Friday, September 18, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (04)

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).

Multiple Contrasts, Emergence and Art
What are ordinarily termed 'relations' are abstractions from contrasts. A relation can be found in many contrasts; and when it is so found, it is said to relate the things contrasted. The term 'multiple contrast' will be used when there are or may be more than two elements jointly contrasted, and it is desired to draw attention to that fact. A multiple contrast is analysable into component dual contrasts. But a multiple contrast is not a mere aggregation of dual contrasts. It is one contrast, over and above its component contrasts. This doctrine that a multiple contrast cannnot be conceived as a mere disjunction of dual contrasts is the basis of the doctrine of emergent evolution. It is the doctrine of real unities being more than the same ground as the objection to the class-theory of particular substances. The doctrine is a commonplace of art. (228-229)
Superject and Feeling
The term 'subject' has been retained because in this sense it is familiar in philosophy. But it is misleading. The term 'superject' would be better. The subject-superject is the purpose of the process originating the feelings. The feelings are inseparable from the end at which they aim; and this end is the feeler. The feelings aim at the feeler, as their final cause. The feelings are what they are in order that their subject may be what it is. Then transcendently, since the subject is what it is in virtue of its feelings, it is only by means of its feelings that the subject objectively conditions the creativity transcendent beyond itself. In our own relatively high grade of human existence, this doctrine of feelings and their subject is responsible for being what it is in virtue of its feelings. It is also derivatively responsible for the consequences of its existence because they flow from its feelings.