Alfred North Whitehead

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Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead OM (born February 15, 1861 in Ramsgate , † December 30, 1947 in Cambridge , Massachusetts ) was a British philosopher and mathematician .

Alfred Whitehead became known through the standard work " Principia Mathematica " on logic , which he published in three volumes between 1910 and 1913 together with his long-time student and friend Bertrand Russell . It represented the attempt to trace back all true mathematical statements and proofs to a symbolic logic in the sense of the logistic program . Although a planned fourth volume was no longer published and the question of whether the attempt itself was successful continues to be controversial, “Principia Mathematica” became one of the most influential books in the history of mathematics and logic.

During his time in London from 1911 to 1924, Whitehead made a name for himself as a natural philosopher , as a science theorist , as a critic of education at Great Britain's universities and as the author of several books on education.

After his appointment to Harvard University in 1924, he was able to devote himself entirely to the further development of his process-philosophical metaphysics . His main philosophical work is " Process and Reality " (1929), in which he gave his "Philosophy of Organism" the form that later became the basis of process theology . In it, on the basis of rationality and coherence, he structures reality as an organism that takes place in elementary events and is in an evolutionary development. Although the secondary philosophical literature on Whitehead is extensive, the influence of his metaphysics on academic philosophy has remained modest to this day.

Family, school and studies

Alfred North Whitehead was born in Ramsgate , a small port town in south-east England, in 1861 . He was the youngest of the four children of Alfred Whitehead, an Anglican minister, and Maria Sarah Buckmaster, a daughter of a wealthy merchant. His father taught him at home until the age of 14, as Alfred's health was judged by his parents to be too weak for attending a public school and the physical activity involved. From September 1875 he was taught four years at the Sherbourne Independent School in Dorset , where his outstanding mathematical talent showed. In 1879 Whitehead received a scholarship to Trinity College in Cambridge and began studying mathematics there in 1880. At Trinity College he attended lectures by James Whitbread Lee Glaisher , Arthur Cayley and George Gabriel Stokes, among others . In the "Tripos" (the written, very competitive mathematics exams in Cambridge, which are not only decisive for a mathematical career) in 1883/84, for which he was preparing with Edward Routh , he was fourth best.


Start of career

In 1884 Whitehead became a Fellow and Assistant Lecturer and later (1888) Lecturer in Cambridge, although he hardly published. Also in 1884 he was in the debating society of the Cambridge Apostles added. Here he met personalities such as Moore , Keynes and McTaggart , and his interest in philosophy, theology and other sciences was awakened and developed. In 1884 Whitehead wrote his thesis on Maxwell's theory of electrodynamics . During a free semester in 1885, he traveled to Germany to attend mathematics lectures with Felix Klein .

In 1890 Whitehead married Evelyn Willoughby Wade, who came from a noble family and had been raised in France. The couple had three children, two sons, Thomas North and Eric Alfred, and a daughter, Jessie Marie. The younger of the two sons, Eric Alfred Whitehead, died in 1918 during a patrol flight in France during the First World War with the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Air Force . The marriage, which lasted until his death, was a great asset to Whitehead's thinking from the start. In particular, his wife's interest in aesthetics inspired him to include these aspects in his fundamental reflections on nature.

Although Alfred North Whitehead was at home through his family and upbringing in the Anglican Church, in 1890 he began a multi-year study of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church . This interest was stimulated and influenced by his wife and the writings of John Henry Newman . This time ended after a decade with Whitehead's statement that he had now adopted an agnostic attitude towards religions, in his own words influenced by the rapid progress in physics and the associated departure from Newton's worldview.

Principia Mathematica

Title page of the Principia Mathematica

From 1891 he worked on the work " Treatise on Universal Algebra " , a very ambitious work on comparative studies of purely symbolically based arguments, which, however, did not appear until 1898. Because of the Treatise, Whitehead was elected to the Royal Society in 1903 . From 1890 Whitehead was also the teacher of Bertrand Russell after he began his studies in Cambridge. Their collaboration on the "Principia Mathematica" probably began in late 1901 or early 1902. The occasion was their visit to the International Mathematics Congress in Paris in 1900, where they got to know Giuseppe Peano's work on the fundamentals of mathematics. Whitehead and Russell subsequently became good friends in private too. Russell continued Peano's approaches with the outstanding publication "Principles of Mathematics" (1903). This work is based on the claim to present logic as the fundamental principle of mathematics. With the “Principia Mathematica” it should then be shown that the entire arithmetic can be traced back to a set of axioms and rules of inference that can be derived directly from logic. In doing so, the authors continued the fundamental advances in mathematics and logic made by George Boole , Charles S. Peirce , Gottlob Frege , Hermann Graßmann and others from the second half of the 19th century. The work on the “Principia Mathematica” led both of them to their physical and psychological limits and occupied them a great deal until the publication of the first volume in 1910. In order to finally publish the three volumes with Cambridge University Press , Whitehead and Russel each had to contribute 50 pounds from their own pockets. For this collaboration Whitehead gave up on the planned second volume of his Universal Algebra.

Despite his work on "Principia Mathematica" Whitehead did not make a typical mathematician career in Cambridge. His interest remained focused on the acquisition and elaboration of the fundamentals of logic and mathematics. Some of his few publications during this time are "On Mathematical Concepts of the Material World" (1905), "Axioms of Projective Geometry" (1907) and "Axioms of Descriptive Geometry" (1907). In 1911, Whitehead published an introduction to mathematics aimed at the general public ( "An Introduction to Mathematics" ), which became widely popular and is still considered one of the best books of its kind today.


Photo of the entrance portal of Imperial College
Entrance portal of Imperial College, London

In 1910 Whitehead gave up his position in Cambridge and went to London without the prospect of a concrete job. The external reason was the loss of the fellowship of his friend and colleague Andrew Russell Forsyth . A year later he was appointed lecturer for pure mathematics at University College London and in 1914 a professorship for applied mathematics (at that time not differentiated from physics) at the Imperial College of Science.

Theory of Education

During his time in London, Whitehead took on several positions in academic administration, including as Dean of the Faculty of Science, as a member of various committees for reforming university education and as a member of the Senate of the University of London . Here he tried to put his criticism of the too conservative university institutions into practice.

In 1916, in "The Aims of Education and Other Essays", he summarized his demands for a successful education and training. For Whitehead, creativity and accuracy or freedom and discipline are not only the fundamental elements of his philosophy and the ideals of working in mathematics, but also the general ideals of a person's upbringing. Upbringing should not be the mediation of rigid ideals and content, but rather stimulate people to develop themselves. It is successful when it leads to an intensified awareness of the present. In the ideal case, the result is the development of one's own "intellectual style", the "highest morality of the spirit", an aesthetic value that gives all experience processes their meaning and continues to be expressed in an "admiration" for the direct achievement of a goal without superfluities .

