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1. The Concept of Nature - The Tarner
2. Process and Reality (Gifford Lectures
3. Modes of Thought
4. Science and the Modern World
5. Aims of Education
6. Adventures of Ideas
7. Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead
8. An enquiry concerning the principles
9. Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect
10. Alfred North Whitehead: The Man
11. Nature and life
12. Alfred North Whitehead: A Primary
13. Process-Relational Philosophy:
14. An Introduction to Mathematics
15. Alfred North WhiteheadAn Anthology
16. Alfred North Whitehead; the man
17. Principia Mathematica - Volume
18. A Christian Natural Theology,
19. Principia Mathematica - Volume
20. Alfred North Whitehead: An Anthology

1. The Concept of Nature - The Tarner Lectures Delivered in Trinity College, November 1919
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 124 Pages (2010-07-12)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: B003VPX8U0
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The Concept of Nature - The Tarner Lectures Delivered in Trinity College, November 1919 is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Alfred North Whitehead is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Alfred North Whitehead then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Challenging but ultimately rewarding
The great thinker Whitehead made contributions in the fields of education, logic, mathematics, metaphysics, philosophy of science, physics and theology. Whitehead's process philosophy was developed into process theology by Charles Hartshorne in works like The Divine Relativity.

This 1920 publication consists of the Tarner Lectures in the philosophy of science that feature Whitehead's assessment of the impact of Einstein's theories on nature. He argues for taking events and the process of becoming as the starting points for analyzing reality. This organic interpretation is not simple, but it does make more sense than the abstract concept of matter as assumed by the scientists of his time and many philosophers.

In his work of the previous year An Enquiry Concerning The Principles Of Natural Knowledge, Whitehead explains the method of extensive abstraction. This method of abstraction defines e.g. a formal element like a point in terms of a series of similar shapes encompassing and extending over one another. These and similar thoughts are further developed in The Concept of Nature.

Rejecting the dominant dualism, Whitehead defined nature as that which is disclosed in sense experience. This does not mean the simple awareness of particular sensations but instead a profound consciousness of a spatio-temporal passage occurring in nature. Within this passage or movement, he distinguished between events and objects.

Events are occurrences that, while they may overlap, are born and then pass away. Objects on the other hand are constant and may be considered as recurring patterns. Whitehead ascribed the uniformity of nature to pervasive patterns providing the quality of permanence.

He rejects the idea of nature as a mere aggregate of independent entities, each capable of isolation. According to this notion, entities form the system of nature by their accidental relations so space might exist without time and time without space. The relational theory of space is an admission that space without matter or matter without space cannot exist.

But the separation of both from time is still accepted. Whitehead's alternative is that nothing in nature could be what it is except as an ingredient in nature as it exists. There cannot be time apart from space, because every event forms part of a whole and is significant in the whole. Likewise there can be no space apart from time.

Our knowledge of nature is an experience of activity or passage. Events are active entities; their relations with one another differentiate into space-relations and time-relations. But this differentiation is comparatively superficial, since time and space are each partial expressions of one fundamental relation between events, which is neither spatial not temporal. Whitehead calls this relation Extension: it is the relation of including and does not require spatio-temporal differentiation.

The book was extremely challenging to read; I had to go back constantly to revisit and properly assimilate previous passages in order to proceed. And Whitehead uses mathematical formulae that I am not familiar with. But people with a solid grounding in the natural sciences will have no such problem. A determination to understand at least some of this great man's ideas was certainly rewarded in reading and studying this book.

The chapters are titled: Nature and Thought; Theories of the Bifurcation of Nature; Time; The Method of Extensive Abstraction; Congruence; Objects; Summary, and The Ultimate Physical Concepts. The book concludes with an index.

Whitehead's more accessible works include Religion in the Making with its beautiful definition of the Eternal Divine and Adventures of Ideas with his thoughts on inter alia history art, beauty, truth, freedom. He cautioned against complete certainty and rigidity of thought, warning that evil results when mankind transforms the partial truths that we are able to discern into whole truths. This came to mind as I was reading Chantal Delsol's The Unlearned Lessons Of the Twentieth Century that echoes Whitehead's insight.

For me, Whitehead's metaphysics resonate in the same way as that of Michael Polanyi and Frithjof Schuon. His economic and political persuasions, derived from his observations on force, slavery, persuasion and commerce, reflect the views of the great economists of classical liberalism such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.

5-0 out of 5 stars Challenging and mind-expanding

This book from 1920 consists of the Tarner Lectures in the philosophy of science and features Whitehead's assessment of the impact of Einstein's theories on nature. He argues for taking events and the process of becoming as the starting points for analysing reality. This organic interpretation is not simple, but it does make more sense than the abstract concept of matter as assumed by scientists and philosophers for so long.

Whitehead criticizes the idea of nature as a mere aggregate of independent entities, each capable of isolation. According to this idea, by their accidental relations entities form the system of nature. In this theory space might exist without time, and time without space. The relational theory of space is an admission that space without matter or matter without space cannot exist.

But the seclusion of both from time is still accepted. Whitehead's alternative is that nothing in nature could be what it is except as an ingredient in nature as it exists. There cannot be time apart from space, because every event forms part of a whole and is significant in the whole. Likewise there can be no space apart from time.

Our knowledge of nature is an experience of activity or passage. Events are active entities; their relations with one another differentiate into space-relations and time-relations. But this differentiation is comparatively superficial, since time and space are each partial expressions of one fundamental relation between events, which is neither spatial not temporal. Whitehead calls this relation Extension: it is the relation of including and does not require spatio-temporal differentiation.

I found the book extremely challenging to read and had to go back constantly to re-read and properly assimilate previous passages in order to proceed. And Whitehead uses mathematical formulae that I am not familiar with. But people with a solid grounding in the natural sciences will have no such problem. A determination to understand at least some of this great man's ideas was certainly rewarded in reading and studying this book.

The chapters are titled: Nature and Thought; Theories of the Bifurcation of Nature; Time; The Method of Extensive Abstraction; Congruence; Objects; Summary, and The Ultimate Physical Concepts. The book concludes with an index.
... Read more

2. Process and Reality (Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28)
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 413 Pages (1979-07-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.53
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Asin: 0029345707
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Based on the Gifford Lectures which Whitehead delivered at the University of Edinburgh in 1927-8. Process and Reality presents a system of speculative philosophy which is based on a categorical scheme of investigation designed to explain how concrete aspects of human experience can provide a foundation for our understanding of reality. It also investigates how reality can be defined as a process of becoming. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Process & Reality
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.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Timaeus and Process and Reality
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.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poor writing style
"Whitehead" doesn't refer to something on the face.Although, like puss spewing therefrom, the book is a morass of grotesque prose.What is Whitehead getting at that so many scholars seem to ignore completely?At the core of Whitehead's philosophy is "bifurcation of nature."From this, Ph.D's have waxed eloquent and stated, "Aha, Whitehead is a panentheist," meaning, the universe contains a god like a spirit in the body.Hmmmm.Modern democrats espouse an unusually similar theory that cannot be coincidence.Nevertheless, everyone has missed the point.First and foremost, to his credit, Whitehead had great command over mathematics and modern ideas in science.More noteworthy is the fact that quantum mechanics (micro physics) and relativity theory (macro physics) cannot be reconciled (unless we use Hermann Weyl's guage theory, which implements methods from group theory, which is nothing but mathematical formalism and reconstruction with no physical meaning).The theories are irreconcilable since relativity predicts via E=mc squared that an electron, which approaches the speed of light, must approach infinity.Yet, the physical fact is that an electron is of finite weight (although, I think a clue to this problem is in nuclear fission, aka the fact of the atom bomb).Whitehead resolved to accept that both quantum mechanics and relativity theory are both true, or rather, complete unto themselves for the domain of physical phenomena they addressed, and resolved to accept they cannot be reconciled.This resolution is formulated in his fundamental hypothesis about the bifurcation of reality.Case closed.

