Foundations of Chemistry

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 311-326

First online:

Austere quantum mechanics as a reductive basis for chemistry

  • Hinne HettemaAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, The University of Auckland Email author 

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This paper analyses Richard Bader’s ‘operational’ view of quantum mechanics and the role it plays in the the explanation of chemistry. I argue that QTAIM can partially be reconstructed as an ‘austere’ form of quantum mechanics, which is in turn committed to an eliminative concept of reduction that stems from Kemeny and Oppenheim. As a reductive theory in this sense, the theory fails. I conclude that QTAIM has both a regulatory and constructive function in the theories of chemistry.


Operational quantum mechanics Operationalism Atoms in molecules Electron density Reduction Explanation