The beginnings of natural philosophy

Title page of the first natural-philosophical work Whitehead: Inquiry concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge

Whitehead, who had never attended a lecture in philosophy, now gradually began to publish his ideas of a natural-philosophical foundation. His lifelong leitmotif was the elaboration of a system of the fundamental elements of reality, which he formulated with the help of a creative speculative philosophy , but also constantly checked against the criteria of logic and coherence .

"Speculative philosophy is the effort to design a coherent, logical, and necessary system of general ideas on the basis of which every element of our experience can be interpreted."

- TO Whitehead : Process and Reality, p. 31

At the beginning of his considerations there were often fundamental philosophical problems from the theory and practice of logic, mathematics and physics.

Geometry and logic

Since ancient Greece, Euclidean geometry has been the epitome of man's ability to understand the nature of space in terms of general laws. This knowledge even seemed to be possible a priori , i.e. before and independently of any experience. After the advent of alternative geometries in the 19th century, on the other hand, geometry could no longer claim to describe real space. But as the Einstein theory of relativity , the Riemann geometry requires , concluded Whitehead that it is not possible to decide what geometry actually describes the room. Likewise, the irrevocability of the Aristotelian “classical logic” as a reflection of reality has proven to be deceptive as a result of the progress of logic. In Whitehead's view, this even led to a crisis of reason . Both insights therefore shake our idea of ​​understanding nature with the help of our everyday experience.

Space, time and matter

The basis of the scientific terminology in Newtonian physics and the underlying natural scheme are the independent categories of " space ", " time " and "matter". For Newton, space and time are like a container in which every piece of matter has a specific place. For Whitehead, however, this mechanistic conception of nature is generally unsuitable for representing changes. For example, every change in direction of a (theoretically infinitely hard) body in classical mechanics would have to take place at an infinitely high speed. The application of this scheme in physics leads, according to Whitehead, to the “fallacy of misplaced concreteness ”. He argues that the apparently unambiguous assignment of very abstract and simplistic terms to comprehensive descriptions of reality does not coincide with our immediate experience, because we always need a concrete whole in order to isolate a part from it. Part of the problem is the “fallacy of simple location”. The assignment of a point in space to a certain form of matter presupposes the independence of both categories. According to Whitehead, however, this inevitably leads to contradictions. The same is true of the relationship between time and matter. So the past must be present in the present so that we can have memories that correspond to the material form. Likewise, matter is assigned an "instantaneous existence", that is, a non-temporal presence, which for Whitehead contradicts any experience, which only mediates existence on the basis of a duration.

Criticism of substance materialism

The substance metaphysics since Aristotle is based, according to Whitehead on a strong orientation of thought and philosophy at the subject-predicate structure of everyday language. According to Whitehead, we consider things that last a long time to be more real than things that only appear briefly in our consciousness. However, since every perception, every measurement and every event "lasts", for Whitehead the events themselves and not the things or the facts (as according to Wittgenstein's ontology in the Tractatus ) are the actual basic building blocks of reality. The usual, substance-materialistic view is that we always attach an event to a substance "with" which something happens. Whitehead strictly rejects the separation of the substances “matter” and “spirit” in Cartesian dualism . Nothing in our experience, he writes, consists entirely of matter or entirely of spirit. Whitehead, however, recognizes the differences between matter and spirit and does not attempt to undo them in a neutral monism . In his later metaphysics, the areas of matter and spirit form the “poles” of the “real events”, which are then the fundamental building blocks of reality.

Real events

In 1920, Whitehead presented a natural-philosophical approach in “The Concept of Nature”, the basic term for which is to denote these basic building blocks the “actual entity”. The event is whatever is part of reality, the substance-material categories of subjectivity and objectivity or of reality and appearance play no role in this. Whitehead also avoids the search for a soul substance or the determination of the “essence of matter”, which determines many ontologies . Real individuals are atomic, their aspects and properties cannot have an independent existence. The concrete consciousness of a person in a moment is a real individual being, as is “the most trivial breath of being in the far-off empty space” (“Process and Reality”, p. 58) and ultimately also God . Its being is a process of becoming, its determination is highly dependent on the relationships to ultimately all other real individuals.

The apparent persistence of things is derived from the constant repetition of the events which these things have as their content. Things that have only one possible purpose cannot change and so last forever. Whitehead calls these "eternal objects" or "pure potentials". Together with the concept of “prehensions”, they form the heart of Whitehead's later metaphysics.

The elements of the traditional conception of nature such as “space” are then understood and constructed as a phenomenon. “Duration”, “ relationality ” and “meaning” are not terms constructed after the fact in the natural sciences , but rather become the basic elements of the conception of nature at Whitehead. If, according to the traditional view, matter is real and the changes appear in it, then passive, unchangeable matter in Whitehead becomes the appearance of natural reality, which is determined by events and changes. A constant repetition of events is characteristic of the appearance of thingness; the deception is the assumption of the independent existence of a thing, the real is the event. For example, measuring the atomic weight of a lead atom is a one-time, real event. Only the repetition of this event leads to the assumption of an independent object “lead” including its property “weight”. Both are constructed abstractions and for Whitehead have no equivalent in the fundamental reality of nature.

“[...] Space, time and matter are attributes of events. According to the old theory of relativity, space and time are relations between particles of matter; according to our theory they are relations between events. "

- An Inquiry into the Principles of Natural Knowledge, p. 25

As Whitehead admits, we do not yet have a scientific method, or even a principle, for determining the current - and necessarily finite - number and duration of real events. However, he only sees mathematics at the beginning of its development and therefore does not give any further thought to this fact.

Method of extensive abstraction

In "Inquiry concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge" (1919) Whitehead presented his method of "extensive abstraction". Apparently simple basic elements of Euclidean geometry, but also of mathematical physics like a point, are pure abstractions for Whitehead. In order to derive this from the real elements of the experience, he formulates a relation of “being extended over”. A set of events can be put together to form a complex class that converges in a kind of interval nesting against the geometric element, similar to the Russian puppets . The method of extensive abstraction was later expanded by Alfred Tarski and is known today under the name " Point-free geometry ".

