Rein Vihalemm

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Rein Vihalemm, 2011.

Rein Vihalemm (December 9, 1938 - July 18, 2015) was an Estonian chemist and philosopher of science, known for his reception of the philosophy of Thomas Kuhn.



Chemistry as an Interesting Subject for the Philosophy of Science, 2001


Vihalemm, Rein (2001) "Chemistry as an Interesting Subject for the Philosophy of Science". In Estonian Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. Rein Vihalemm. ed. Dordrecht / Boston / London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 185-200.--(Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Vol. 219).

  • The most essential example of the theory of self-organisation in chemistry is the theory of non-linear, non-equilibrium thermodynamics of chemical reactions presented by Prigogine and his co-workers.
    • p. 195
  • In principle, a self-organising system cannot be constructed, since its organisation and behaviour cannot be prescribed and created by an external source. It emerges autonomously in certain conditions (which cannot be prescribed either). The task of the researcher is to investigate in what kind of systems and under what kind of conditions self-organisation emerges.
    • p. 195
  • The scientific world picture does not include … things that have not been constructed, that are not understood as artefacts … Instead of the final cause one starts to speak about purpose, which nature itself does not have. Only humans can set aims and achieve them by their activities if they know the laws of nature and set up various processes based on them and organise them purposively.
    • p. 192