Ideas of Alfred North Whitehead, by Theme

[British, 1861 - 1947, Born in Kent. Worked with Russell in England, then a Professor at Harvard University.]

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1. Philosophy / C. History of Philosophy / 2. Ancient Philosophy / c. Classical philosophy
European philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato
     Full Idea: The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
     From: Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality [1929], p.39)
     A reaction: Outsiders think this is a ridiculous remark, but readers of Plato can only be struck by what a wonderful tribute Whitehead has come up with. I would say that at least 80% of this database deals with problems which were discussed at length by Plato.
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 2. Domain of Quantification
With 'extensive connection', boundary elements are not included in domains
     Full Idea: In Whitehead's theory of extensive connection, no boundary elements are included in the domain of quantification. ...His conception of space contains no parts of lower dimensions, such as points or boundary elements.
     From: report of Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality [1929]) by Achille Varzi - Mereology 3.1
     A reaction: [Varzi says we should see B.L.Clarke 1981 for a rigorous formulation. Second half of the Idea is Varzi p.21]
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 2. Processes
In Whitehead 'processes' consist of events beginning and ending
     Full Idea: There are no items in Whitehead's ontology called 'processes'. Rather, the term 'process' refers to the way in which the basic things - which are still events - come into existence and cease to exist. Whitehead called this 'becoming'.
     From: report of Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality [1929]) by Peter Simons - Whitehead: process and cosmology 'The mature'
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation
Whitehead held that perception was a necessary feature of all causation
     Full Idea: On Whitehead's view, not only is a volitional sense of 'causal power' projected on to physical events, but 'perception in the causal mode' is literally ascribed to them.
     From: report of Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality [1929]) by Harré,R./Madden,E.H. - Causal Powers 3.II
     A reaction: This seems to be a close relative of Leibniz's monads. 'Perception' is a daft word for it, but in some way everything is 'responsive' to the things adjacent to it.
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / a. Constant conjunction
If impressions, memories and ideas only differ in vivacity, nothing says it is memory, or repetition
     Full Idea: Hume confuses 'repetition of impressions' with 'impression of repetitions of impressions'. ...In order of 'force and vivacity' we have: impressions, memories, ideas. This omits the vital fact that memory is memory; the notion of repetition is lost.
     From: Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality [1929], V.II)
     A reaction: [compressed; Harré and Madden spotted this idea] This seems to pinpoint rather nicely the hopeless thinness of Hume's account. He is so desperate to get it down to minimal empirical experience that his explanations are too thin. One big idea....
27. Natural Reality / C. Space / 3. Points in Space
Whitehead replaced points with extended regions
     Full Idea: Whitehead tried to avoid points, and make do with extended regions and sets of regions.
     From: report of Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality [1929]) by Willard Quine - Existence and Quantification p.93