S.C. Hickman (earth_wizard) wrote,
S.C. Hickman
earth_wizard

Whitehead: further reflections...

Yes, Whitehead affirms a relationism, but it is of the atomic variety. Against Zeno’s paradox Whitehead tells us there is no continuity of becoming; rather, there is a “becoming of continuity(PR: 35)”. The actual occasions are the atoms of reality. Existence is process and actual occasions are the atoms of this process, each having no significant temporal endurance. They emerge or concresce over a short period of time, which is what he terms the ‘duration’ of the actual occasion. The moment they concretize, they perish: existence is a “perpetual perishing(PR: 60).” I want go into the details of how this process is finalized as “satisfaction”. But this passage of actual occasions from one concrescent temporal moment to another is what composes the apparent persistance of things; their “becoming of continuity”. The appearnce of the concrete thing is actually an abstraction from a process that defines many actual occasions.

The idea of prehension is the discovery of Whitehead’s use of ‘potenial form’(i.e., whatever appears to be a persistant entity is in fact a chain, or “society,” of actual occasions, one following and prehending another). It is the forms (Plato) that pass from one occasion to the next(i.e., not substance, but the overall organization of the entity is passed on from one moment to another as form). Each entity for Whitehead is created anew in each moment, and it is this self-organized form that insures this “self-causation”. Whitehead’s account of how pure potentia is manifested as actuality would take me a little too far afield of this discussion, but only to state that actual occasions are the means for the constitution of concrete particulars, not the concrete particulars themselves. Whitehead’s eternal objects are never actual, yet it is through actual occasions that their potential is realized. This is why for Whitehead actual occasions are the only “reality”. Whitehead’s idealism is a realism of the Idea as pure potential:

“But by the principle of relativity there can only be one non-derivative actuality, unbounded by its prehensions of an actual world. Such a primordial superject of creativity achieves, in its unity of satisfaction, the complete conceptual valuation of all eternal objects. This is the ultimate, basic adjustment of the togetherness of eternal objects on which creative order depends. It is the conceptual adjustment of all appetites in the form of aversions and adversions. It constitutes the meaning of relevance(PR: 32).”

Yes, Whitehead affirms a relationism, but it is of the atomic variety. Against Zeno’s paradox Whitehead tells us there is no continuity of becoming; rather, there is a “becoming of continuity(PR: 35)”. The actual occasions are the atoms of reality. Existence is process and actual occasions are the atoms of this process, each having no significant temporal endurance. They emerge or concresce over a short period of time, which is what he terms the ‘duration’ of the actual occasion. The moment they concretize, they perish: existence is a “perpetual perishing(PR: 60).” I want go into the details of how this process is finalized as “satisfaction”. But this passage of actual occasions from one concrescent temporal moment to another is what composes the apparent persistance of things; their “becoming of continuity”. The appearnce of the concrete thing is actually an abstraction from a process that defines many actual occasions.

The idea of prehension is the discovery of Whitehead’s use of ‘potenial form’(i.e., whatever appears to be a persistant entity is in fact a chain, or “society,” of actual occasions, one following and prehending another. It is the forms (Plato) that pass from one occasion to the next(i.e., not substance, but the overall oranization of the entity is passed on from one moment to another as form). Each entinty for Whitehead is created anew in each moment, and it is this self-organized form that insures this “self-causation”. Whitehead’s account of how pure potentia is manifested as actuality would take me a little to far afield of this discussion, but only to state that actual occasions are the means for the constitution of concrete particulars, not the concrete particulars themselves. Whitehead’s eternal objects are never actual, yet it is through actual occasions that their potential is realized. This is why for Whitehead actual occasions are the only “reality”. Whitehead’s idealism is a realism of the Idea as pure potential:

“But by the principle of relativity there can only be one non-derivative actuality, unbounded by its prehensions of an actual world. Such a primordial superject of creativity achieves, in its unity of satisfaction, the complete conceptual valuation of all eternal objects. This is the ultimate, basic adjustment of the togetherness of eternal objects on which creative order depends. It is the conceptual adjustment of all appetites in the form of aversions and adversions. It constitutes the meaning of relevance(PR: 32).”

Whitehead, Alfred North (2010-05-11). Process and Reality (Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28). Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Tags: alfred north whitehead, process philosophy
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