Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


Whitehead

Whitehead
PHGA 7210    Jude Jones
Friday 4-6 (with coffee & refreshment god help us!)
 
This course will be an intensive study of the metaphysical system developed by Whitehead in the early 20th Century. We will look at the philosophical questions about “knowledge of a complete fact” that instigated his shift from mathematical/logical concerns about science to a full-throated metaphysics that embraces the evidences of not only science but of religion, art, literature, and experience in general. We will consider and analyze his option of a pan-experientialist or pan-psychist type of position and attempt to locate this amidst contemporary interests in such options. We will also look back to see the dialogue with the history of philosophy in which Whitehead was engaged as he developed his cosmology, particularly the modern period from Descartes to Kant. Connections between Whiteheadian process thought and other major movements in philosophy may be briefly explored towards the end of the semester as time allows (particularly as articulated by Isabel Stengers), as well as his appropriation by other thinkers such as Judith Butler.
 
Learning a “system” of philosophy in a single semester is a challenge. Our main text will be Process and Reality, where the mature system is articulated, but we will look at texts both prior to and after that for the sake of appreciating the questions the system is designed to address, and how it may be construed as intrinsically fallibilistic while genuinely metaphysical. Thus we will situate Whitehead as properly located in the American philosophical tradition, though he is neither pragmatist nor idealist of the sorts often met therein.
 
Primary Texts:
Concept of Nature (brief excerprts via pdf)
Principles of Natural Knowledge (brief excerpts via pdf)
Science and the Modern World (Free Press 1997) BUY THIS
Religion in the Making (Fordham Press 1996) BUY THIS
Process and Reality (Free Press, 1997) BUY THIS
Adventures of Ideas— excerpts via pdf (Free Press 1967)
Modes of Thought—excerpts via pdf (Free Press 1968)
 
Secondary Sources:
Elizabeth Kraus, The Metaphysics of Experience (Fordham 1997) BUY THIS
Judith Jones, Intensity (Vanderbilt 1998—PDF)
Isabel Stengers, Thinking With Whitehead (Harvard 2011) BUY THIS
Various Articles available via pdf and/or posted online, from Lewis Ford, Jorge Nobo, Roland Faber, Isabel Stengers,

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