Chemistry, Society and Uncertainty


  • Luciana Zaterka Universidade Federal do ABC
  • Ronei Clécio Mocellin Universidade Federal do Paraná



In recent years, besides the increased interest in philosophy of chemistry, we have witnessed a "material turn" in philosophy and the history of sciences with an interest in putting instruments, objects, materials and practices at the core of historical reports. Since its alchemic past, chemistry has worked with and on materials, so that its history is also a "material history". Thus, in the wake of this "material turn", it is up to philosophy and the history of chemistry to perceive the chemical substances, the chemists that create them and the industries that produce them as part of culture, society and politics. This overlap between chemical reasoning and materiality as well as the artificial character of its products makes chemistry an eminently technoscientific science. In this context, we will analyze the most general aspect that led us to identify it as "technoscientific", the hybrid that exists between chemistry and society. With that, we intend to argue in favor of considering the modern societal necessities (material, environmental, and human) with chemistry, in an effort to build a more harmonious relationship, being that it will be long and, maybe, indissoluble. Following that, our aim is to develop a concept that cannot be separated from the capillarity of chemistry in societies and the environment, the imprevisibility and essential uncertainty of the behavior of chemical entities in multiple contexts. Finally, we will highlight some reflections concerning chemical ethics associated with the production and creation of new substances that may become a part of the lifeworld.


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Special Issue: Science and Values