Theory of Science and History of Science

Whitehead examines science as part of the life process and its method of gaining knowledge with regard to its natural-philosophical interpretation. In his observations on the history of science, he sometimes comes to similar results as later Paul Feyerabend and Kuhn , but assesses them differently. In the sciences, too, according to Whitehead, there are conservative and revolutionary tendencies, as in politics; To see science as a company striving purely for truth and knowledge is far too naive in his eyes. When the conservative, obscure , survival-oriented scientific structures gain the upper hand, anything new that doesn't fit into the scheme is deemed irrelevant. Every scientific method is in a "phase of life". At the beginning, experiences that were previously ignored are integrated, followed by systematization (for Kuhn: "normal science") and the final phase, in which only minor issues are discussed and the actual content-related questions are no longer dealt with. The relevance of new cognitive goals is denied and the old methodology is preserved for its own sake. Whitehead contrasts this with a “methodically controlled speculation” which is intended to protect against charlatanism on the one hand and obscurantism on the other . The method is generally logic and mathematics.

For Whitehead, the obscurantism of modern science consists primarily in the absurd denial of the usefulness of nature. Whitehead asks pointedly: What is the purpose of a scientist who denies the usefulness in nature? The expediency of gaining knowledge, which by definition is aimed at something new beyond preservation, must therefore lie outside a nature that is itself not subject to expediency.


Massachusetts Hall photo
Massachusetts Hall

In the early twenties Whitehead was not only one of the most respected logicians and mathematicians (he wrote, for example, the article "Mathematics" for the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica ), but also an equally respected philosopher of science. On February 6, 1924, Whitehead was 63 years old, he received an invitation for a five-year philosophy professorship with no content restrictions at Harvard University in Cambridge ( Massachusetts , USA), which he took up in October of the same year. He quickly became known there for the fact that his lectures did not take into account the ability of his audience to follow his complex and content-heavy explanations. During his time in America, Whitehead accepted several visiting professorships in the country. In America and in American pragmatism , especially in the form represented by Peirce , Whitehead saw the "future" also in philosophical terms.

Critique of Scientific Materialism

One of his most notable books has emerged from several of the Lowell Lectures at Boston University. In Science and the Modern World (1925), Whitehead criticizes the materialism widespread in the natural sciences as the result of the error that holds the abstract systems of mathematically formulated physics to be reality. He sees the starting point for this development in the beginning of scientific research in the 17th century, when science and philosophy turned to the increasingly separate areas of nature and spirit. For Whitehead, this ultimately equates to a “desubjectivation of nature” and a “denaturalization of the subject”. This separation of man and his experience from a postulated objective reality in Newton's image of science was a frequent starting point for Whitehead's criticism and the elaboration of his process-oriented metaphysics.

Also on the basis of lectures, two more writings followed in which Whitehead expanded his new philosophical approach. In Religion in the Making (1926) he developed the idea of ​​an immanent understanding of God, which was incorporated into process theology . An independent theory of perception in which he criticized both the empiricism of David Hume and the idealism of Kant , he put in Symbolism. Its Meaning and Effect (1927).

Process and Reality

In January 1927 Whitehead received an invitation from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to attend a series of the famous Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology . Whitehead later expanded the scheduled ten lectures to 25 chapters. It was published in book form in 1929 with Process and Reality . An Essay in Cosmology “ his main philosophical work and one of the most important of Western metaphysics. Similar to his Gifford Lectures, from which the audience ran away in droves, “Process and Reality” , which was considered difficult to understand due to its difficult train of thought and idiosyncratic language, was only hesitantly received by the professional world.

This work also includes Whitehead's famous quote:

"The most certain general characterization of the philosophical tradition of Europe is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."

Late writings

"The function of Reason" ( function of reason ) from 1929 is a more epistemological approach which complements the process philosophy. 1929/1930 Whitehead Mary Flexner Lecturer at Bryn Mawr College . These lectures, along with others he had given at Dartmouth College and as Davis Lecturer in Columbia, were published in 1933 under the title The Adventures of Ideas . Whitehead referred to this work as a study of the concept of civilization and an attempt to understand how civilized beings come about. In addition to the history of ideas, Whitehead also added aesthetic considerations to his work . Finally, in 1938, shortly after Whitehead's retirement, Modes of Thought appeared , in which he gave his lectures at the University of Chicago , which he had already published under the title Nature and Life (1933), as well as lectures at Wellesley College from 1937/1938 summarized.

Retirement and appreciation

According to his student and biographer Victor Lowe , Whitehead was a popular teacher and person because of his courtesy and helpfulness, as well as being smart, engaging, calm and at times stubborn. Lowe characterized him as a man shaped by a Victorian way of life. In addition to a strong intuition, Whitehead was also characterized by a clear mind, a realistic mind, and kindness and wisdom. Whitehead did not retire until 1937 at the age of 76. But even after that he remained productive, still lecturing at Harvard and published, among other things, "Mathematics and the Good" and "Immortality" (both in 1941). Whitehead died on December 30, 1947; his body was cremated at his request and his ashes were buried on January 6, 1948 in the cemetery of Harvard Memorial Church. Also at his request, all of his unpublished writings were burned.

Whitehead received many awards during his career. Perhaps the most important is his election to the Royal Society in 1903. The Royal Society of Edinburgh awarded him the James Scott Prize in 1922. He was awarded the Sylvester Medal in 1925 for his work on the fundamentals of mathematics. In the same year, Whitehead was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . The Columbia University gave him their Butler Medal in 1930 and the following year he was appointed to the British Academy added. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1945 as an award for his life's work . Many universities have awarded him honorary doctorates, including Manchester, St. Andrews, Wisconsin, Harvard, Yale and Montreal.

Process philosophy

Many approaches and considerations of Whitehead's speculative philosophy culminate in his main work "Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology" on what is now known as the "process philosophy". Whitehead himself called his approach "Philosophy of Organism", which is mostly translated as "organismic philosophy", sometimes also with "organistic philosophy" or "organic philosophy". The formal core point of this consideration is the structuring of the world according to events and not according to "things". According to this view, events do not take place on the basis of things and can therefore not be reduced to things or derived from them. Whitehead considers the given events to be the fundamental elements of reality. In this way he tries to make the structure of the experience itself and not the categories of substance and quality the starting point for all description of nature. On the one hand, the organic element expresses the emergence and fading of events. On the other hand, Whitehead is referring to the properties of organisms , which are determined by purposeful and effective causes at the same time, and then transfers these to the elementary events.

