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Adventures of Ideas Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0029351703 ISBN-10: 0029351707 Edition: 1st Free Press Pbk. Ed

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Adventures of Ideas + Modes of Thought + Process and Reality (Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st Free Press Pbk. Ed edition (January 1, 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029351707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029351703
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It's been a long time since I read a book that really makes me think.
E. Sung
Reading this book, I think, will convince just about anyone that Whitehead has something both important and profound to say that is well worth studying.
Brian C.
This book is jam-packed with gems, and deals with the full breadth of life's circumstances.
Earl de Blonville

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Michael Strong on June 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
There are four parts to this text: "Sociological," "Cosmological," "Philosophical," and "Civilization." The first part is a history of how ideas, especially moral ideas, have influenced the progress of civilization. Whitehead is by training mathematician and by nature a philosopher, not a historian. As a consequence, he covers a great deal of historical ground at a high level of generality which, in Whitehead's case, I consider a virtue. He has a beautiful, long-term perspective; his account of the transition from a world in which slavery was taken for granted to one in which it is no longer legitimate, and the role that the ideas of Platonism and Christianity played in that 2500 year transition, makes me quite optimistic about the long-term possibility of humane progress in the world.
I describe the first section in depth because it is among the more accessible pieces of Whitehead's writing. The remainder of the book calls upon his unique metaphysical perspective to some extent, and is thus more of a struggle for the casual reader. It, too, is beautiful and valuable for those who are willing to learn how to read Whitehead, but it is not easy. Buy the book for the first part, then if you like Whitehead's highly idiosyncratic view of reality, train yourself to read the rest of the book.
Personally, although Whitehead has fallen out of favor of academic philosophers for most of this century, I think that his work is more likely to be read 200 years from now than are most other works written this century. Whitehead is definitely thinking of the big picture with a certain serene timelessness. Far more people should be exposed to his 20th century articulation of the eternal search for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful (and the Adventure).
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By David E. Conner on January 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Whitehead was the foremost twentieth-century advocate of Process Philosophy--he called it "The Philosophy of Organism"--the conviction that reality is composed of processes rather than of substances or matter.
Students of process thought frequently focus on Whitehead's major work, _Process and Reality_, sometimes to the neglect of his other books. But Whitehead's thought was, fittingly, in continual flux; and _Adventures of Ideas_, written after _Process and Reality_, contains new themes which, some would say, provide needed correctives to some of the notions in Whitehead's earlier books. _Adventures of Ideas_ is also considerably more readable than _Process and Reality_. It should not be passed over.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jamal Nazir on November 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Excellently written. I was somewhat fan of Whitehead's philosophical ideas before I picked up this book. However, since I started reading this book I have become quite fascinated by his works. I recommend this book for all who seek knowledge or would like to further their command over making an inquiry into pre thought process.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Sung on April 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not yet finished reading this book. I have been too busy making notes, checking reference, and highlighting interesting concepts it offers.

It's been a long time since I read a book that really makes me think.

So far, it's the best retirement investment I have made.

Strongly recommanded for anybody who likes to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian C. on April 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I will admit frankly that I am a total beginner when it comes to Whitehead. This is the first book of his I have read, and like many of the other reviewer's on this thread, I found parts of it quite difficult. Whitehead was a highly original thinker and seems to have a vocabulary that is largely his own. It can, therefore, be daunting for the newcomer.

But the mark of a successful book in my opinion is that it inspires one to want to learn more. Reading this book, I think, will convince just about anyone that Whitehead has something both important and profound to say that is well worth studying. As I make more progress in that task myself I intend to update my review.

***Also, if anyone on here has any suggestions for good books about Whitehead please post a response to this review. I have had trouble finding good secondary sources on Whitehead which makes the task of mastering his thought even more difficult***
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Frysword on September 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Adventures of Ideas literally refers to Whitehead's philosophical system where God offers possibilities (eternal objects - similar to Plato's Realm of the Forms - i.e. 'ideas') to the individual concrescing occasion to be instantiated in reality. The history of the world, is therefore, in one sense, the 'adventure' of these possibilities ('ideas'). AI does this in a broad, macroscopic sort of way, rather than the microscopic process of an individual occasion or society. He seeks to survey the ideas of humanity as they have evolved throughout western civilization. AI is divided into four parts.

Whitehead asserts that in every cultural era there are two forces at work steering social change: "senseless agencies" of compulsion and "formulated aspirations" (4). Both of these ideas work together to drive civilization from epoch to epoch. His classic example is seen within the Barbarians near the Roman Empire (senseless agencies of compulsion) and Christianity (articulated beliefs of persuasion). One drives away from order, the other seeks order. He continues at length to discuss these senseless agencies and articulated beliefs of persuasion throughout history as they relate to one another. It is best left to the reader to delve into these examples.

Whitehead notes up front that he is drawing heavily from the Platonic system, particularly Plato's later thought. Whitehead believes Plato divined the main factors of philosophy. These seven factors are the Idea, the Physical Elements, The Psyche, The Eros, The Harmony, The Mathematical Relations, and The Receptacle. And "All philosophical systems are endeavors to express the interweaving of these components" (158, cf. 275).
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