Ontological Status of Atomic and Molecular Orbitals in the Context of the Autonomy of Chemistry
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The question of the existence of orbitals is analyzed. The author argues that it is not possible to answer this question univocally if one accepts the assumption of Arthur Fine's 'natural ontological attitude'. From the point of view of theoretical chemistry there are no such things as orbitals. However, diagrammatic representations of atomic and molecular orbitals are very effective tools in the laboratory practice of chemistry and the process of teaching chemistry. For this reason it is advantageous to interpret them realistically.
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