La philosophie comme panphysique: la philosophie des sciences de A. N. Whitehead [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 35 (3):607-609 (1982)

Hélal's study invites comparison with two other books on Whitehead's philosophy of science. There is nearly no overlap with Ann L. Plamondon's Whitehead's Organic Philosophy of Science, which stresses those themes developed in Whitehead's metaphysical period which have a bearing on topics under current discussion in the philosophy of science. Hélal restricts himself to the earlier period, hoping later to make a comparable study of the later periods. There is, however, considerable overlap with Robert M. Palter's Whitehead's Philosophy of Science, though perhaps less than might be expected. Thus chapter 3 analyzing the nature of events and objects, and especially chapter 4 on the method of extensive abstraction can only repeat much that is already available in Palter. In addition Palter discusses the theory of relativity much more extensively, and goes into Whitehead's discussion of extensive connection in Process and Reality, part IV. On the other hand, the first two chapters of Hélal's study on Whitehead's idea of nature, and especially the final chapter on his refusal to allow any bifurcation in nature introduce many themes not to be found in Palter. If a rigorous, systematic, and elaborate presentation of Whitehead's philosophy of science is desired, Palter's work should be consulted. But if one is interested in the metaphysical undercurrents in Whitehead's earlier period, then perhaps Hélal's is preferable. Thus for example, Palter barely mentions the notions of "percipient events" and "percipient objects," while Hélal pays special attention to them as precursors of Whitehead's concern for subjectivity in his metaphysics.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph198235325
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