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Process and Reality (Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28) Paperback – July 1, 1979


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Product Details

  • Series: Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28
  • Paperback: 413 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 2nd edition (July 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029345707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029345702
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is the last book I thought would ever be turned into an ebook.
John Harvey
Process & Reality is, in a nutshell, mathematics-based, process metaphysics, with quantum mechanics thrown in for good measure.
Just ME
It is a book I might well have read when younger, with the broad ambitions of youth.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

248 of 261 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Dale on December 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Early in this century American philosophy made a 'linguistic' turn that determined the direction it would take all the way to the present day. In the spirit of the times, language made its way to the forefront of philosophy, the end result being (among other things) Positivism and a scientistic approach to the Geisteswissenschaften. It is a turn many of us, looking back, wish it had never made. Because of this turn, certain philosophers and ways of doing philosophy all but stopped being considered. Among these philosophers were Dewey and James. These thinkers have in recent decades been resurrected by contemporary neopragmatists, most notably Richard Rorty, who look back at the arid desert of mid-twentieth century philosophy and wonder how far we have come after all. To quote Rorty (who is certainly no Whiteheadian), American philosophical thought 'began taking its cue from Frege rather than Locke.' Broadly considered, this meant that language rather than experience, mind rather than body, was taken to be the most serious matter for philosophy.
Whitehead stayed with Locke. Whitehead wanted to critique most Modern philosophy with what he termed the 'philosophy of organism;' that is, Whitehead insisted that experience or 'feeling' rather than disembodied thinking was the hallmark of human existence, and that all experience was subjective. Now, this does not sound like Locke. Anyone writing this side of modernity knows that Locke was the quintessential modern philosopher, with all the baggage that entails.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1996
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Process and Reality was published the year that Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge to begin the movement known as linguistic analysis. Whitehead's masterpiece is everything that analysts despise: metaphysical, jargon-filled, and systematic. Whitehead's philosophy of language is terse: "philosophy redesigns language in the same way that, in a physical science, pre-existing appliances are redesigned."

The book is arrainged in five "Parts". The first part gives an overview of philosophy, its aims and methods, together with a set of premises on which the substance of his philosophy will be built. He calls this set "The Categoreal Scheme" and intends the remainder of his book to be an exposition of this scheme. His work is, then, "systematic" in a way that the 20th century has largely rejected, and hearkens back to the 19th century. In fact, he does so explicitly, naming his book after Bradley's "Appearance and Reality", and stating that, despite their metaphysical differences, he and Bradly come to much the same conclusions.

The second part discusses the categoreal scheme in terms of the history of philosophy, with emphasis on the Empiricist tradition that begins with Locke, but covering the range of modern as well as ancient philosophy. In this section he elaborates his "philosophy of organism" which sees each actual entity as a psycho-physical unification of its environment, a unit of space, time, and value. Deeply influenced by early 20th century physics, Whitehead presents us with a universe that is dynamic. Grounded in Plato (Western Philosophy consists of "a series of footnotes to Plato"), he also presents us with a changeless ground for this dynamism. The result is a fascinating, modern interpretation of an ancient mode of thought.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Just ME on April 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Studied this in college and was totally blown away! Process & Reality is, in a nutshell, mathematics-based, process metaphysics, with quantum mechanics thrown in for good measure. Say that 3 times fast! Given that he wrote this in 1927-28, many of the concepts he proposed were way ahead of the times. The concepts he proposed were similar to Spinoza & Meister Eckhart, although more advanced than either one. I found it fascinating! I was a Philosophy major at the time & this was one of the first texts that really ignited my passion for philosophy & quantum mechanics. I would recommend this to Philosophers, Physicists, and anyone who is just naturally inquisitive about the way the world and its parts work.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Whitehead's book is a seminal work on freedom and becoming. His neologisms make it a difficult read but with help from Sherburne's "Key" even a beginner can make a lot of sense out of what Whitehead is saying. This is where Process Theology got its start.
The book is essential for anyone interested in freedom, creativity and a modern philosophy of becoming.
I have problems with the book's optimism. The values specified in the primordial beginning seem to me to be more interested in certain differential equations than in any kind of human flourishing.
I recommend the book highly as an ambitious, interesting, and systematic approach to doing philosophy in the grand old sense.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Frank A. Green on December 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you can read closely, this is not as difficult as many would have you believe. It is a brilliant analysis of that which comes before any study of physics and how you can understand general and special relativity theory through meta(that which comes before)physics. A wonderfu exercise is to read it side by side with Plato's TIMAEUS. Doing so will blow your socks off.
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