Whitehead's Theory of Experience

Whitehead's Theory of Experience

Whitehead's Theory of Experience

Whitehead's Theory of Experience

Excerpt

In the writer's conception, Whitehead's philosophy of organism was constructed on the basis of his two fundamental ideas of creativity and life. Creativity represents his rendition of ultimate fact, while life is his basic hypothesis in terms of which he understands the specific occurrences of nature. These two concepts are closely related, require each other, and to a certain extent overlap.

This book, dealing with the development of Whitehead's conception of experience, is more concerned with life than with creativity. In Process and Reality and other later works, "life" and "experience" are virtually equivalent. Since life involves the "self-enjoyment" of a process of becoming, it is to be understood in terms of the experience of an actual entity." "The final facts are, all alike, actual entities; and these actual entities are drops of experience, complex and interdependent [PR, 28]." "Process is the becoming of experience [PR, 252]." Because of this close relationship, Chapter III, particularly, of this book, could be considered a discussion of life. I have used the word "experience," rather than "life," in my title because I intend to trace the development of Whitehead's doctrine of experience, including the stage where it appears as something altogether related to human beings, and not as the basis of the general principle of life.

The purpose of this book is to show that Whitehead has two different conceptions of experience, which he has not satisfactorily combined, and to suggest the implications of this in the understanding of his thought. The first conception is exhibited initially in the "early" works (defined here as consisting of An . . .

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