4-0 out of 5 stars "The shock of a great philosopher."
I approached this book as an influence to Ken Wilber. In his book, SEX, ECOLOGY, SPIRITUALITY, he recognizes Whitehead "as one of the first great philosophers of vision-logic" (p. 191). As Editor Donald Sherburne acknowledges in the Preface to this edition, PROCESS AND REALITY "is highly technical and far from easy to understand" (p. v). In fact, Whitehead (1861-1947) makes reading Ken Wilber seem easy.

First published as a series of lectures in 1929, PROCESS AND REALITY sets forth Whitehead's philosophy of speculatve metaphysics. "Speculative Philosophy," he writes, "is the endeavor to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted" (p. 3). Whitehead integrates the the works of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Kant (p. 39), as he looks into the nature of all things as an ongoing process. (About Plato, Whitehead says, "the safest general characterization of the whole Western philosophic tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.")

I do not profess to fully understand Whitehead, but his basic premise appears to be that reality is in an organic process of becoming, and is never complete. That is, he asserts the many become one and are then increased by one. So, too, God is a process of becoming. Whitehead's philosophy is revolutionary. "Philosophy never reverts to its old position after the shock of a great philosopher" (p. 11), he writes. I have given this book a four-star rating only because Whitehead's writing style is difficult and at times impenetrable, which detracts from his five-star content.

G. Merritt

5-0 out of 5 stars The Brilliance of Hard Work and Imagination
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.But when Whitehead wrote in the preface to Process and Reality that `the writer who most fully anticipated the main positions of the philosophy of organism is John Locke,' he was stressing the fact that Locke discarded metaphysics, seeking rather to look at what was actually happening, as far as he could tell.

In many ways, and though they wrote at the same time but in complete isolation from each other's thought, Whitehead and Heidegger were searching for the same thing, the thing both philosophers thought that Plato and Aristotle had known, but that had been forgotten in the intervening centuries: what it actually meant to experience something, or, as Cooper puts it, how `to make intelligible our immediate experience so that we can discover how it is possible to have any experience of the actual world.'Rather than reading Whitehead as an elaborate and old-school metaphysician, one ought to read him as a phenomenological empiricist, if such a beast exists, and thus find an answer to the people who dismiss Whitehead as `behind the times,' people who simply don't bother to actually read Whitehead.

It is true that thinkers still committed to a reductionist/linguistic approach to philosophy will not see Whitehead's importance as a critic of closed systems (Whitehead's is expressly open and revisable, one reason it has endured as long as it has without being widely read in philosophy departments).It is also true that American philosophy left Whitehead behind.However, the blind alleys linguistic analysis and positivism lead us into should cause us to wonder if we were led in the right directions, or if we should have left in the first place.Leaving something behind certainly does not necessarily mean progressing beyond it.Whitehead's goal was expressly NOT the goal of philosophy in America after his time, though Whitehead's goal had been an important part of James's `Radical Empiricism,' ironically.Whitehead looked back to James and Dewey, and Bergson on the continent, hoping `to rescue their type of thought from the charge of anti-intellectualism, which rightly or wrongly has been associated with it.'Present-day neopragmatism, noting how vapid and unsatisfying most rationalist and linguistic philosophy has become in American thought, also looks back to Dewey and James, but to the pragmatism rather than to the empiricism of these two masters.It has become axiomatic that the only way to read James and Dewey is as pragmatists, after all.

However, the axiom is not true.A `rediscovery' of Whitehead by contemporary American philosophy might lead to another and equally valid reading of James and Dewey.James, Dewey, and Whitehead were thinkers of the same ilk.If you like any two, you should at least consider reading the third.Similarly, the relations between Heidegger and Whitehead have only recently been resurfacing, and deserve closer scrutiny.Analytic philosophy never took seriously the questions raised by Heidegger because they weren't precise enough for logical analysis.When a grandfather of the analytic movement, Wittgenstein, began distancing himself from his earlier work, his own disciples balked because, they said, he seemed to be retreating into metaphysics!It is much more likely, however, that Wittgenstein realized that life cannot be reduced to propositions and truth tables.This was also Whitehead's view.Whitehead was also not precise enough for the analytic philosophers (I always wonder who is).Whether or not the fact that he did not measure up to their standards (and still does not) should be seen as an indictment or a complement remains to be seen.

Whitehead is an immensely difficult writer. Hosinski's Stubborn Fact and Creative Advance (1993) is a brilliant introductory work, and I highly recommend it, especially if you have to read Whitehead for a classSherburne's Key is also very helpful, though you get a lot of Sherburne, too.At issue is usually Whitehead's neologisms.To draw another analogy between Heidegger and Whitehead, however, both men were notorious for creating new words because what they wanted to explain was both so uncanny and yet so obvious that the old words didn't work.Don't let the language scare you away.Whitehead rewards hard work, and you will likely never forget what you learn from him.The ideas that we are beginning to take much more seriously these days about holistic thinking, interconnectedness, interdisciplinarity, non-dualism, commensurability between science and religion, and creativity were all covered by him seventy years ago.Don't let your professors tell you that Whitehead is an outmoded metaphysician.His `philosophy of organism' is as inherently open-ended, properly understood, as anything passing today as postmodernism.Read Whitehead. ... Read more

3. Modes of Thought
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 179 Pages (1968-02-01)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$8.53
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Asin: 002935210X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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4-0 out of 5 stars Philosopy is either self-evident or it is not Philosophy
AI researchers often referencing Alfred North Whitehead's book "Modes of Thought" in an attempt too explain thought, consciousness, and reasoning.Whitehead's writings suggests that thought has quality of being both conditional and discrete. These two qualities are coveted in AI programming.

Whitehead starts by discussing the topics of "Interest and Importance".He covers the topics of interest and importance. Interest drives importance, as either exciters or inhibitors.