The view of our everyday understanding, but also the view of the natural sciences, which describes reality as a collection of things (matter, energy, etc.), is therefore only derived from the events through abstraction. This redefinition of the fundamental elements of our conception of reality presents both the reading and the classification of Whitehead's philosophical works with constant difficulties. Like every metaphysical conception, Whitehead's approach must adopt existing terms and patterns of meaning and, on the one hand, limit them with logical clarity and, on the other hand, generalize them for a more comprehensive use. Whitehead is aware of this necessary difficulty in redefining it, and he describes his approach explicitly. The most important tools for checking the usability of his terminology are logic and coherence. In his opinion, the existing concept formation in the sciences, on the other hand, follows the subject-predicate structure of the (English) language too much, as well as the general dualism between subject and object as an epistemological category. This makes it even more difficult to understand and classify Whitehead's metaphysical terminology .

For example, the process-based approach is often classified as panpsychism . Whitehead himself sees this assessment, however, only as an expression of the inadequate "ontology of things". The contrast between matter and spirit as in Descartes or between transcendental, metaphysical and physical-empirical reality as in Kant is therefore only a consequence of this inadequacy. If “panpsychism” is defined from these dualities, then it is considered an idealistic position, which Whitehead vehemently opposes. Reiner Wiehl describes the metaphysics of process philosophy as "revised panpsychism" or "pan-subjectivism", since every "real event" has a physical and a mental pole. David R. Griffin created the term panexperientialism (with organizational duality) for Whitehead's point of view.

Further characterizations and consequences

The real events ("actual entities") as the basic building blocks of reality have a share in all other events via the "prehension". Capturing means something like (unconscious) perception or recording of a date and thus represents the basic, atomistic element of the relation . This capturing refers to all types of dependencies, such as causal and psychological influences, but also intentional ones. Beliefs and evaluations thus influence further events. Not only the fact of the existence of an event but also the way "how" it happens are determined by these conditions. They thus represent the past of an event and each event ultimately reflects the entire past reality. Completely contrary to substance in substance metaphysics, real events do not exist independently of one another. A real event is a product of its relation to other events. On the other hand, independence and autonomy or the idea of ​​an independence of closed systems must first be constructed from this reality. Relationality within a substance metaphysics is absurd for Whitehead. Every real event as an experienced subject is in turn captured as an object by other real events after its completion.

Events can be grouped by their relationship to one another. Whitehead calls events that are connected to one another through the mutual absorption of information a nexus (connection, context). The unity of a nexus arises in the perception of other events. The greatest nexus is the world itself, all others are, as it were, subordinate to it. Furthermore, events can be understood as “societies”. A society consists of a number of real individuals who share certain characteristics and thus set themselves apart from an environment. There is also the requirement that societies support themselves by constantly realizing their own timeless objects.

In contrast to the Nexus, societies are organized in time. Societies are an expression of the objects that we encounter in our everyday understanding, such as people, machines and other objects in our everyday life. With Whitehead these can thus also be constructed from the basic elements of his metaphysics and according to his requirements for rationality and coherence.

With the conception of “eternal objects” Whitehead comes very close to Plato's philosophy and his theory of ideas. Real events have the possibility of realizing certain properties. Whitehead also ascribes an existence to these “pure possibilities”, an existence that can be realized concretely and that in turn defines itself through the concrete realizations in events. These possibilities go into the concrete events, they are captured by them just like other real events. For Whitehead, this also explains the relative stability of the laws of nature and things that ultimately also change in the process of becoming.

Relationship to science

Whitehead sees his philosophy in a continuity with natural science in the sense of its understanding of reality. As a connoisseur of contemporary research (especially physics and biology), he integrates the results of scientific theory formation and takes them with him as a starting point for his philosophical conceptions. On the other hand, the philosophical discipline of metaphysics is often viewed across the board as incompatible with a positivistic and naturalistic orientation that dominates the natural sciences and philosophy of science today. However, among the natural philosophical elements on which the models of today's natural sciences are based, only those elements that can be operationalized and described mathematically (e.g. space, time) are dealt with explicitly. Other fundamental concepts such as causality , on the other hand, are only implicitly used in practical science. With Whitehead, on the other hand, the principle of causality is already explicitly given in the conception of relational events. His concern is not to exclude any elements of natural philosophy from the content of natural science by not reducing it to numerical-mathematical categories. Because the demand for invariant and generally valid laws of nature as well as the focus on mathematical description and technological usability shorten the concept of nature in the natural sciences inappropriately in Whitehead's view. The concreteness of sensual experience and the “flow of appearances”, which make up the actual, immediate reality, cannot be grasped with it. According to Whitehead, the cosmos loses its quality in the mechanistic interpretation and is reduced to the quantity , the quality is henceforth only assigned to the subject and his sensory experience. In favor of a mathematical abstraction, modern natural science also dispenses with an adequate and comprehensive description of reality. The ideal of pure empirical perception without subjective qualities from the natural sciences is therefore a subordinate idea that is only constructed from the repetition of concrete experiences.

Laws of nature

Whitehead identifies three different positions that express the relationship between the laws of nature and reality.

  1. Laws of nature impose a law on objects from outside. This is the classical position of physics as formulated by Isaac Newton and Descartes.
  2. The positivistic doctrine of the mere description of nature. Reality only comes here to the concrete measurement.
  3. The teaching of the immanent laws as preferred by Whitehead.

The criticism of positions 1 and 2 runs through most of his work in natural philosophy and science theory. Mathematical physics in particular appears to Whitehead in many ways useless for an adequate description of reality. The "things" are here separated from each other as well as from the laws. However, this cannot be justified by concrete experience. Furthermore, the essence of things can neither be deduced from the laws nor, conversely, inferred from the observation of things about the laws. The necessary theism in such a position was still conscious of its creators in the 17th century, but is mostly ignored today.

Evolution and teleology

The same applies to purposeful ( teleological ) aspects in the description of nature. For Whitehead, the fundamental elements of reality are not rendered devoid of purpose simply by examining them. Value and purpose-free conceptions are therefore in a materialistic view only nebulous results of a constructed "complexity" of living beings. Whitehead also denies to the same extent that phenomena of evaluation and purpose are less real than, for example, phenomena of gravity . Assessment and purpose setting ( consciousness ) idealistically and gravity realistically judging is therefore not justified. If one assumes the theory of evolution and regards all life as related, then it is “more empirical” not to look at life forms “from below”, but “from above”. According to Whitehead, the compulsion to explain later forms of life in terms of earlier results only from conservative tendencies in science.

