Prigogine and the many voices of nature

Foundations of Chemistry 14 (3):205-219 (2012)
Ilya Prigogine was not a systematic author: his ideas, covering a wide arch of areas, are dispersed in his many writings. In particular, his philosophical thought has to be reconstructed mainly on the basis of his works in collaboration with Isabelle Stengers: La Nouvelle Alliance ( 1979 ), Order out of Chaos ( 1984 ), and Entre le Temps et l’Éternité ( 1988 ). In this paper I undertake that reconstruction in order to argue that Prigogine’s position, when read in the light of Putnam’s internalist realism, can be characterized as an ontological pluralism. The main aim of this work is to show the striking parallelism between the philosophical views of Prigogine and Stengers and those of Hilary Putnam in Reason , Truth and History ( 1981 ). This task will lead me to critically review Prigogine’s general scientific program: the attempt to establish the foundations of objective irreversibility.
Keywords Prigogine  Putnam  Ontological pluralism  Irreversibility
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DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9140-y
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