One becomes interested in his environmental factors and this interest activates a conditional response.To the observer, he believes this process is called thinking, but is following a series of behavioral responses and conditioned beliefs.The outcome of these conditions can be represented by a graph of possible paths.Disbelief is the pruning of certain paths that are dependant on the environmental factors. Consciousness seems to be the awareness or intuition too believe in ones conclusions or disbelieve.Consciousness creatively adds or subtracts conditional states in a person belief tree.

The interaction of these states generates discrete and predictable behavior and the observer concludes intelligence is emerging. In reality the system is a series of augmented finite state machines running their algorithms.

Interest and importance are the primary reasons for effort after exact discrimination of the sense data.For example, the motion of cars approaching an intersection is the conditioned by signals. The driver watches signals to determine exist lanes, when to stop, the rate of speed, merging into adjacent lanes, and travel spacing. The traffic signals are the outcome of the traffic. Stop lights are added to busy intersection to manage the flow of traffic and reduce confusion on turn taking at the intersection, car pool lanes encourage conservation by consolidation, and large digital messages forewarn of pending changes in traffic flow or detours information.Importance generates interest.Interest leads to discrimination.Finally consciousness develops and gradually and fitfully becomes another agent of stimulation.Consciousness is a human and divine quality.Consciousness is necessary for abstraction and abstraction necessary for proven theorms.Can a machine dream? Can a machine see the future? Can a machine feel?Of course not.A machine is no more conscious than a rock in your garden.

Whitehead focuses on the importance of language and usage of language for expression. Feelings are the comprehension is the reception of expression.Language is the triumph of human ingenuity. Language can be both oral and written and the distinction difficult to distinguish.The greatest invention in the past century was the printing press.Today the Internet replaces the printing press and introduces digital publishing as the modern means of communication.Expression tells of widespread intelligence.Voice is produced sound interpretation as natural symbols of human existence.Language is the expression of ones past into ones present.Language meaning presupposes the concrete relationship of real events happening and issuing from each other.Language is the systemization of expression.Human civilization is the outgrowth of language.

A thought is a tremendous mode of excitement.However, it is a hopeless task to attempt to understand understanding.Understanding is limited by its finitude.As science grew, men shrank in their width of comprehension.

Science has failed to produce men of learning with sensitivities and appreciation of varieties of interest and of varieties of potentiality.The rise of objectivity dulled comprehension and defeated understanding.Instead of understanding man became more critical. It is impossible to prove through criticism.Proof is only possible through abstraction.Instead, objectivity created men of criticism and not men dedicated to abstraction and if civilization will survive then understanding is a prime necessity.

Understanding involves the notion of composition.If a thing can be composed, the understanding of it can be in reference to its factors.The second mode of thought is to treat the concept as one unity, whether or not is capable of analysis.Philosophy is the attempt to make manifest the fundamental evidence as the nature of things.However, philosophy is only as good as things being explored are self-evident. The natural realm of cause and effect is described as differential equations.Differential equations provide a purely mathematical explanation of gravity, force, torque, current, optics, and relativity.

Philosophy is only as good as the topics it explores are self-evident.Philosophy is the criticism of abstraction governing special modes of thought.Philosophy in the proper sense cannot be proven.Proof is in abstraction.So philosophy is either self evident or it is not philosophy.Philosophy can only argue that the existence of God is self evident.Certain truthes are self evident, such as, life, liberty, rights of property, and the pursuit of happiness. Philosophy can made explore and expound endlessly on these truthes.However, Philsophy does not have the capacity to prove the nonexistence of God because it can not abstract.Objectivity at best can only criticize those who believe in God and this criticism can be classified as "lacking understanding".

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Single Introduction to Whitehead's Thought
For the reader looking for a way into the thought of Alfred North Whitehead, this short volume is the best place to begin.In six lectures delivered toward the end of his career, Whitehead provides a non-technical sketch of the metaphysics and cosmology he had earlier presented in extended and highly technical form in his magnum opus, Process and Reality.

Modes of Thought is not an easy book--for it is highly compressed and sometimes reads like a series of aphorisms.But while this book will likely leave most readers wondering how all these aphorisms hold together, they are individually nearly crystaline in clarity and are wonderfully provocative.Even if one never reads further in Whitehead, engaging this short volume will set one pondering productively.And, if nothing else, one will come away armed with some wonderful philosophical one-liners.

If reading Modes of Thought makes one want to read on, the good way to proceed would be to read Science and the Modern World next followed by Adventures of Ideas and then (and only then) Process and Reality.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that will change forever how you see the world.
Whitehead wrote clearly and simply about some of the most difficult philosophical ideas.This brief book is perfect for anyone who has ever wondered "How do I know what I know?"It is filled with gems such as "The notion of a mere fact is the triumph of the abstractiveintellect"; "The whole understanding of the world consists in theanalysis of process in terms of the identities and diversities of theindividuals involved."Today we know a lot more about the machineryof the mind and the nature of human cognition than he did.But like Darwinwho didn't really know how "genes" work, Whitehead saw thingsthat most of us miss.You have to think "on your toes" to readhim.But the reward is worth the effort.No one who claims to be aneducated person should make such a claim without "reading theirWhitehead." ... Read more

4. Science and the Modern World
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 224 Pages (1997-08-01)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$11.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684836394
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Alfred North Whitehead's SCIENCE AND THE MODERN WORLD, originally published in 1925, redefines the concept of modern science.Presaging by more than half a century most of today's cutting-edge thought on the cultural ramifications of science and technology, Whitehead demands that readers understand and celebrate the contemporary, historical, and cultural context of scientific discovery.Taking readers through the history of modern science, Whitehead shows how cultural history has affected science over the ages in relation to such major intellectual themes as romanticism, relativity, quantum theory, religion, and movements for social progress. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars poorly published
The content of the book is just terrific.See other reviews.

I just wanted to let folks know that for their $19.95, they are getting a very cheaply made book.The cover is quite thin, but even worse, the book is printed on awful, pulpy paper--worse than most romance/mystery novels.

I'm sure that it will pass out of its concrescence sooner than most books . . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars A deep study by a great mind
I cannot make a good summary of this book, for I do not know it well enough. I do have a sense of its great depth and beauty. Whitehead seems to me not only a profound thinker but a humble person who stands in certain awe before the Universe. He opens by describing the way a few people in a small part of Europe caused a great revolution in human thinking. He argues that this Scientific Revolution will amount to the triumph of Reason in the world. His chapters are on, The Origins of Modern Science, Mathematics as Element in the History of Thought, The Century ofGenius, The Eighteenth Century, The Romantic Reaction, The Nineteenth Century, Relativity, The Quantum Theory ,Science and Philosophy, Abstraction, God, Religion and Science, Requisites for Social Progress.

I was moved by the concluding words of his book .