The axiological and teleological phenomena that are undoubtedly present according to Whitehead must therefore not be regarded as “inferred” or “irrelevant”. Rather, teleology is a central property of living systems. In the process philosophy, future states are anticipated by present ones, but not determined deterministically. For Whitehead, organic and inorganic nature is just as dependent on feelings and intentions. According to Whitehead, however, we do not yet have a scientific method that could make these expressive relationships researchable. Furthermore, Whitehead sees the obvious realities of a biological organism as incompatible with a materialistic and mechanistic conception on which the biological natural sciences are based. An organism is inseparable from a duration of functioning, whereas the pure distribution of matter does not yet define an organism.


Whitehead describes the final cause of a real individual being as the “subjective goal”. Together with the recordings of the pure data as the effective cause, this determines the form of the real individual. The subjective goal forms the character of the real individual and can therefore not be determined by this itself. In order to maintain the consistency of the metaphysical approach, the ideal of each subjective goal must therefore lie outside, whereby again only one further real individual comes into consideration. This special real individual must unite all possibilities of timeless objects and also enter into the (conceptual) apprehension of every other real individual. Its existence and characterization is thus a direct consequence of the ontological structure of organismic philosophy. Whitehead calls this real individual God. God thus includes all timeless objects and thus enables an order in becoming. At the same time, however, he also enters into every concrete experience as a real individual. He is thus both immanent and transcendent in Whitehead ; transcendent as the totality of the possibilities that are opposed to realities, immanent as participation in the process of reality. Thus, God also changes by reacting to reality or the realized selection of possibilities. The god Whiteheads is thus a god in the making. In this respect, he does not specify a final order, but only ideals in a pulsating universe, in which order and chaos, growth and decay make up the real nature. And God's power is the power of persuasion, not deterministic coercion. The “subjective goal” of real individuals is influenced by God, but not determined. Thus there is no independent divine principle with Whitehead. This fact is often seen as one of the most important differences to conventional theological concepts of God.

The religious philosophers John B. Cobb , David Ray Griffin , Roland Faber , but especially Charles Hartshorne developed the process philosophy further to process theology . Especially in connection with the American-influenced pragmatism , this approach acquired a certain importance. The most important reception of Whitehead's metaphysics lies in this area. DW Sherburne developed a conception without God from the process philosophy in order to show that this element is not necessary in a complete process-philosophical metaphysics.


Whitehead sees the “error of simple localization” analogous to space also in dealing with the concept of time. A becoming, a development or a process can never be derived from separate points in time. He sees the solution in a quantization of time, as it is carried out in real individual beings. The emergence of these atomistic experiences is not itself “in time”, rather it is only when they are carried out that time constitutes time on the relationship level of macroscopic processes. Whitehead does not have a separate reality for the individual parts of a real individual being, so that one cannot speak of a before and after within an elementary experience. The persistence in time, on the other hand, is an abstraction from real events. Persistence means the constant repetition of real events (cf. “Societies”), whereby a repetition can only ever relate to certain characteristics. If the entire reality were to repeat itself, there would be nothing by which this could be determined.

For Whitehead the world has no beginning in time and no destination. Since the world has always been, one cannot speak of a comprehensive or absolute ideal towards which development as a whole could move. The ideal of creation is therefore to be sought directly in the basic elements of reality. Thus, for Whitehead, the ultimate goal is the greatest possible intensity of experience for any real individual.

Reason and worth

In " The function of Reason " ( "Function of Reason") (1929) developed Whitehead a concept of reason, which is adapted to the actual living conditions of organisms. According to this, reason is not only derived from the survival of a living being, but also from “living well” and “living better”. The art of living consists in firstly living at all, secondly living in a satisfactory way, and thirdly being able to achieve an even higher degree of satisfaction. Inorganic structures are often perfectly persistent, but this does not make them any more reasonable. For Whitehead, “living well” and “living better” are the value-creating goals of living beings. The mere persistence takes a back seat to the increase in intensity in experience. Accordingly, it is wrong for Whitehead to make the persistence of inanimate things the sole measure of a concept of reason in the natural sciences.

Value is thus attributed to the real individual and is described by Whitehead as the measure of self-realization in relation to the ideal of the subjective goal. The more intense the experience of one's own subjectivity, the higher the value of the event. An increase in this is possible through the approach to the ideal of God, but also through a higher degree of freedom that is given to the real individual. The ideal of creation itself is, as it were, the greatest possible intensity of all individual beings. In this sense, value presupposes difference. According to Whitehead, the indifferent objects of scientific abstractions can therefore have no value.


For Whitehead, the principle of the emergence and disappearance of real individuals is nothing other than the empirical fact of creativity . In Whitehead's metaphysics it takes on the status of an accident and does not only exist as a property of individual beings , but together with the pair of concepts of the one and the many forms its own category. In the reception, the importance of the principle of creativity in describing the world remains controversial. Understood as a pure property of the process of becoming, it has either an abstract or a descriptive role. On the other hand, as an overarching, structuring principle, creativity could not only refer to the ground of being, but also describe the ground of knowledge.


Math and philosophy

As a young mathematician, Whitehead continued approaches and work in the field of logic and mathematics, which were started by Gottlob Frege , George Boole , Giuseppe Peano and Hermann Graßmann in the 19th century. The "Treatise of Universal Algebra" is one of the last significant works in the field of an "Algebra of Logic", the content of which is in the tradition of Boolean algebra. In the “Principia Mathematica” Russell and Whitehead then use a notation system that is clearly influenced by Frege and Peano. This applies in particular to procedures such as the axiomatic definition of elements, methods and symbols that is detached from the known algebraic structures.

Whitehead was a great admirer of Charles S. Peirce . Like Peirce, he saw in the developments of modern logic and algebra beyond their application in mathematics a new tool for the development of a metaphysics that should take better account of the knowledge of the natural sciences. Russell's influence on Whitehead is rather small. Although both initially sympathized with British idealism , the longer the collaboration lasted, the more their different philosophical positions emerged.

In the tradition of British empiricists such as John Locke and David Hume , Whitehead always proceeds strictly empirically in his work. He tries to derive every natural-philosophical statement and every metaphysical construction from direct sensory experience. The works of Henri Bergson also have a special influence . Whitehead takes up Bergson's criticism of the "spatialization" of natural processes, which through its application in the natural sciences also shapes our everyday thinking. With Bergson there is a fundamental difference between duration as a quality of experience on the one hand and time as a quantitative concept of a time continuum on the other. The experience is “unexpanded”, but any kind of time measurement involves a projection of duration into space. With regard to the relationship of (scientific) concepts and theories to reality, Whitehead is an empirical realist like Kant , whose transcendental idealism he rejects, however. Whitehead explicitly referred to Leibniz 's doctrine of monads . In contrast to the doctrine of monads, he tries to derive regularities from the interrelationships between the monads and the real individual beings themselves. In contrast, Leibniz's general laws have their origin in God and are externally imposed on things.

