English Abstracts of Selected Publications
(Joachim Schummer's Homepage /
Joachim Schummer: "Color
field painting als 'reine Malerei': Die Etablierung der Kunstkritik
im Modernismusentwurf", in: Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (ed.), Farbfeld
und Philosophie, Karlsruhe 2000.
Abstract: The paper analyzes the interrelated establishment
of art criticism and Modern Art in the U.S.A. in period from the
1930s to the 1960s. Picking out Clement Greenberg as the central figure,
I describe how he first adopted European ideas of modernity and transformed
it to his normative concept of 'pure art', particularly exemplified by
his visions of color field painting. Though at first his approach did not
fit at all the ideas of most abstract painters, Greenberg soon became most
influential in establishing both modern American painting and art criticism.
In conclusion I argue that, while the intercontinental transfer of ideas
necessarily depended on concepts of art, it is far from clear what the
descriptive concepts used by art critics refer to. The establishment of
art criticism by way of establishing a normative talk of 'modernity'
(as well as the recent talk of 'post-modernity') seems to be, by their
own measure, a pre-modern process without much reflection on their own
Keywords: History of Theory of Art, Color Field Painting, Modernity,
Joachim Schummer: "Aristotle
on Technology and Nature", Philosophia Naturalis, 38
Abstract: Due to the rapid development and ubiquitous impact
of modern technology, many people feel that nature is in danger of becoming
extinct. From the 13th century until today, philosophers and theologians
have been seeking advice from Aristotle to define both nature and technology
in a way that the former restricts the latter. In this paper, I reconsider
three corresponding theses usually attributed to Aristotle. 1) Technology
imitates nature, such that there is no place for authentic human creativity.
2) Technology in supplementing and completing nature fulfils but the inherent
aims of nature. 3) There is an ontological hiatus between natural things
and artifacts such that technology cannot reproduce or change natural things.
I argue that 3) is inconsistent with 1) and 2) and that Aristotle’s writings
support none of the three theses in general. Instead, his proper concept
of technology places little restrictions on technological innovation. While
the putative ontological hiatus has been most influential in the history
of chemistry/alchemy, Aristotle himself rather holds a relative distinction
that he levels out just in the realm of chemistry. Moreover, the case of
genetic engineering shows that current problems are beyond the scope of
Aristotelian theory. Rather than presenting solutions, I argue that claiming
Aristotle’s authority to support criticism of modern technology does justice
neither to Aristotle nor to the complexity of today’s problems.
Keywords: Consciousness of Time, Temporality, Ecology, Environmental
Joachim Schummer: "Zeitbewußtsein,
Ökologie und Ethik", Antemnae (Roma), 2 (2000).
Abstract: ("Consciousness of Time, Ecology, and Ethics")
The paper investigates the impact of global environmental issues on
our consciousness of time and vice versa. In Part I, I first analyze in
detail how various kinds of temporal structure, such as linear progress,
circularity etc., are built and what makes us select one of them as being
universal. Part II discusses types of confusion and distortion of our consciousness
of time due to global environmental issues. Since our consciousness of
time is fundamental to our way of perceiving and dealing with the environment,
the topic has also an ethical dimension. In Part III, following Hans Jonas’
approach of ethics, I ask what kind of a consciousness of time is adequate
for responsibly treating our environment.
Keywords: Aritotle, Nature, Technology.
Joachim Schummer: "Coping
with the Growth of Chemical Knowledge: Challenges for Chemistry
Documentation, Education, and Working Chemists", Educación
Química, Vol. 10 (1999), No. 2 (Special 10th Anniversary Edition),
pp. 92-101 .
Abstract: Chemistry is by far the most productive science concerning
the number of publications. A closer look at chemical papers reveals that
most papers deal with new substances. The rapid growth of chemical knowledge
seriously challenges all institutions and individuals concerned with chemistry.
Chemistry documentation following the principle of completeness is required
to schematize chemical information, which in turn induces a schematization
of chemical research. Chemistry education is forced to seek reasonable
principles of selectivity, although nobody can have an overview any more.
Philosophical evaluation of the growth of chemical knowledge proves that
at the same time chemical ‘nonknowledge’ increases more rapidly. An analysis
of reasons, why chemists are making new substances at all, shows that the
proliferation of new substances is for most part an end in itself. The
present paper finally argues for the need of a rational discourse among
chemists on the aims of chemistry.
Keywords: Growth of Knowledge, Chemistry Documentation, Chemistry
Education, Aims of Chemistry.
