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Department of Philosophy

Staff

Professor Robin Hendry, BSc, PhD

Personal web page

Professor/Director of Research in the Department of Philosophy

Contact Professor Robin Hendry

Biography

I graduated with a BSc in Chemistry and the Philosophy of Science from King's College London and the LSE, in 1989. Foundational problems in quantum chemistry prompted me to sign up for a PhD in Philosophy at the LSE, though my thesis, when completed in late 1993, was entitled 'Realism, history and the quantum theory'. It mostly concerned Imre Lakatos' views on methodology, the historical development of quantum theory, and scientific realism. My first lectureship was at the University of Edinburgh (January-September 1994), after which I came to Durham in October 1994. Since then I have worked on scientific realism, modeling in the physical sciences, and the history and philosophy of chemistry and its relationship to physics.

My areas of research include: philosophical issues in chemistry such as the nature of chemical substances, molecular structure and the chemical bond; and general metaphysical issues in science such as unity and natural kinds. For a list of publications and works in progress see my personal research page.

Recent Grants and Awards

  • 2013-16: The Durham Emergence Project (John Templeton Foundation)
    Three-year interdisciplinary research initiative across philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and condensed matter physics, involving postdoctoral fellowships, PhD studentships, a research funding competition, two summer schools and a final conference. (Co-Investigators Professor E.J. Lowe, Professor T. McLeish). For further details see http://www.dur.ac.uk/emergence/.
  • 2014: (As co-investigator, PI Sophie Gibb) 'Emergence: Where is the Evidence?'
    Research Networking Scheme, Arts and Humanities Research Council.
  • 2012: 'Structure in Chemistry: A Preliminary Investigation'
    Exploratory Award, Arts and Humanities Research Council. For further details see http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/documents/case-studies/structure-in-chemistry-a-preliminary-investigation.
  • 2009: Fellowship under the theme of 'Water'
    Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University
  • 2005: 'The Metaphysics of Chemistry'
    Research Leave Scheme, Arts & Humanities Research Council
  • 2003-4: 'The Metaphysics of Chemistry'
    Research Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust

Works in Progress

  • With my Durham colleagues Sophie Gibb and Tom Lancaster I am currently editing a Handbook of Emergence for Routledge. For a number of years I have also been completing a monograph entitled The Metaphysics of Chemistry.
  • Books apart, my research covers all aspects of the history and philosophy of chemistry and its relationship to physics. I am currently writing papers on the historical development of theories of structure in chemistry, and on whether molecular structure can be considered to be emergent.

Research Interests

  • History and philosophy of chemistry and its relationship to physics
  • The relationship between history and philosophy of science

Research supervision

  • I have supervised a range of PhD research projects in the philosophy of science and epistemology. I would especially welcome enquiries from students wishing to pursue postgraduate research on foundational and historical topics in chemistry and other physical sciences.

Postgraduate teaching

  • Philosophical Issues in Science and Medicine

Undergraduate teaching modules

Administrative duties

  • Director of Research in the Department of Philosophy

Research Groups

  • History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine
  • Mind, Language and Metaphysics

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Hendry, R.F. (2017). Mechanisms and reduction in organic chemistry. In EPSA15 Selected Papers: The 5th conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association in Düsseldorf. European Studies in Philosophy of Science, volume 5. Massimi, M., Romeijn, J.W. & Schurz, G. Cham: Springer. 111-124.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2017). Prospects for strong emergence in chemistry. In Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward Causation. Francesco Orilia, F. & Paoletti, M.P. New York: Routledge. 146-163.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2015). Are chemical kinds natural kinds?. In Recent Developments in the Philosophy of Science: EPSA13 Helsinki. Maki, U Votsis, I, Ruphy, S & Schurz, G Springer International Publishing. 1: 251-261.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2013). Chemistry. In Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science. Curd, M & Psillos, S London: Routledge. 586-596.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2013). Kinetics, models and mechanism. In Models, Simulations, and the Reduction of Complexity. Gähde, U, Hartmann, S & Henning Wolf, J Berlin: De Gruyter. 221-227.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2013). Three metaphysical issues in chemistry. In Philosophy of Chemistry: Practices, Methodologies, and Concepts. Llored, J-P Cambridge Scholars’ Press. 522-539.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). ¿Hay causación descendente en química?. In Filosofía de la química. Síntesis de una nueva disciplina. Baird, D, Scerri, E & McIntyre, L FONDO DE CULTURA ECONÓMICA (FCE).
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794). In Philosophy of Chemistry (Volume 6). Hendry, R.F., Needham, P, Woody, A eBook ISBN: 9780080930763 Hardcover ISBN: 9780444516756 Imprint: North Holland & Published Date: 1st November 2011 Elsevier.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). Charles Coulson (1910-1974). In Philosophy of Chemistry (Volume 6). Hendry, R.F., Needham, P & Woody, A Elsevier.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). Chemical Bond. In Philosophy of Chemistry (Volume 6). Hendry, R.F., Needham, P & Woody, A Elsevier.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). Elements. In Philosophy of Chemistry (Volume 6). Hendry, R.F., Needham, P & Woody, A Elsevier.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). Linus Pauling (1901-1994). In Philosophy of Chemistry (Volume 6). Hendry, R.F., Needham, P & Woody, A Elsevier.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). Philosophy of chemistry. In The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Science. French, S & Saatsi, J Bloomsbury Academic. 293-313.
  • Hendry, R.F. , Weisberg, M & Needham, P (2011). Philosophy of Chemistry. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Zalta, E.N. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2011). Reduction, Emergence and Physicalism. In Philosophy of Chemistry (Volume 6). Hendry, R.F., Needham, P & Woody, A Elsevier.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2010). 'The elements and conceptual change'. In The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Beebee, H & Sabbarton-Leary, N New York Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 137-158.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2010). Chemistry: emergence vs. reduction. In Emergence in Mind. Macdonald, C & Macdonald, G Oxford University Press.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2010). The chemical bond: structure, energy and explanation. In EPSA Philosophical Issues in the Sciences. Dorato, M, Rèdei, M Suarez, M & (eds.) EPSA Philosophical Issues in the Sciences: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association (Berlin: Springer, 2010), 117-27 Springer Netherlands. 117-127.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2008). Chemistry. In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science. Psillos, S & Curd, M Routledge.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2008). Microstructuralism: Problems and Prospects. In Stuff: The Nature of Chemical Substances. Ruthenberg, K & Brakel, JV Königshausen und von Neumann.
  • Hendry, R.F. & Psillos, S (2007). How to do things with theories: an interactive view of language and models in science. In The Courage of Doing Philosophy. Brzeziński, J, Klawiter, A, Kuipers, T.A.F., Łastowski, K, Paprzycka, K & Przybysz, P Rodopi.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2003). Filosofia della chimica. In Filosofie delle Scienze. Vassallo, N Einaudi.
  • Hendry, R.F. (2001). Mathematics, Representation and Molecular Structure. In Tools and Modes of Representation in the Laboratory Sciences. Klein, U Springer.

Conference Proceeding

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Journal Article

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