Whitehead was one of the most important metaphysicians of the 20th century. The publications of his most important philosophical works in the years 1920 to 1940 fell at a time in which metaphysical speculation was hardly considered in contemporary philosophy, which is critical of tradition . This applies to varying degrees to all positivist, linguistic, Marxist and existentialist currents of this time. Only in the context of process theology has a broad reception of Whitehead's process philosophy established itself, which is particularly important in the USA. His student Charles Hartshorne, the most important exponent of process theology, even sees the cause of the disdain in the “greatness and truth” of Whitehead's philosophy itself. Other significant process-philosophical works in the Whitehead tradition are more familiar to individuals, such as Isabelle Stengers . Some of his students also became well-known philosophers with independent positions: especially Bertrand Russell, but also Susanne K. Langer , William K. Frankena , Nelson Goodman , Willard Van Orman Quine and Donald Davidson .

Natural sciences

Whitehead's scientific thinking is particularly influenced by Maxwell's electromagnetism and Einstein's theory of relativity. Whitehead considers the terms “field” and “force” to be much more suitable for describing nature than the terms “object” and “movement” of the mechanistic world view of pre-relativistic physics. In “The Principle of Relativity” he drafts his own theory of gravity . It is characterized by the fact that the underlying geometric space and the gravitation unfolding on the objects are represented in two separate metrics. He does not follow the direct action of physical forces on the geometry by Einstein in the general theory of relativity , but persists in the classical separation. However, this publication received no further attention from mathematics or physics, although this approach is known today as "bimetric theory of gravity" and is practicable insofar as it does not contradict the three classical tests of general relativity. However, according to Clifford Will , Whitehead's theory has been experimentally refuted.

Many significant approaches and insights that became established in the natural sciences in the 20th century were anticipated through Whitehead's metaphysics. Thus the statistical character of the laws of nature is a direct consequence of the abstraction of the laws from the structural identities of the real events. This largely corresponds to the interpretation of the laws of quantum physics and their significance. The change in the laws of nature over the course of time discussed today can also be easily derived from Whitehead's metaphysical constructions. Influences of Whitehead's process-philosophical metaphysics can be seen in natural scientists such as Ilya Prigogine , Henry Stapp , Rudolf Haag and David Bohm . The physicist Roger Penrose and the quantum biologist Stuart Hameroff interpret (in a very controversial theory) real events as the theoretical basis for formulating elementary processes of consciousness. Whitehead also anticipates the systems-theoretical approaches of Ervin László and Fritjof Capra with his doctrine of the existential connection of all being at its core. The mere topology established by Whitehead serves as the basis for special areas and applications in the research of artificial intelligence .


  • A Treatise on Universal Algebra with Applications . [1898] Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1960 ( online )
  • Memoir on the Algebra of Symbolic Logic . American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Apr., 1901), pp. 139–165 ( online )
  • On Cardinal Numbers . American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Oct., 1902), pp. 367–394 ( online )
  • The Logic of Relations, Logical Substitution Groups, and Cardinal Numbers . American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Apr., 1903), pp. 157–178 ( online )
  • On Mathematical Concepts of the Material World , Philosophical Transactions, Royal Society of London, série A, Volume 205, Dulau London 1906, 465-525
  • Liberty and the Enfranchisement of Women . Extract from the speech of AN Whitehead, Esq., Sc.D., at the Annual Meeting of the Cambridge Women's Suffrage Association, Nov. 5, 1906 ( online )
  • The Axioms of Projective Geometry , Cambridge University Press 1906
  • The Axioms of Descriptive Geometry , Cambridge University Press 1907
  • An Introduction to Mathematics . [Williams and Norgate, London 1911] Oxford University Press [1958] 1990, ( online ), German Introduction to Mathematics , Francke, Bern 1948
  • Article: Mathematics in the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1911 ( wikisource )
  • Principia Mathematica (with Bertrand Russell ), 3 volumes, Cambridge University Press. 2nd edition 1925 (vol. 1), 1927 (vol. 2, 3).
  • Space, Time and Relativity , Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, ns, vol. 16: 104-129 (1915)
  • La Theory Relationiste de l'Espace , in: Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale 23 (1916), 423–454. Translated by PJ Hurley: The relational theory of space , in: Philosophy Research Archives 5 (1979), 712-741
  • To the Master and Fellows of Trinity College , letter dated July 15, 1916 in defense of Bertrand Russell
  • The Aims of Education (PDF; 76 kB) , Presidential address to the Mathematical Association of England, 1916
  • The Organization of Thought Educational and Scientific . Lippincott / Williams & Norgate, London 1917 (The Organization of Thought: Lecture to the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1916, Part 1 , Part 2 )
  • An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge , Cambridge University Press [1919] Cambridge University Press 1925 (digitized on Wikisource )
  • The Concept of Nature . [1920] Cambridge University Press 2004 ( online ), German The Concept of Nature , ed. R. Löw, Weinheim 1990
  • The Principle of Relativity with Applications to Physical Science . [1922] Cambridge University Press 2004
  • The Philosophical Aspects of the Principle of Relativity , Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, ns, vol. 22: 215-223 (1922)
  • Uniformity and Contingency , Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, ns, vol. 23: 1-18 (1922)
  • Science and the Modern World . [1925] Cambridge University Press 1997, German Science and Modern World , Frankfurt a. M., Suhrkamp 1988
  • Religion in the Making . [1926] with an introduction by Judith A. Jones, Fordham University Press, New York 1996 ( online ), German How does religion come about ? , Translated by Hans Günter Holl, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1985. ISBN 9783518284476
  • Time , in: Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress of Philosophy, ed. by Edgar Sheffield Brightman, Longmans, Green and Co., New York & London 1927, 59-64, reprinted in: AH Johnson (Ed.): The Interpretation of science. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, New York 1961
  • Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect . [Macmillan, New York 1927] Fordham University Press, New York 1985 ( online ), German cultural symbolization , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2000. ISBN 9783518290972
  • Process and Reality : An Essay in Cosmology . [Macmillan, New York 1929] corrected edition, ed. by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, The Free Press, New York 1979, German process and reality: Design of a cosmology , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1987. ISBN 9783518282908
  • The Aims of Education and Other Essays . [Macmillan, New York 1929] The Free Press, New York 1985, Eng. The Goals of Upbringing and Education and Other Essays . Edited, translated and introduced by Christoph Kann and Dennis Sölch, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2012. ISBN 9783518296158
  • Function of reason . (Princeton University Press 1929, online ) Beacon Press 1971, German The function of reason , Reclam, Stuttgart 1974
  • Adventures of Ideas . [New York: New American 1933] The Free Press, New York 1957, German Adventure of Ideas , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 2000
  • Indication, classes, number, validation , Mind New Ser. 43 (1934), 281-297, 543 [corrigenda]
  • Nature and Life . University of Chicago Press 1934
  • Letter from AN Whitehead to his then assistant Henry S. Leonard dated January 10, 1936 (transcription and copy of the handwritten original in the appendix), with a detailed commentary by Ronald Preston Phipps, Process Studies Supplement, Issue 17 (2011) (PDF; 6 , 7 MB)
  • Modes of Thought . [Macmillan New York 1938] online , New York: The Free Press 1968, German ways of thinking, edited, translated and introduced by Stascha Rohmer , Frankfurt a. M .: Suhrkamp 2001. ISBN 9783518291320
  • Essays in Science and Philosophy . Edited by Dagobert Runes Philosophical Library 1947
  • with Lucien Price: Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead , 1954