Chemical Core of Chemistry I: A Conceptual Approach", HYLE--An International
Journal for the Philosophy of Chemistry, 4 (1998), 129-162.
Abstract: Given the rich diversity of research fields usually
ascribed to chemistry in a broad sense, the present paper tries to dig
our characteristic parts of chemistry that can be conceptually distinguished
from interdisciplinary, applied, and specialized subfields of chemistry,
and that may be called chemistry in a very narrow sense, or ‘the chemical
core of chemistry’. Unlike historical, ontological, and ‘anti-reductive’
approaches, I use a conceptual approach together with some methodological
implications that allow to develop step by step a kind of cognitive architecture
for chemistry, which basically contains: (1) systematic chemical knowledge
on the experimental level; (2) clarification of chemical species; (3) chemical
classification systems; (4) theoretical foundation through the chemical
theory of structural formulas. In a succeeding paper the results will be
checked for resisting physicalistic reduction.
Keywords: chemical properties, logical structure of chemical
knowledge, pure substances, chemical classification, theory of structural
Joachim Schummer: "Epistemology
of Material Properties", in: Proceedings of the 20th World Congress
of Philosophy, Boston/MA, USA, August 10-16, 1998 (to be published 1999).
Abstract: The paper presents an epistemological approach to
the investigation of material properties that is opposed both to phenomenalistic
epistemology and recent linguistical and ontological accounts of matter/mass
terms. Emphasis is laid on the inherent context dependence of material
properties. It is shown that, if this is taken seriously, some deep epistemological
problems arise, like unavoidable uncertainty, incompleteness, inductivity,
nonderivableness. It is further argued that some widely held epistemological
accounts, namely that of essentialism, constructivism, and pragmatism,
all reveal some serious defects if related to the recognition of materials.
In order to responsibly manage our material environment, a more realistic
estimation of our epistemic abilities and prospects is suggested.
Keywords: Epistemology, Material Properties, Context Dependence,
Joachim Schummer: "Physical
Chemistry: Neither Fish nor Fowl?", in: P. Janich, N. Psarros (eds.),
Autonomy of Chemistry. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg
1998, pp. 135-148.
Abstract: It is the aim of this paper to clarify the role of
physical chemistry establishing various relations between physics and chemistry.
(1) According to a systematics of material investigation, physical chemistry
has a research field of its own that lies in between physics and chemistry,
both taken in a narrow sense. (2) In so far as chemistry in a broader sense
is concerned with material differences, physical chemists treat chemical
problems by applying physical concepts, methods and instruments. (3) While
eliminative discipline reduction can be rejected for several reasons, there
are some non-eliminative reductive approaches within physical chemistry,
which are quite different from that of physics. (4) A closer look on theoretical
reasoning reveals some further methodological characteristics of physical
chemistry supporting the idea of an emerging discipline: (a) Physical chemists
try to explain material diversity in quantitative terms. They use (b) a
pragmatic pluralism of models, which are (c) rather subject to refinement
and adaptation than to crucial tests. There is (d) an extensive use of
semi-empirical approaches and (e) the emergence of new types of models
from combining physical and chemical concepts and theories.
Keywords: Physical Chemistry, Chemistry and Physics, Interdisciplinary
Joachim Schummer (Ed.): Glück
und Ethik. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1998.
Abstract: The anthology provides a comprehensive survey of recent
approaches in the field of philosophy of happines by outstanding
scholars of German speaking philosophy. Contributors are: Günther
Bien, Dieter Birnbacher, Maximilian Forschner, Malte Hossenfelder, Hans
Krämer, Gregor Paul, Annemarie Pieper, Wilhelm Schmid, Joachim Schummer,
and Martin Seel. Topics included are: the limits of philosophy of happiness
(historical, intercultural, and systematical); philosophy of happiness
as ars vivendi, and the methodology for philosophical counceling;
philosophy of happiness as a pre-moral theory of goodness and good life;
the relationships between happiness and morality with special regard to
foundational problems of moral philosophy.
Keywords: Philosophy of Happines, Morality, Ethics.
Joachim Schummer: "Challenging
Standard Distinctions between Science and Technology: The Case of Preparative
Chemistry", HYLE. An International Journal for the Philosophy of
Chemistry, 3 (1997), 81-94.
