamicist Erich Muller, who did his PhD on the thermodynamics of fluids, compared people to molecules and argues that one can use this methodology along with knowledge of the thermodynamics of fluids to apply and develop a philosophical methodology to deal with segregation issues associated with ghettos: [3]

“Oil and water don’t mix because they have a very different interaction—they prefer to be amongst molecules similar to each other instead. This is like humans in ghettos—in Copenhagen, for example, they tried to integrate the immigrant population with the otherwise rather homogeneous population by placing people in different parts of the city, but the immigrants eventually moved together and formed a ghetto. However, in a mayonnaise, you can have oil and water mixed together in an apparent single phase provided you have a molecule called a surfactant, which is fancied by both and can bring them together. In a similar way, only by including people who can talk to conflicting sides can different groups mix.”

(add discussion)

See also
Goethean philosophy
Integration and segregation thermodynamics

1. Davy, Humphry. (1840). “Dialogue Five: the Chemical Philosopher”, in: The Collected Works of Humphry Davy (pg. 361). Smith, Elder, and Co.
2. Fairburn, William Armstrong. (1914). Human Chemistry (pg. 18). The Nation Valley Press, Inc.
3. Gallagher, Laura. (2006). “A Thermodynamic Personality: Interview with Erich Müller”, Reporter, Issue 162, 24 February.

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