" I have endeavoured in these lectures to give a record of a great adventure in the region of thought. It was shared in by all the races of Western Europe .It developed with the slowness of a mass movement. Half a century is its unit of time. The tale is the epic of an episode in the manifestation of reason. It tells how a particular direction of reason emerges in a race by the long preparation of antecedent epochs, how after its birth its subject- matter gradually unfolds itself, howit attains its triumphs, how its influence moulds the very springs of action of mankind ,and finally how at its moment of supreme success its limitations disclose themselves and call for a renewed exercise of the creative imagination. The moral of the tale is the power of reason ,its decisive influence on the life of humanity. The great conquerors from Caesar to Napoleon, influenced profoundly the lives of subsequent generations. But the total effect of this influence shrinks to insignificance, if compared to the entire transformation of human habits and human mentality produced by the long line of men of thought from Thales to the present day, men individually powerless, but ultimately the rulers of the world. p. 186

5-0 out of 5 stars CLassic little work in the philosophy of science
Whitehead is widely regarded as a humane philosopher in the best sense of that word--a philosopher able to get across very difficult ideas with a wink and a smile. Also, he has always been commended for his prose style in his more intimate writings, at least in his books based on lectures (the best of which are Science in the Modern World and Adventures of Ideas). Process and Reality is difficult but worth the effort; one does need a glossary at times, but this isn't a review of that book.

It is hard to imagine a philosophy book written with more clarity than this one. I think that the quotes given by reviewers witness that fact. The only review here, it turns out, which dilikes the book because of its "unreadability" is the one riddled with spelling and grammatical errors itself. Hard reading, it turns out, is even harder if one cannot spell. With that, I heartily concur.

2-0 out of 5 stars unreadable
The ideas and philosophical concepts in this book are generally sensible, rational, and correct, but the writing style and execution leaves much to be desired.In other words, this book is extremely difficult.The impenetrable density of this prose is intolerable, especially considering it was written IN ENGLISH, in the TWENTIETH CENTURY!If someone had handed me this book with a blank cover, I would have been convinced that it was originally written in old German during the time of Kant, and verbosely translated by some frustrated acedemic.It is beyond me how any book writeen in English so recently could be so unreadable.

I might recommend this book to someone with a highly scientific, mathematical and empiricist mind-set.After all, Whitehead is an accomplished mathematician, and his book has an aire of unbiased, empirical objectivity.For a mathematician with a desire to cross over into the philosophy genre, this might be a good choice.But for normal philosophy readers who come from a liberal arts/literary background, this book will probably come across as obfiscated and tortuous.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dense and sometimes difficult, but fascinating
In short: A serious and thoughtful book about the meaning and impact of science. This is not light, popular science reading. (If you're looking for that, I highly recommend the works of folks like Freeman Dyson or Stephen Jay Gould.)

_Science and the Modern World_ has some stunning, timeless insights, and many things I'm fond of quoting. Here's a favorite, from the last chapter:

"Modern science has imposed upon humanity the necessity for wandering. Its progressive thought and its progressive
technology make the transition through time, from generation to generation, a true migration into uncharted seas of adventure.
The very benefit of wandering is that it is dangerous and needs skill to avert evils. We must expect, therefore, that the future
will disclose dangers."

(Here it comes:)

"It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties."


"The prosperous middle classes, who ruled the nineteenth century, placed an excessive value upon the placidity of existence. They refused to face the necessities for social reform imposed by the new industrial system, and they are now refusing to face the necessities for intellectual reform imposed by the new knowledge."

(Same as it ever was!)

"The middle class pessimism over the future of the world comes from a confusion between civilization and security. In the immediate future there will be less security than in the immediate past, less stability. It must be admitted that there is a degree of instability which is inconsistent with civilization. But, on the whole, the great ages have been unstable ages."

Whew. ... Read more

5. Aims of Education
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 165 Pages (1967-01-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$7.97
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Asin: 0029351804
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book for Students, Parents and Teachers
This book is as fresh and usefull as it was 50 years ago when I first read it.The summary of this book, that is Whitehead's concept of the message to be received from the writing, is the first line of the book.Dr. Whitehead assures us the purpose of education is to enrich life and "scraps of information have nothing to do with it."This magnificent book belongs on the shelf of every person who is interested in education of mankind throughout life.We are fortunate to have been blessed by this scholar and humanist.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some scattered good points
Whitehead makes some good general points, then a few more specific remarks including a quite interesting defence of the study of classics and a sketchy outline of a mathematics curricula (sensible but rather boring and far from revolutionary: de-emphasise technicalities, skip addition formulae in intro. trig., etc.), then there are three chapters on various aspects of logic and science that have nothing to do with education. Now I quote some highlights. "The fading of ideals is sad evidence of the defeat of human endeavour. In the schools of antiquity philosophers aspired to impart wisdom, in modern colleges our humbler aim is to teach subjects. ... I am not maintaining that in the practice of education the ancients were more successful than ourselves. ... But when ideals have sunk to the level of practice, the result is stagnation." (p. 29). "The mind is never passive ... You cannot postpone its life until you have sharpened it. Whatever interest attaches to your subject-matter must be evoked here and now; whatever powers you are strengthening in the pupil, must be exercised here and now; whatever possibilities of mental life your teaching should impart, must be exhibited here and now. That is the golden rule of education, and a very difficult rule to follow." (p. 6). "The love of a subject in itself and for itself ... is the love of style as manifested in that study. ... Style, in its finest sense, is the last acquirement of the educated mind; it is also the most useful. It pervades the whole being. The administrator with a sense for style hates waste; the engineer with a sense for style economises his material; the artisan with a sense for style prefers good work. Style is the ultimate morality of mind." (p. 12). This last point is relevant for Whitehead's justification for the study of classics, along with "the vision of Rome" (p. 69).

5-0 out of 5 stars Powerful insights into the nature of learning
Whitehead's essays are timeless.For the reader who instinctively feels that learning must be meaningful to be of value, Whitehead is a must read. This book is well suited to curriculum designers and/or instructors who feel strongly about including experiential activities.Whitehead's insights would be especially useful for decision-makers/sponsors of learning who must demonstrate a positive return on their investment.The first-time reader will have to overcome a sense of frustration that Whitehead's keen observations are as applicable today as when they were written nearly seventy years ago.

4-0 out of 5 stars Provocative
The highlight of this book is chapter 9 as he discusses ontology, i.e., the nature of what truly exists. He talks about the present as always changing into the past and the future. In other words, the present isn't really present. To illustrate how change occurs he mentions a piece of meat as it is cooking. If left unattended, when will the meat cease to be meat?

In places he gets bogged down in jargon and complexity. He starts by discussing education in general, noting that in addition to English, a student should study French and Latin, that certain things can only be known though the original tongue of the author. Overall this is an insightful collection of essays.

5-0 out of 5 stars Changed my life at age 17 -- Thank you, thank you!
The university that accepted me into its six-year medicine program required that I read this (and other) book(s) during the summer before entering their program.