Abstract: Part I presents a quantitative-empirical outline of
chemistry, esp. preparative chemistry, concerning its dominant role in
today's science, its dynamics, and its methods and aims. Emphasis is laid
on the poietical character of chemistry for which a methodological model
is derived. Part II discusses standard distinction between science and
technology, from Aristotle (whose theses are reconsidered in the light
of modern sciences) to modern philosophy of technology. Against the background
of results of Part I, it is argued that all these distinctions fail, because
the underlying concepts of science are either out-dated, one-sided, or
arbitrary. A deeper understanding of today's sciences requires, in particular,
a philosopical investigation of chemistry.
Keywords: Chemistry, Science and Technology, Poietical Science,
Joachim Schummer: "Towards a Philosophy
of Chemistry", Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 28
Abstract: The paper shows epistemological, methodological and
ontological peculiarities of chemistry taken as a classificatory scinece
of materials using experimental methods. Without succumbing to standard
interpretations of physical science, chemical methods of experimental investigation,
classification, reference, theorizing, prediction and production of new
entities are developed one by one as first steps towards a philosophy of
chemistry. Chemistry challenges traditional concepts of empirical object,
empirical predicate, reference frame and theory, but also the distinction
commonly drawn between natural science and technology. Due to its many
peculiarities, I propose to treat chemistry philosophically as a special
type of science, apart from other sciences.
Keywords: Chemistry, Epistemology, Experiment, Classification,
Reference, Prediction, Technology, Matter, Material Properties.
Joachim Schummer: "Scientometric Studies
on Chemistry II: Aims and Methods of Producing New Chemical Substances",
39 (1997), 125-140..
Abstract: Chemistry, as today's most active science, has increased
its substances exponentially during the past 200 years without saturation.
To get more insight why and how chemists produce new substances, a content
analysis of 300 communications to the 'Angewandte Chemie' of the years
1980, 1990, and 1995 is carried out regarding aims and methods of preparative
research. In the most productive field of organic chemistry production
mainly occurs to improve abilities for further production, while the less
productive field of inorganic chemistry has more diverse aims. Methodological
differences between organic and inorganic chemistry are discussed in detail
as well as the relationship between pure and applied science.
Keywords: Chemistry, Scientometrics, Production of Substances,
Preparative Aims and Methods, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Pure and
Joachim Schummer: "Scientometric Studies
on Chemistry I: The Exponential Growth of Chemical Substances, 1800-1995",
39 (1997), 107-123.
Abstract: The number of chemical substances is considered as
a cumulative measure of the cognitive growth of preparative chemistry.
During the past 200 years there is approximately exponential growth without
saturation. Separate analysis of organic and inorganic chemistry suggests
at least a two-phase modell either. Detailed discussion of the results
(considering also the growth of chemists, chemical papers, patents, and
chemical elements) reveals that an external (socio-economical) explanation
is insufficient. Instead, an internal (methodological) approach is suggested
to explain the exponential growth as well as ballancing phenomena in war
and post-war times.
Keywords: Chemistry, Scientometrics, Growth of Substances, Growth
of Knowledge, Externalism vs. Internalism.
Joachim Schummer: Realismus und Chemie.
Philosophische Untersuchungen der Wissenschaft von den Stoffen. Königshausen
& Neumann, Würzburg 1996 (English title: Realism and Chemistry.
Philosophical Investigations of the Science of Substances).
Abstract: Against the background of recent concepts of scientific
entity realism and experimentalism, esp. those of Rom Harré, this
book provides a non-physicalistic philosophical approach to chemistry.
Chemistry is considered to be the fundamental science of substances looking
for a theoretically supported classification that enables to predict and
create new substances. The development and methodological refinement of
this scientific approach is dealt with along the whole history of chemistry,
from Aristotle to modern synthetic chemistry. Fundamental concepts, classificatory
approaches, and theoretical reasoning of chemistry are shown to be inherently
connected to experimental operations.
Keywords: Chemistry, Realism, Matter, Experiment, Classification,
Joachim Schummer: "Die stoffliche Weltveränderung
der Chemie: Philosophische Herausforderungen", in: C. Hubig, H. Poser (eds.),
humana - Dynamik des Wissens und der Werte, vol. 1, Leipzig, 1996,
Abstract: Chemistry is substantially changing our material world
by currently producing a million new substances a year. Philosophers, who
seem to be unaware of that hitherto, are challenged in ontological, epistemological
and ethical respect. Against physicalistic ontology as well as essentialistic,
constructivistic, and pragmatistic myths of epistemology it is argued for
a more modest and sensible epistemology of substances that is in need for
dealing with chemicals in a more responsible way. A proposal for risk assessment
of chemicals is made.
