Scott J. Simon / p. 5
Whitehead was born on Isle of Fanet, later moved to England, and ended up in Cambridge.
He began as a mathematician interested in physics at Cambridge. In 1925 he finally left
Cambridge for Harvard. Science and Modern World (1925) is his first statement of his
metaphysics; Process and Reality (1928) is considered the Whiteheadian Bible that includes his
most mature (and technical) writing on his scientifically based metaphysical views. Whitehead
considered reality to be God, or eternal objects in a perpetual stated of becoming (or
transformation). Thus Plato’s Timeus can be recognized in Whitehead’s metaphysical
philosophy as well as relativity and quantum physics. The combination forms a “process
philosophy” uniquely his own. In addition, Whitehead claims atoms are organisms and nothing is
inorganic: everything is alive (animism).
Whitehead understood relativity physics as interrelational; this he contrasted with Newton’s
universe, which was made up of external relationships: those in which the relations do not affect
the character of the terms. In contrast, relativity physics is made up of internal relationships, and
relations do affect the character of the terms (changed by relations). Whitehead also included the
space-time continuum and entities given by quantum physics; each entity views the universe
from its own perspective. This mirrors Bergson’s doctrine of relations to a certain degree.
Each Whiteheadian being is a collection of acts; a series of pulses. The universe of events is
made up of prehension; concressence; and superjects: to prehend is to be aware, concrescence is
the coming together of many attributes into one object, an object becomes a superject when it
transcend their own boundaries. This ternary progression is similar to James’ view that we are
always making ourselves. And like Plato, Whitehead assumes a world that is intelligible and
valuable from bottom to top. But, Whitehead’s metaphysics inverts Platonism: eternal forms are