Winter-Spring Reading Group: Alfred North Whitehead’s Process and Reality

The AIPCT is pleased to announce its winter-spring reading group covering Alfred North Whitehead’s Process and Reality. This reading group will be handled much more like a graduate seminar than our past reading groups have been. The text is very difficult –among the most difficult books in philosophy ever written. For those with no prior experience of Whitehead and process philosophy, this will provide a kind of introduction, but the discussion is likely to unfold at a fairly advanced level. Patience may be needed to ride the current of the discussion, but it is hoped that a far-ranging discussion about the fundamental nature of physical reality and of mind and possibility will unfold. There is a companion volume that will be studied by the group, The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead’s Radical Empiricism, by Randall Auxier and Gary Herstein. The group will be led by Randall Auxier, Professor of Philosophy and Communication Studies at SIUC. The study commences on January 22, 2020, and will follow the schedule below.

The seminar leader is AIPCT co-director Randall Auxier. Here is a link to Auxier’s introductory account of Whitehead in an interview filmed and conducted in 2018 by Christof Wolf, SJ, of the Munich School of Philosophy.

Tentative Reading Schedule:

Jan. 22: Introduction and Course Mechanics. Read Quantum, Introduction and chs. 1-2; Herstein, “Alfred North Whitehead,” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Jan. 29: Read PR xi-xv; 3-17; read Quantum, ch. 3. Descriptive Metaphysics and Logic.

Feb. 5: Parts and Wholes, Existence, Explanation, and Obligation. Read and then re-read The Categoreal Scheme, PR 18-30; and Derivative Notions, PR 31-51; & Quantum ch. 4.

Feb. 12: The Extensive Continuum, PR 61-82; and Quantum, ch. 5.

Feb. 19: The Order of Nature; Organisms and Environment, PR 83-129, 147-156; Quantum, ch 6.

Feb. 26: Same assignment (83-129, 147-156); add Historical Antecedents, PR 130-147 (includes Section I of “The Subjectivist Principle”).

Mar. 4: The Subjectivist Principle and Symbolic Reference; PR 160-183; Quantum, ch 7, pp. 112-123.

Mar. 9: Spring Break.

Mar. 18: Theory of Propositions and Process, PR 184-215; Quantum, ch. 7, pp. 123-141.

Mar. 25: Feelings, PR 219-243; Quantum, ch. 8.

Apr. 1: Transmission of Feelings; Propositions and Feelings.  PR 244-265. Quantum, ch. 10.

Apr. 8: Higher Phases of Experience.  PR 266-280; Quantum, ch. 11.

Apr. 15: Coordinate Division; Extensive Connection, PR 283-301; Quantum, ch. 9.

Apr. 22: Flat Loci, Strains, and Measurement. PR 302-333; other reading TBA (new piece by Auxier on possibility).

Apr. 29: Ideal Opposites; God and the World. PR 337-351; recommended, Quantum, chs. 12-13.

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