Philosophy of Science: An Insight from the Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred Whitehead

We often lose insights from many readily available studies. Here so in mine too. The groundbreaking work of Alfred North Whitehead on the Philosophy of Science creates a legacy in erupting similar thoughts. The reflection is similar to many around us but often ignore in gaining deeper insights.

Alfred North Whitehead was born in 15 February 1861 was an English Mathematician and a philosopher. His work around “Process Philosophy” has found well accepted application in numerous disciplines i.e. ecology, theology, education, physics, biology, economics, and psychology and many others. In early stage of this life, he primarily focused on Mathematics and Physics. His path breaking work can be found in “Principia Mathematica”(published in 1910–13) which he co-authored with Bertrand Russell. Later he moved his focus in Philosophy of Science.

Alfred North Whitehead rejected a well-established notion that each physical object has a simple spatial or temporal location. Whitehead construed his position and detailed as below..

“among the primary elements of nature as apprehended in our immediate experience, there is no element whatever which possesses this character of simple location. … [Instead,] I hold that by a process of constructive abstraction we can arrive at abstractions which are the simply located bits of material, and at other abstractions which are the minds included in the scientific scheme. (1925, 72; cf. 1919, Pt 3)”

Alfred North Whitehead emphasized that all real-life object can be understood as a similarly constructed series of events and processes. He details out this in his Process and Reality (1929c), and concluded that “process, rather than substance which should be taken as the most fundamental metaphysical constituent. He further argued that we are integral part of interrelated processes and our choices and actions have deeper consequences “[29]. And this particular confirmation has found wide applications in ecological civilization and environmental ethics. My point of this whole elaboration was primarily influenced because of the impact of “Process Metaphysics” and Whitehead’s influence on philosophy of business administration and organization behaviors. Give attention to the below excerpts from the book “Process and Reality”

Excerpts from the Book

Further I recently found the below in one of MIT sessions which concludes my thoughts in many ways.

“We are not smarter or better but…

The reason why we are on a higher imaginative level is not because we have finer imaginations, but because we have better instruments. In science, the most important thing that has happened over the last forty years is the advance in instrumental design.…A fresh instrument serves the same purpose as foreign travel, it shows things in unusual combinations…The gain is more than a mere addition; it is a transformation.

A.N. Whitehead: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge Cambridge University Press1925





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