It changed my life! It helped me to think about what I wanted to get out of formal education, how I wanted to develop my own mind through the rest of my life, and how to choose education that serves my objectives. This book made me a more knowledegeable consumer and user of education. ... Read more

6. Adventures of Ideas
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 320 Pages (1967-01-01)
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Asin: 0029351707
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book, slowly, with a pencil
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.

5-0 out of 5 stars Left me wanting more...
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***


3-0 out of 5 stars Hard Going
The thought in this book is profound and enlightening, the style and language are clear enough, but I found it unbearably hard going to get through it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Creative Platonist's Perspective on History and Civilization
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).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ideas Are Still Adventurous
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. ... Read more

7. Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead (A Nonpareil Book)
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 385 Pages (2001-08-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$12.40
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Asin: 1567921299
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Philosopher and man of science, Whitehead is the man who went farthest on the road we all must travel. Here, recorded as conversations in his own home and clearly modeled on Eckermann s dialogues with Goethe, are some of the landmarks, signposts, milestones and noble scenery of that journey, and they are presented there in a volume The Washington Post called "as readable as it is provocative." Whitehead's mind is a compass for the modern world. In these pages the immense reaches of his thought in philosophy, religion, science, statesmanship, education, literature, art and conduct of life are gathered and edited by critic and writer Lucien Price. Time, the present; scene, the Cambridge of Harvard (with flashbacks to London, Cambridge, England, and his native Ramsgate in Kent); cast, undergraduates along with men and women, often eminent, who join in his penetrating, audacious, and exhilarating verbal forays. The subjects discussed range for the homeliest details of modern living to the greatest ideas that have animated the mind of man over the past thirty centuries. A noble mind is here exposed. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Intimate View into the Mind of a Genius
The more you read in this book the more you will resent the fact that the author/editor was able to spend time with Dr. Whitehead and you couldn't.We are offered an intimate view of Whitehead's breadth of interests and his famiylife.We sit in the home sharing refreshment and easvesdropping on the conversations.We gain a feeling of knowing the very human philosopher.If you enjoy the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table and the like, you will read this again and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Pleasure of Ideas and Good Conversation
I read this as a freshman in college, again years later, and am finishing my latest reading.A pleasure to read, forcing one to think.Some of the ideas are clearly dated, Whitehead being truly of the 19th century, but what he and the other discussants say makes one think. ... Read more

8. An enquiry concerning the principles of natural knowledge
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 218 Pages (2010-08-25)
list price: US$24.75 -- used & new: US$18.09
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Asin: 1177694093
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Originally published in 1919.This volume from the Cornell University Library's print collections was scanned on an APT BookScan and converted to JPG 2000 format by Kirtas Technologies.All titles scanned cover to cover and pages may include marks notations and other marginalia present in the original volume. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of Nature / Philosophy of Science
This is an especially important text in the body of Whitehead's work. It is the first volume in a "triptych" of works Whitehead produced (the others being "The Concept of Nature" and "The Principle of Relativity") that both established Whitehead as a major philosopher, and laid the epistemological framework of natural science that would become the stepping off place for Whitehead's mature metaphysics.

One of the important aspects of this book is that it is the first attempt in English to found spatial reasoning upon mereological principles rather than set theory. (Lesniewski published a mereological theory as a general foundation for mathematics in 1916. But this was in Polish and was not introduced to the English speaking world until many years later.) Whitehead's motivations are very much in line with William James' notions of "Radical Empiricism": to whit, the full range of experience is the basis of our theories, but this full range includes many relational structures and not just the "sense data" that the Positivists asserted.

Consequently, this book is quite a bit more technical than "Concept of Nature" (which is relatively technical already). However, it presents a radical new and empirically sound theory of nature, abstract reasoning, and science.

This Cosimo edition is particularly welcome for a couple of reasons. First of all, it retains the pagination of the original Cambridge edition, so cross-referencing the two is extremely simple. Moreover, it includes the notes that Whitehead added in the 1924 second edition. This is especially helpful, as that second edition is rather difficult to find and extremely expensive to acquire.

Consequently, this is a valuable addition to any person's library who has an interest in Whitehead's philosophy, or in the philosophy of science. To this latter, Whitehead brings a nuanced understanding of both empiricism and realism to the table that deserves a much wider audience than it has currently received. ... Read more

9. Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect (New Edition) (Barbour-Page Lectures, University of Virginia, 1927)
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 88 Pages (1985-01-01)
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Asin: 082321138X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Symbol, meaning & transference
This is Whitehead's response to Hume and Kant's epistemological challenge. He begins by differentiating types of symbolism like algebra and language, and symbolism from sense-presentation to physical bodies as the most natural and widespread of all symbolic modes. The difference is that direct experience-based knowledge is infallible as opposed to symbolism that may induce actions, emotions and beliefs about things that are simply notions without those examples in reality which the symbolism leads one to presuppose. Whitehead pursues the thesis that symbolism is a key factor in the way we function as a result of direct knowledge.

The human mind functions symbolically when some components of its experience elicit consciousness, emotions and beliefs related to other components of its experience. The former cluster of components is the symbols whilst the latter constitutes the meaning of the symbols. 'Symbolic reference' is Whitehead's designation for the transference from symbol to meaning. Understanding the mind requires an explanation of how we can truly know, how we can err, and how we can distinguish truth from error. These necessitate that we distinguish the type of mentation which yields immediate acquaintance with fact from that which is only trustworthy by reason of its meeting certain criteria provided by the first type.

Whitehead calls the first 'Direct Recognition' and the second 'Symbolic Reference,' illustrating that all human symbolism may be reduced to trains of symbolic reference which finally connect percepts in alternative modes of direct recognition. He claims that no components of experience are only symbols or only meanings. Examples of the inversion of symbol & meaning abound in language. A word is a symbol that can be either written or spoken. Sometimes a written word may suggest the corresponding spoken word and its sound may suggest a meaning. In such a case, the written word is a symbol and its meaning is the spoken word, and the spoken word is a symbol and its meaning is the dictionary definition of the word, spoken or written.

Often, however, the written word effects its purpose without the intervention of the spoken. In this case the written directly symbolizes the dictionary meaning. Otherwise the written suggests both the spoken word as well as the meaning whilst the symbolic reference is made more definite by additional reference of the spoken word to the same meaning. The author's analysis of poetry reveals that in the use of language there's a double symbolic reference: from things to words by the speaker and from words to things by the listener.

Immediate perception of the contemporary external world is defined as `presentational immediacy' which explains why contemporary events are relevant to each other whilst simultaneously preserving mutual independence. This relevance amid independence is the peculiar character of contemporaneousness. The universe discloses itself as a community of things, real in the same sense that we are. Abstraction expresses nature's mode of interaction and isn't merely mental. The other purely perceptive mode of experience he calls 'causal efficacy'.

