We are currently undergoing maintainence, please come back soon. We are currently undergoing maintainence, please come back soon. We diverge from Descartes by holding that what he has described as primary attributes of physical bodies, are really the forms of internal relationships between actual occasions.
Whitehead’s background was an unusual one for a speculative philosopher. Educated as a mathematician, he became, through his coauthorship and 1913 publication of Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell, a major logician. The following is an attempt to provide an accessible outline of some of the main ideas in Whitehead’s Process and Reality, based on the book itself, but guided by a general reading of secondary sources, especially I. Whitehead often speaks of the metaphysics of Process and Reality as ‘the philosophy of organism’.
The cosmology elaborated in Process and Reality posits an ontology based on the two kinds of existence of entity, that of actual entity and that of abstract entity or abstraction. The ultimate abstract principle of actual existence for Whitehead is creativity. Actual existence is a process of becoming, and ” ‘becoming’ is a creative advance into novelty.
It is manifest in what can be called ‘singular causality’. This term may be contrasted with ‘nomic causality’. An example of singular causation is that I woke this morning because my alarm clock rang.
An actual entity is a general philosophical term for an utterly determinate and completely concrete individual particular of the actually existing world or universe of changeable entities considered in terms of singular causality, about which categorical statements can be made. For Whitehead, the actual entities exist as the only foundational elements of reality, the ultimately existing facts of the world. The actual entities are of two kinds, temporal and atemporal.