Keywords: Chemistry, Substances, Ecology, Ethics, Risk
Nikos Psarros, Klaus Ruthenberg, Joachim Schummer
(eds.): Philosophie der Chemie - Bestandsaufnahme und Ausblick.
Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1996.
Abstract: The German working group "Philosophy and Chemistry"
(founded in 1993) has collected 9 articles that provide a comprehensive
survey of what have been done in the past and what should be done in a
future philosophy of chemistry. Since many authors find a notorious neglect
of chemistry in the past, they try to explain this neglect from various
aspects among which reductionism seems to be the most important.
Keywords: Chemistry, History of Philosophy of Science, Reductionism
Joachim Schummer: "Philosophie der Stoffe,
Bestandsaufnahme und Ausblicke. Von der Philosophischen Entstofflichung
der Welt zur ökologischen Relevanz einer Philosophie der Stoffe",
in: N. Psarros, K. Ruthenberg, J. Schummer (eds.): Philosophie der Chemie
- Bestandsaufnahme und Ausblick. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg
Abstract: The first part of this essay tells the story of an
old struggle between philosophy of matter and philosophy of form in broad
outline, from the presocratics to analytical philosophy, leading to a philosophical
and metaphorical "dematerialization" of the world (ontology), knowlege
(epistemology) and language (mass terms). The second part argues, against
the background of ecological crisis, for the need of sophisticating both
our ordinary and scientific concepts of materials, and it gives an outline
future philosophical contributions to these problems.
Keywords: Chemistry, Matter, Mass, Ecology
Joachim Schummer: "Zur Semiotik der chemischen
Zeichensprache. Die Darstellung dynamischer Verhältnissse mit statischen
Mitteln", in: P. Janich, N. Psarros (eds.), Die Sprache der Chemie,
Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1996, pp. 113-126.
Abstract: After giving a survey of recent literature on the
language of chemistry attention is drawn to the semiotics of the chemical
sign language. Against the background of Peirce's theory of signs, it is
argued that structural formulas should be interpreted neither as symbols,
nor as icons, let alone indices. Instead, the systemic character of structural
formulas (in the sense of Peirce's super-icons) is pointed out enabling
chemists to represent chemical changeabilities by static means. In conclusion
the current misleading pictographic paradigm is shown to be at the expense
of chemical information.
Keywords: Chemistry, Semiotics, Sign, Peirce
"Ist die Chemie eine schöne Kunst? Ein Beitrag zum Verhältnis
von Kunst und Wissenschaft", Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und
Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, 40 (1995), no.2, 145-178.
Abstract: Chemistry is a highly productive enterprise currently
producing some 1 million new substances a year. Since many chemists have
recently claimed for the beauty of their products (the most famous is the
buckminster fullerene), it is time to take this claim seriously. Against
the background of several aesthetical theories (idealistic aesthetics from
Plato to Kant, psychological approaches of Gombrich and Arnheim, Godman's
symbolic and Eco's semiotic approach) chemical products are analyzed after
distinguishing three ontological categories: chemical substances, molecules,
molecular models. It is argued that none of these theories can explain
the putative beauty of chemical products. But Eco's approach is able to
explain recent dynamics in supramolecular chemistry being motivated by
Keywords: Chemistry, Aesthetics, Art, Symmetry, Eco
Joachim Schummer: "Zwischen Wissenschaftstheorie
und Didaktik der Chemie. Die Genese von Stoffbegriffen", chimica didactica,
Abstract: In reviving the common roots of philosophy and didactics
of science (19th century's propaedeutica) a theory of recognition
and concept building in the material realm is provided. Clarification of
the stepwise development of material concepts and knowledge, from ordinary
experience to experimental science, aims at two different but related things:
First, it helps to understand the logical structure of chemical knowledge;
and secondly, it rules out barriers of understanding caused by misleading
Keywords: Chemistry, Didactics, Matter, Substances.
Joachim Schummer: "Die Rolle des Experiments
in der Chemie", in: P. Janich (ed.), Philosophische Perspektiven der
Chemie, Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim, 1994, pp. 27-51.
Abstract: While experimentation has been nearly neglected by
modern epistemology and philosophy of science until recently, it has always
played a central and manifold role in chemistry. Experimentation is shown
to be fundamental in concept building and concept refinement by specifying
experimental contexts, and in various chemical approaches to substance
classifications. Chemical experimentation links science to technology and
allows an experimentalist interpretation of entity realism.
Keywords: Chemistry, Experimentation, Classification, Realism,