  • Ernest Wolf-Gazo (Ed.): Whitehead. Introduction to its cosmology. Series: College Philosophy. Publishing house Karl Alber, Freiburg i. B. / Munich 1980, ISBN 3-495-47428-5 .
  • Harald Holz and Ernest Wolf-Gazo (eds.): Whitehead and the process concept / Whitehead and The Idea of ​​Process. Contributions to the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead at the First International Whitehead Symposium in 1981 . Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1984. ISBN 3-495-47517-6
  • Friedrich Rapp and Reiner Wiehl (eds.): Whiteheads Metaphysics of Creativity. International Whitehead Symposium Bad Homburg 1983 . Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1986. ISBN 3-495-47612-1
  • Helmut Holzhey , Alois Rust and Reiner Wiehl (eds.): Nature, Subjectivity, God. On the process philosophy Alfred N. Whiteheads , Frankfurt a. M .: Suhrkamp 1990
  • Spyridon Koutroufinis (ed.): Processes of the living: To the topicality of the natural philosophy AN Whiteheads . Freiburg / Munich: Karl Alber 2007. ISBN 978-3-495-48277-3
  • Dennis Sölch (Hrsg.), Education, Politics, Religion: Contributions to AN Whiteheads Cultural Philosophy , Whitehead Studien-Whitehead Studies, Vol. 1, Freiburg / Munich: Karl Alber 2014. ISBN 9783495485484
  • Aljoscha Berve, Speculative Reason, Symbolic Perception, Intuitive Judgments - Higher Forms of Experience at AN Whitehead . Freiburg / Munich: Karl Alber 2015. ISBN 9783495486894
  • Chul Chun: Creativity and relativity of the world in the early Whitehead: Alfred North Whitehead's early natural philosophy (1915-1922) - a reconstruction , with a foreword by Michael Welker , Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-7887-2352- 1 .
  • Reto Luzius Fetz : Whitehead: process thinking and substance metaphysics . Series: Symposion Volume 65. Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg i. B. / Munich 1981, ISBN 3-495-47465-X .
  • Lewis S. Ford : Emergence of Whitehead's Metaphysics, 1925-1929 , Albany: SUNY Press 1985.
  • Adele Gerdes: The self-organization of dynamic systems. Whitehead's Contribution to the Philosophy of Mind . Logos, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-8325-3333-5 . PDF: (open access)
  • David Ray Griffin : Whitehead's Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy. An Argument for Its Contemporary Relevance , New York: State University of New York Press 2007.
  • Charles Hartshorne : Whitehead's Philosophy: Selected Essays, 1935-1970 , Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1972, ISBN 978-0-8032-0806-3 .
  • Judith A. Jones: Intensity: An Essay in Whiteheadian Ontology , Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press 1998.
  • Regine Kather : Orders of Reality. The criticism of the philosophical cosmology of the mechanistic paradigm , Würzburg: Ergon 1998 [especially pages 357 to 480].
  • Christoph Kann: Footnotes to Plato. History of philosophy at AN Whitehead , Hamburg: Meiner 2001.
  • Rolf Lachmann: Ethics and Identity. The ethical approach in A N. Whitehead's process philosophy and its importance in contemporary ethics . Publishing house Karl Alber, Freiburg i. B. / Munich 1994. ISBN 3-495-47791-8
  • Victor Lowe: Understanding Whitehead , Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 1962.
  • Victor Lowe: AN Whitehead: The Man and His Work , Volume 1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 1985.
  • Victor Lowe and JB Schneewind: AN Whitehead: The Man and His Work , Volume 2. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 1990.
  • Viola Nordsieck: Forms of Reality and Experience. Henri Bergson, Ernst Cassirer and Alfred North Whitehead . Freiburg i. B./München: Karl Alber 2015.
  • William Palter: Whitehead's Philosophy of Science , Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1960.
  • Stascha Rohmer , Whitehead's synthesis of creativity and rationality, reflection and transformation in Alfred North Whitehead's philosophy of nature , Freiburg / Munich: Karl Alber 2000. ISBN 978-3-495-48022-9
  • Dennis Sölch, Process Philosophies: Concepts of Reality with Alfred North Whitehead, Henri Bergson and William James , Whitehead Studies - Whitehead Studies, Vol. 3, Freiburg / Múnchen: Karl Alber 2014. ISBN 9783495486900
  • Patrick Spät: Panpsychism. A proposed solution to the mind-body problem , Freiburg: FreiDok of the University of Freiburg 2010 (doctoral thesis).
  • Michel Weber : Whitehead's Pancreativism. The basics . Foreword by Nicholas Rescher , Frankfurt / Paris, Ontos Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-938793-15-5 .
  • Christoph Sebastian Widdau: Descartes and Whitehead on body and mind , Marburg: Tectum 2012.

