Foundations of Chemistry

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 205–219 | Cite as

Prigogine and the many voices of nature

  • Olimpia Lombardi


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.


Prigogine Putnam Ontological pluralism Irreversibility 



I am extremely grateful to Jean-Pierre Llored, whose relevant observations have improved the final version of this paper. I also want to thank John Earley, Rom Harré, Eric Scerri, Pieter Thyssen and the participants of the ISPC-2010 for their interesting comments. This paper was partially supported by grants of the National Agency of Scientific and Technological Research (ANCYT), the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and the Buenos Aires University (UBA).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONICETUniversity of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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