Symbolic reference must be explained before conceptual analysis, although there's a strong interaction between them. Conceptual analysis as third mode of experience introduces components that are analyzable into actual things of the real world and abstract attributes, qualities and relations. By symbolic reference the various actualities disclosed by the two modes of pure perception are either identified or correlated together as interrelated elements. Thus the result of symbolic reference is what the actual world is for us: that datum that produces feelings, emotions, actions and finally the topic for conscious recognition when conceptual analysis comes into play. Most of our perception is due to the enhanced subtlety arising from concurrent conceptual analysis. And no conscious knowledge exists without conceptual analysis.

Whitehead points out that Hume views time as pure succession. But it is the derivation of one state from another. Time in the concrete is the conformation of state to state, later to earlier; pure succession is an abstraction from the irreversible relationship of settled past to derivative present. The notion of succession reflects that of colour. There's no mere colour but always a particular colour like green or blue; there's no pure succession but always some particular relational aspect in which the states succeed each other. He concludes that Hume's doctrine is great philosophy but not common sense as it fails the test of obvious verification.

Kantians admit that causal efficacy is a factor in the phenomenal world but deny that it belongs to the data presupposed in perception; it resorts instead to our ways of thinking about data. The phenomenal world, as in consciousness, is a complex of coherent judgments, framed according to fixed categories of thought, and with a content constituted by given data organized according to fixed forms of intuition. This Kantian doctrine accepts Hume's naïve presupposition of `simple occurrence' for the data, being the assumption of `simple location,' by applying it to space as well as time.

Humeans & Kantians have diverse, but allied, objections to the notion of any direct perception of causal efficacy. Both schools find 'causal efficacy' to be an importation into the data, of a way of thinking or judging about those data. One school calls it a habit of thought; the other a category of thought. The logical difficulties attending the direct perception of causal efficacy have been shown to depend on the assumption that time is merely the generic notion of pure succession. This is an example of the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness.

The final chapter explores the dynamics of symbolism which inheres in the very texture of society. By means of its elaborate system of symbolic transference humanity draws on the past to enter the future. But each symbolic transfer may involve an arbitrary imputation that is dangerous. As a community evolves, rules need revision. The art of a free society consists primarily in the maintenance of the symbolic code and secondly in bold revision to ensure that the code serves the purposes of enlightened reason. Societies which fail to combine reverence to their symbols with freedom of revision either explode into anarchy or stagnate and regress under the burdens of the past.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book ... Amazing Typo
Wonderful book, but did anyone else flip out over the "IT'S" typo on the cover?


5-0 out of 5 stars I was fortunate to find this book.
I must say, I am indebted to Colin Wilson for leading me to this book. I read Beyond the Outsider a few years ago, and immediately afterwards was itching to read this book. A.N Whitehead is a clear and logical thinker. Agenius of the 20th century, his idea of the two modes of perception:Immediacy Perception and Causal Efficacy. Finally, I think, refutes'successfully' Hume's theory that causation cannot be perceived. ... Read more

10. Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and His Work: 1910-1947 (Lowe, Victor//Alfred North Whitehead)
by Professor Victor Lowe
 Hardcover: 416 Pages (1990-05-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$224.58
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Asin: 0801839602
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11. Nature and life
by Alfred North Whitehead
 Paperback: 61 Pages (1980)

Asin: B0006XSI32
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12. Alfred North Whitehead: A Primary Secondary Bibliography (Bibliographies of famous philosophers)
by Barry A. Woodbridge
 Hardcover: 405 Pages (1977-06)
list price: US$23.50 -- used & new: US$23.50
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13. Process-Relational Philosophy: An Introduction to Alfred North Whitehead
by C. Robert Mesle
Paperback: 136 Pages (2008-03-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.09
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Asin: 1599471329
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars wow!
This author is tremendous. He has a visionary perspective to offer the field of process thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars BUY IT!
My first introduction to process theology was a podcast interview on [...] back in June 2008 with Robert Mesle. I immediately connected to this theology/philosophy - it made total sense. At this time, my mother was dying from Alzheimer's and I just could not understand a God that would "allow" this to happen - why did he "heal" some people and not others? The "omnipotent God" I grew up with just did not make sense in the world around me. Since that time I have read anything I could find on process theology. Much of the material seemed to be over my head, but Mesle's books are written in a way that makes them accessible to "lay folk". His first book, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction, was a great intro, and his latest book goes a little deeper. BUY THIS BOOK! And I also suggest checking out his podcast interviews on the above link (do search on the page). He has an interview on this latest book as well!

5-0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life
Funny how perception constitutes a prominent factor...

The previous opinion critics the fact that the author infiltrates too much of his God oriented vision of reality....

On my side, this book left me for the first time in my lifewith a certain "comfort" facing the possibility of no sort ofGod on the driving seat of this reality.

Why?Maybe because the "relationnal" aspect of the process is so well discussed,it feels less coldsince...
The word "alone" doesn't mean anymore the same (or anything at all, in fact...)...

Beside, this book contribues to heal the endemic dichotomy between body and soul, it encourages incarnation.

Responding to the previous critic again, I'm allergic to pop psychology's books, and it is not because this one is accessible, that hedeserves this pop title according to me.

1-0 out of 5 stars Only one chapter is worth reading: the Appendix
Contrary to the earlier reviewer, I found Mesle's book to be a light and insufficient account of Whitehead's philosophy. Mesle seems to work from a god-believer's point of view and it saturates his account of Whitehead. This is more of a pop psychologist's reading of Process and Reality, and the only helpful chapter is at the very end, the appendix. The book could have been a pamphlet had Mesle stuck to the word "process" rather than using the term "process-relational" to repetitively describe every single thing on every single page when the simpler, traditional "process" would have sufficed. We get it. But just in case you don't think he uses it enough, here's a one page sample (90):

process-relational thought
process-relational conferences (on process thought)
process-relational theology
process-relational thinking
process-relational thinking
process-relational thinking
process-relational vision
process-relational thinking
process-relational compassion

and I didn't list that the author uses every single form of the word "relational." It's sophomoric writing to say the least. Mesle -- just as Whitehead himself does -- correctly asks the reader to suspend common notions of ordinary words like experience, but then doesn't take his own advice with regard to his own use of "relational." The Appendix describes a portion of Whitehead's technical terms in plain English, but since it's only a start, it and the rest of the book turn out to be deeply disappointing. Stick with John Cobb and David Ray Griffin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unparalleled Introduction to Whitehead's Process Philosophy
Prof. Mesle has accomplished an amazing feat by making one of the most important 20th Century philosophers (Alfred North Whitehead) accessible, relevant, and lively.Followers of Whitehead often have found it difficult to interpret process philosophy to those outside the field. With a minimum of technical language, Dr. Mesle has overcome this barrier.

Whitehead's cosmology is the only one that does not separate the universe into separate realms of matter, mentality, and spirituality.Instead, he provides a way to bring together the material view of reality with the non-material view of reality.

Because of this, Whitehead's ideas matter profoundly as scientists, religious practioners, political leaders, mental health specialists, and many others look for solutions to our divided, anxious and potentially deadly world.Dr. Mesle's work will help many more people gain access to these important ideas.(For more information on process philosophy, see [...].)

