Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead, 1861–1947, English mathematician and philosopher, grad. Trinity College, Cambridge, 1884. There he was a lecturer in mathematics until 1911. At the Univ. of London he was a lecturer in applied mathematics and mechanics (1911–14) and professor of mathematics (1914–24). From 1924 he was professor of philosophy at Harvard. Whitehead's distinction rests upon his contributions to mathematics and logic, the philosophy of science, and the study of metaphysics. In the field of mathematics Whitehead extended the range of algebraic procedures and, in collaboration with Bertrand Russell, wrote Principia Mathematica (3 vol., 1910–13), a landmark in the study of logic. His inquiries into the structure of science provided the background for his metaphysical writings. He criticized traditional categories of philosophy for their failure to convey the essential interrelation of matter, space, and time. For this reason he invented a special vocabulary to communicate his concept of reality, which he called the philosophy of organism. He formulated a system of ultimate and universal ideas and justified them by their fruitful interpretation of observable experience. His philosophic construction as applied to religion offered a concept of God as interdependent with the world and developing with it; he rejected the notion of a perfect and omnipotent God. In 1945 he received the Order of Merit. His works include The Organisation of Thought (1916), Principles of Natural Knowledge (1919), The Concept of Nature (1920), The Principle of Relativity (1922), Science and the Modern World (1925), Religion in the Making (1926), Symbolism (1927), The Aims of Education and Other Essays (1929), Process and Reality (1929), Adventures of Ideas (1933), and Essays in Science and Philosophy (1947).

See J. W. Blyth, Whitehead's Theory of Knowledge (1941, repr. 1973); P. A. Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (2d ed. 1951, repr. 1971); A. H. Johnson, Whitehead's Philosophy of Civilization (1958, repr. 1962); V. A. Lowe, Understanding Whitehead (1962); D. M. Emmett, Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism (1966); C. Hartshorne, Whitehead's Philosophy: Selected Essays, 1935–1970 (1972); D. L. Hall, The Civilization of Experience (1973); V. Lowe, Alfred North Whitehead: The Man and His Work, 1861–1910 (1985).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Function of Reason
Alfred North Whitehead.
Princeton University Press, 1929
Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect
Alfred North Whitehead.
Fordham University Press, 1927
An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge
Unknown, 1919
Nature and Life
Alfred North Whitehead.
The University of Chicago Press, 1934
Alfred North Whitehead: His Reflections on Man and Nature
Ruth Nanda Anshen; Ruth Nanda Anshen; Ruth Nanda Anshen.
Harper, 1961
Whitehead's American Essays in Social Philosophy
A. H. Johnson; Alfred North Whitehead.
Harper & Brothers, 1959
The Wit and Wisdom of Alfred North Whitehead
A. H. Johnson; Alfred North Whitehead.
Beacon Press, 1947
The Metaphysics of Experience: A Companion to Whitehead's Process and Reality
Elizabeth M. Kraus.
Fordham University Press, 1998
Whitehead's Theory of Experience
Ewing P. Shahan.
King's Crown Press, 1950
Alfred North Whitehead: Essays on His Philosophy
George L. Kline.
Prentice-Hall, 1963
Whitehead and the Modern World: Science, Metaphysics, and Civilization. Three Essays on the Thought of Alfred North Whitehead
Victor Lowe; Charles Hartshorne; A. H. Johson; A. Cornelius Benjamin.
Beacon Press, 1950
Reason and the Common Good ; Selected Essays
William H. Hay; Marcus G. Singer; Arthur E. Murphy.
Prentice-Hall, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "The Development of Whitehead's Philosophy" and Chap. 12 "Whitehead and the Method of Speculative Philosophy"
The Revival of Realism: Critical Studies in Contemporary Philosophy
James Feibleman.
University of North Carolina Press, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Whitehead's Philosophy of Organism"
Philosophy and the Modern World
Albert William Levi.
Indiana University Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "The Vision of the Whole: Alfred North Whitehead"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator