ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD: FROM CAMBRIDGE MATHEMATICIAN TO HARVARD PHILOSOPHER
Peter Farleigh, Physiology, and Centre for Human Aspects of Science and Technology
Venue: Lecture Theatre 101, Sydney Law School Building, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus
Time: 6.00pm to 7.30 (includes Q & A)
What would the consequences be, if rather than substances and structures, we took events and processes to be the primary entities that make up the universe? And what if instead of the traditional mechanistic model we used the concept of the organism, as the key metaphor in our understanding of the world? These are two central questions that Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) wrestled with in his later years. Whitehead of course, was famous for his early collaboration with Bertrand Russell on one of the most important works of mathematics in history—the three volumes of Principia Mathematica. While the two equally shared the work of this heroic attempt to establish a logical foundation for mathematics, it is not commonly known that there had been a fourth volume planned, which Whitehead alone began working on. But what became of the unfinished volume and why was it important for his philosophical development?