Friday, September 4, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (01)

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (Gifford Lectures 1927-28, Corrected Edition), ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, New York: The Free Press, 1978.

Aesthetics in Naturalism

In the second part, the discussion of modern thought have been confined to the most general notions of physics and biology, with a careful avoidance of all detail. Also, it must be one of the motives of a complete cosmology to construct a system of ideas which brings the aesthetic, moral and religious interests into relation with those concepts of the world which have their origin in natural science. (xii)

Relatedness and Quality

In these lectures, 'relatedness' is dominant over 'quality.' All relatedness has its foundation in the relatedness of actualities; and such relatedness is wholly concerned with the appropriation of the dead by the living—that is to say, with 'objective immortality' whereby what is divested of its own living immediacy becomes a real component in other living immediacies of becoming. This is the doctrine that the creative advance of the world is the becoming, the perishing and the objective immortalites of those things which jointly constitute stubborn fact. (xiii-xiv)

Experience and Difference

Our datum is the actual world, including ourselves; and this actual world spreads itself for observation in the guise of the topic of our immediate experience. The elucidation of immediate experience is the sole justification for any thought; and the starting point for thought is the analytic observation of components of this experience. [...] We habitually observe by the method of difference. Sometimes we see an elephant, when present, is noticed. (4)