May 22, 2010: One addendum to respond to Mr. Riding:It is noteworthy that Prof. Mesle actually is not a theist (unlike many process thinkers). He makes this clear in his previous book, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction.He considers himself to be a process naturalist and leaves it to theologian John B. Cobb Jr to explain process theism (all of this is in the last section of the book on process theology). ... Read more

14. An Introduction to Mathematics (Classic Reprint)
by Alfred North Whitehead
Paperback: 276 Pages (2010-04-16)
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Asin: 1440070490
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AN INTKODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS CHAPTER I the abstract nature of mathematics The study of mathematics is apt to commence in disappointment. The important applications of the science, the theoretical interest of its ideas, and the logical rigour of its methods, all generate the expectation of a speedy introduction to processes of interest. We are told that by its aid the stars are weighed and the billions of molecules in a drop of water are counted. Yet, like the ghost of Hamlet's father, this great science eludes the efforts of our mental weapons to grasp it-"'Tis here, 'tis there, 'tis gone"-and what we do see does not suggest the same excuse for illusiveness as sufficed for the ghost, that it is too noble for our gross methods. "A show of violence," if ever excusable, may surely be "offered" to the trivial results which occupy the 7

Table of Contents

CONTENTS; chap page; I The Abstract Nature of Mathematics 7; II Variables 15; III Methods of Application 25; IV Dynamics 42; V The Symbolism of Mathematics 58; VI Generalizations of Number 71; VII Imaginary Numu?rs 87; VII Imaginary Numbers (continued) 101; IX Co-ordinate Geometry 112; X Con'ic Sections 128; XI Functions 145; XII Periodicity in Nature 161; XIII Trigonometry 173; XIV Series: 194; XV The Differential Calculus 217; XVI Geometry 236; XVII Quantity 245; Note on Books 251; Index 253

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books is a publisher of historical writings, such as: Philosophy, Classics, Science, Religion, History, Folklore and Mythology.

Forgotten Books' Classic Reprint Series utilizes the latest technology to regenerate facsimiles of historically important writings. Careful attention has been made to accurately preserve the original format of each page whilst digitally enhancing the difficult to read text. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Introduction to Mathematics
Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), as a mathematician, is best known for his collaboration with Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) on Principia Mathematica, 3 vols. (1910, 1912, 1913; 2nd ed. 1925, 1927). An Introduction to Mathematics was published in 1911.

This is not a textbook nor a technical overview of mathematics such as was given thirty years later by Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins in What is Mathematics (1941; 4th ed. 1948), but rather it is a discussion, in part, of how the symbolism of mathematics captures mathematical meaning, and how a good notation clarifies thought, including the role of algebra as a symbolic representation of geometric ideas. The book is also about the role of mathematics in understanding nature.

Whitehead guides the reader through the notions of a variable and a constant, the notion of a vector, the expanding generalizations of number from integer to complex number, algebraic coordinates and geometry, the conic sections, the notion of a function as a correlation among variables, the distinction between continuous and discontinuous functions, the notion of the neighborhood of a number in relation to a function, periodicity, similarity and trigonometry, trigonometry and periodic functions, series and approximation, the notion of a limit, convergent and divergent series, the trigonometric functions as series, the rate of increase of a function in relation to the notion of a limit, space and number, quantity and measurement.

He does not discuss number theory, set theory, group theory, mathematical logic, axiom systems, or axiomatic geometry. He is silent about controversies current at the time in the foundations of mathematics and his work in that area.

Here is Whitehead's definition of a continuous function. I'll use 'b' where he uses an italic 'a'. In the second sentence, I've added a comma for clarity. Following that is his definition of a limit, again replacing his italic 'a' with 'b', and using 'L' instead of 'l'.

"A function f(x) is 'continuous' at a value b of its argument, when in the neighborhood of b its values approximate to f(b) (i.e. to its value at b) within every standard approximation. This means that, whatever standard k be chosen, in the neighborhood of b, f(x) approximates to f(b) within the standard k." (p. 119 of 1948 edition)

"A function f(x) has the limit L at a value b of its argument x, when in the neighborhood of b its values approximate to L within every standard of approximation." (p. 171 of 1948 edition)

Earlier publications by Whitehead include A Treatise on Universal Algebra (1898), the article "On Mathematical Concepts of the Material World" (1905),The Axioms of Projective Geometry (1906), and The Axioms of Descriptive Geometry (1907). He also wrote an article for the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1910-11), which in an edited form appears as the article "mathematics, philosophy of" in, for example, the Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, and so it probably appears also in the current hard copy or digital edition of the Britannica.

In 1948, An Introduction to Mathematics was "revised and reset" under the supervision of Whitehead's nephew, JHC Whitehead, Waynflete Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Oxford. The text remains that of the original except for the correction of "a few inaccuracies and typographical errors". JHC Whitehead does not contribute any introductory comments or footnotes to this lightly revised edition. It is interesting to compare the specific book recommendations given in the bibliographical "Note on the Study of Mathematics" of the two editions. These recommendations are the one real change in content between the edtions. It is not stated who the source of the recommendations of 1948 might be.

Prior to giving these recommendations, Whitehead suggests a preceding, elementary course of study, to include arithmetic, elementary algebra and geometry including co-ordinate geometry, elementary trigonometry, conic sections both geometrical and analytical, differential and integral calculus, and three-dimensional geometry. After this, he recommends the few specific books listed below. These books constitute, then, his recommendation for a core, advanced study of mathematics.

In 1911, Whitehead gave no publication years for the books he recommended, and referred to the authors only by their surnames. He gives only the approximate titles. Only for Cremona's book have I added the correct title, since Whitehead's reference might now be misleading.

In 1911, the recommendations are:
Cremona's Pure Geometry [Elements of Projective Geometry. 1885; 3rd ed. 1913]
Hobson's Treatise on Trigonometry [1891; 5th ed. 1921]
Chrystal's Treatise on Algebra, 2 vols. [1886; 5th ed. 1904; (7th ed. 1964)]
Salmon's Conic Sections [1848; 6th ed. 1879]
Lamb's Differential Calculus [1897; 3rd ed. 1919]
"and some book on Differential Equations"

In 1948, the recommendations are:
O. Veblen and G.W. Young - Projective Geometry, 2 vols. (1910, 1918)
A.A. Albert - Introduction to Algebraic Theories (1941)
H. Lamb - An Elementary Course on Infinitesimal Calculus (1924) [1st ed. 1897]
G.H. Hardy - A Course of Pure Mathematics (1944) [1st ed. 1908]

See below, following the Contents list, for amazon links.

= Contents =
1. The Abstract Nature of Mathematics
2. Variables
3. Methods of Application
4. Dynamics
5. The Symbolism of Mathematics
6. Generalizations of Number
7. Imaginary Numbers
8. Imaginary Numbers (continued)
9. Co-ordinate Geometry
10. Conic Sections
11. Functions
12. Periodicity in Nature
13. Trigonometry
14. Series
15. The Differential Calculus
16. Geometry
17. Quantity
Note on Books [1948: Bibliography]

Here are amazon links to the books recommended in 1911 and 1948.