Web links

Commons : Alfred North Whitehead  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

References and comments

  1. a b M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - To the introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 15
  2. ^ Victor Lowe: Understanding Whitehead , The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1962, p. 231
  3. a b Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 20
  4. In addition to his father and other family members who were Anglican clergy, his brother Henry Whitehead became Anglican bishop in Madras in 1899 (his son in turn was the mathematician JHC Whitehead ).
  5. Victor Lowe devotes several pages to this question in Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and His Work , Vol. 1, 1985, pp. 254ff, but cannot determine the beginning.
  6. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 16
  7. ^ Principia Mathematica
  8. ^ Victor Lowe: Understanding Whitehead , Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1962, pp. 231-237
  9. ^ Ernest Wolf-Gazo: Whitehead , Verlag Karl Alber, 1980, ISBN 3-495-47428-5 , p. 133
  10. ^ Whitehead fought in Cambridge for years in vain against discrimination against women in educational institutions. He also criticized the lack of institutional support for empirical research at universities in Great Britain, which is particularly detrimental to physics.
  11. ^ AN Whitehead: Aims of Education and other essays , London, 1929, p. 47
  12. ^ TO Whitehead: Aims of Education and other essays , London 1929. pp. 3 u. P. 47
  13. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 34
  14. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 31
  15. ^ Michael Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - An Introduction , Junius Verlag, 2004, pp. 36-39
  16. ^ LF Fetz: Whitehead: Process thinking and substance metaphysics , Freiburg 1981, p. 44ff
  17. a b c Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 25
  18. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 77
  19. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 33
  20. ^ A b Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 59
  21. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 172
  22. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 75.
  23. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 91ff.
  24. ^ AN Whitehead: Science and the modern World , New York 1925, p. 170
  25. Process and Reality , Part II, Chapter 1, Section 1, page 91
  26. ^ Victor Lowe: Alfred North Whitehead: A Biographical Perspective . In: Harald Holz, Ernest Wolf-Gazo (Ed.): Whitehead and the concept of the process. Contributions to the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead at the First International Whitehhead Syposion 1981 , Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1984, 21-33, here p. 22 ( online ( Memento from June 20, 2010 in the Internet Archive ))
  27. Joachim Klose: The structure of time in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Alber Symposion, 2002, p. 80
  28. ^ Hans Lenk, Reiner Wiehl: Kant Today: Results of the Iip Conference , LIT Verlag, Berlin / Hamburg / Münster 2006, pp. 339ff
  29. ^ David Ray Griffin, Whitehead's Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy , 2006, p. 59
  30. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 115ff.
  31. Gernot Böhme: Whitehead's departure from substance metaphysics. Substance and relation. In: Ernest Wolf-Gazo: Whitehead , 1980, p. 46
  32. ^ AN Whitehead: Process and Reality , 1960, p. 208
  33. ^ TO Whitehead: Process and Reality , 1960, p. 67
  34. a b c M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg, 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 49/50
  35. See AN Whitehead: Process and Reality , 1960, pp. 167-190
  36. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 105
  37. Joachim Klose: The structure of time in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Alber Symposion, 2002, pp. 129/130
  38. ^ AN Whitehead: Science and the modern World , 1925, p. 190
  39. Friedrich Rapp: The creativity concept Whiteheads and modern natural science. In: Whiteheads Metaphysics of Creativity , Eds. Friedrich Rapp and Reiner Wiehl, 1983, p. 99
  40. Adele Gerdes: Process theory and current naturalization projects - some locations. In: Koutroufinis , Sp. (Ed.): Processes of the living. Alber-Verlag, Munich / Freiburg 2007, p. 240 (also as a PDF file: Process theory and current naturalization projects - some locations , accessed on November 16, 2010)
  41. Friedrich Rapp: The creativity concept Whiteheads and modern natural science. In: Whiteheads Metaphysics of Creativity , Ed .: Friedrich Rapp and Reiner Wiehl, 1983, p. 85
  42. a b Joachim Klose: The structure of time in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Alber Symposion, 2002, pp. 139ff
  43. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 102
  44. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 56
  45. ^ Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , p. 126
  46. Roland Faber: God as the poet of the world. Issues and perspectives of process theology , Darmstadt, 2003, p. 73
  47. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , pp. 165/166
  48. ^ Alfred North Whitehead (transl. Hans-Günter Holl): Process and Reality: Design of a Cosmology , Suhrkamp, ​​1979, ISBN 3-518-07523-3 , p. 87
  49. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , pp. 84-89
  50. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg, 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , pp. 131/132
  51. ^ Alfred North Whitehead: Function of Reason , Beacon Press, 1971, p. 8
  52. a b Michael Hampe: Alfred North Whitehead , CH Beck, 1998, ISBN 3-406-41947-X , pp. 85-89
  53. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , pp. 144ff
  54. Friedrich Rapp: The creativity concept Whiteheads and modern natural science. In: Whiteheads Metaphysics of Creativity , Ed .: Friedrich Rapp and Reiner Wiehl, 1983, p. 75
  55. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg, 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , pp. 80/81
  56. Joachim Klose: The structure of time in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Alber Symposion, 2002, p. 16
  57. Wolfhart Pannenberg. “Theology and philosophy: their relationship in the light of their common history”, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996, p. 350
  58. Joachim Klose: The structure of time in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Alber Symposion, 2002, p. 60
  59. ^ Alfred H. Whitehead: Science and the modern World , Maxmillian, 1925, p. 68
  60. Wolfgang Pannenberg: Atom, Duration, Shape. Difficulties with the process philosophy. In Friedrich Rapp and Reiner Wiehl: Whitehead's Metaphysics of Creativity. International Whitehead Symposium Bad Homburg 1983. Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1986, p. 189
  61. ^ For example, the rating by Robert Spaemann
  62. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 173
  63. Joachim Klose: The structure of time in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Alber Symposion, 2002, p. 283
  64. ^ Clifford Will, Gary Gibbons "On the multiple deaths of Whiteheads theory of gravitation" 2006
  65. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 130
  66. ^ Henry Stapp: Theory of Reality , Foundations of Physics, Volume 7, 1977, pp. 313-323.
  67. ^ Henry Stapp: Whiteheadian approach to quantum theory and generalized Bell's theorem , Foundations of Physics, Volume 9, 1979, pp. 1-25
  68. ^ Rudolf Haag: An evolutionary picture for quantum physics , Comm. Math. Phys., Vol. 180, 1996, pp. 733-743, Project Euclid
  69. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 139
  70. Stuart Hameroff: Consciousness, Whitehead and Quantum Computation in the Brain: Panprotopsychism Meets the Physics of Fundamental Space Time Geometry. In: Fr. Riffert, M. Weber: Searching for New Contrasts , Peter Lang, Frankfurt / Main 2003, pp. 76-78
  71. ^ M. Hauskeller: Alfred North Whitehead - Introduction , Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-88506-895-8 , p. 107
  72. According to Hurley ( Memento of November 2, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), the article is based on a lecture at a congress for mathematical philosophy on April 8, 1914 in Paris
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on May 26, 2009 in this version .