Ontology Interrupted: Prigogine, Stengers and the Abdication of Physics

Paganellli, Mattia. 2017. Ontology Interrupted: Prigogine, Stengers and the Abdication of Physics. Pulse: a History, Sociology & Philosophy of Science Journal(5), pp. 46-70. ISSN 2416-111X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The work of physicist Ilya Prigogine has exposed a radical asymmetry at the heart of physics: different mathematical conceptualisations of the same problem produce equally valid but not equivalent representations of matter and the universe. This article examines the philosophical implications of this asymmetry, proposing that the impact of Prigogine’s methodological innovation cannot be constrained within the epistemological perimeter but explodes into an ontological problem that brings a challenge to the image of philosophy in its entirety. The argument departs from Isabelle Stengers’ position, who – both as Prigogine’s collaborator and independently – has interpreted this non-equivalence of the syntax of physics’ formulations via the Deleuzean notion of counter-actualisation, and has entrusted philosophy with the task of speculating upon this epistemological divergence as an ontological problem. It will suggest instead that the local asymmetry shown by Prigogine’s inside the practice of physics bars the convergence of physics and philosophy onto one onto-epistemological ultimate. It will show in detail how these impossibility and finitude cannot be considered as the object of ontological investigation, but have instead an impact on ontology’s very logic. That is, they radically disrupt the hierarchy still implied in the distinction between language and matter, demanding that philosophy abandons any claim of acting as a meta-discourse for science and instead conceives of itself and of its task as a practice.

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Visual Cultures



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Date Deposited:

12 Apr 2024 12:35

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12 Apr 2024 12:35

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