Luigi Cremona - Elements of Projective Geometry: Third Edition
Ernest Wilson Hobson - A Treatise on Plane and Advanced Trigonometry
George Chrystal - Algebra : An Elementary Text-Book (2 volume set)
George Salmon - A Treatise on Conic Sections
Horace Lamb - An Elementary Course of Infinitesimal Calculus

O. Veblen and G.W. Young - Projective Geometry, Volume 1
O. Veblen and G.W. Young - Projective Geometry, Volume 2
A.A. Albert - Introduction To Algebraic Theories
H. Lamb - An Elementary Course of Infinitesimal Calculus
G.H. Hardy - A Course of Pure Mathematics

5-0 out of 5 stars A true gem!
This is one of those rare works by a true master. The following quote from page 161 definitely applies to the book itself:

"If we understand the preceding ideas, we understand the foundations of modern mathematics".

This is what this book is about. If you're looking precisely for this, as I was, you'll be truly enlightened by its reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent for its time
I assume that it was very unusual, in the early 20th century, for scholars of Whitehead's stature to write for an educated lay readership, and that IM is one of only a handful of 'popular mathematics' books of its day.As such, IM and Whitehead are to be commended.Aside from an occasional reference to the 'ether', as others have noted, IM is current and compelling in every respect.It is a fine read (though rather curiously organized: it's final two chapters seem to belong much earlier in the book).I give it 4 stars only because others, standing on Whitehead's shoulders, have done a much better job of covering similar ground.I have in mind, especially, Tobias Dantzig's first-rate "Number: The Language of Science" (recently reissued).

A word to the wise: avoid the Barnes and Noble edition of IM.It is rife with typos, not to mention a missing diagram.I don't know whether the errors are B&N's own, or owe to the fact(?) -- it seems -- that this edition corresponds to (though does not photo-reproduce) the original 1911 edition, which (judging from the latest offerings on Amazon), was superseded by a corrected edition in 1948.Whatever the source of these errors, they are many and greatly distracting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction --- Better Adjunct
Whitehead's "Introduction to Mathematics" is an illustrative, lucid, and concise discourse on the "three great mathematical ideas of the variable, of algebraic form, and of generalization."As other reviewers have indicated, the author presupposes that the reader have at least *some* experience with elementary algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.The book's greatest strength, however, lie in its ability to supplement the rigor of an undergraduate math education (or something akin) with the "why" of said education.In sum, both math- and non-math oriented folk will benefit from reading this book --- the non-mathematicians may be turned on to the elegance of the discipline whereas the mathematicians may be reminded (gasp!) of its beauty and relevance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intro to the PHILOSOPY of mathematics
This is a nice, little book:short, clear, and very well written.I confess, though, that I'm not sure who its best audience really is.If you know some math, and have thought and read AT ALL about the philosophy of math, you will not find much new in this book; still, since it will be quick and easy to read, you will probably find it worthwhile, for the occasional new insight or alternative way of looking at things.I found the section on series particularly worth reading, because series were not well covered in my own math education.I also found the comments on the measurement of time to be subtle and thought-provoking.

If you know little or no math, you MIGHT find this a good introduction (as the title implies), but don't expect any detailed exposition on the actual PRACTICE of math.This book is really an introduction to the philosophy of math.It is concerned with WHY we do math, and why math takes the form that it does.Whitehead's goal is to introduce some key concepts, common to all math, such as variables and abstraction.Any actual proofs or expositions in the book are included only as examples of how these concepts play out in seemingly different areas of study.

Perhaps the reader best served by this book would be one who is comfortable with the practice of math at least through the basic high school level (geometry, algebra, trigonometry), and possibly more, but is just starting to think about the underlying philosophy: the "why" of math as opposed to the "how" of it.

For those who don't know, Whitehead was, of course, one of the premier philosophers of math of the early 20th century, co-author with Bertrand Russell of the 3-volume magnum opus "Principia Mathematica".The present book was written around 1911, and is definitely dated in spots - for instance he talks about electro-magnetic vibrations in the "ether" - but that doesn't detract from either its usefulness or readability.

... Read more

15. Alfred North WhiteheadAn Anthology By F. S. C. Northrop
by Alfred North Whitehead
 Hardcover: Pages (1953)

Asin: B000YABYTM
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16. Alfred North Whitehead; the man and his work. COMPLETE SET
by Victor Lowe
 Hardcover: Pages (1985)

Asin: B000UBP5PY
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17. Principia Mathematica - Volume Two
by Alfred North Whitehead, Bertrand Russell
Paperback: 808 Pages (2009-02-21)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1603861831
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Editorial Review

Product Description
An Unabridged, Digitally Enlarged Printing Of Volume II Of III With Additional Errata To Volume I: Part III - CARDINAL ARITHMETIC - Definition And Logical Properties Of Cardinal Numbers - Addition, Multiplication And Exponentiation - Finite And Infinite - Part IV - RELATION ARITHMETIC - Ordinal Similarity And Relation-Numbers - Addition Of Relations, And The Product Of Two Relations - The Principle Of First Differences, And The Multiplication And Exponentiation Of Relations - Arithmetic And Relation-Numbers - Part V -SERIES - General Theory Of Series - On Sections, Segments, Stretches, And Derivatives - On Convergence, And The Limits Of Functions ... Read more

18. A Christian Natural Theology, Based on the Thought of Alfred North Whitehead,
by John B. Cobb
 Hardcover: Pages (1965-01)
list price: US$6.95
Isbn: 0664206042
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19. Principia Mathematica - Volume Three
by Alfred North Whitehead, Bertrand Russell
Paperback: 500 Pages (2009-02-27)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$16.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 160386184X
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
An Unabridged, Digitally Enlarged Printing Of Volume III Of III With Additional Errata To Volumes I And II: Part V - SERIES (Continued) - Well Ordered Series - Finite And Infinite Series And Ordinals - Compact Series, Rational Series, And Continuous Series - Part VI - QUANTITY - Generalization Of Number - Vector-Families - Measurement - Cyclic Families ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this book unless you are a collector of famous books
This book was published in 1910 and its style is not suitable for studying math, so its value is mostly as a historic perspective. In my opinion, this book belongs only in specialized libraries since it is not suitable for students and frankly I don't see what anyone would learn to use from it. I have great respect for both authors for their contribution in the mathematics, but the book is antiquated. ... Read more

20. Alfred North Whitehead: An Anthology
 Paperback: Pages (1961)

Asin: B000J37MAE
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Northrop and Gross edit an anthology of works on Professor Whitehead that "...brings together representative writings of the great philosopher.. (with) critical introductions to each selection and a glossary of philosophical terms." ... Read more

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