Эссе: Alfred North Whitehead


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Английский язык
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Эссе
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3

... Greek thinkers, and that have held the field ever since. & The physicist ordinarily regards himself as concerned with the adventures of material entities in space and time, and accordingly has interpreted the course of nature as being the history of matter. More particularly defined, the attitude is this: the physicist conceives himself as perceiving the attributes of things, and the things which have these attributes as being bits of matter. He further conceives these bits of matter as capable only of moving in space; and so has come to believe that a complete description of the aggregations and motions of which they are capable would constitute an adequate solution of all the problems with which natural science has to deal. & Whitehead formulates an alternative to this philosophy of nature. In place of the substantial, material entities, persisting through time and moving in space, he would substitute as being the ultimate components of reality, a very different kind of entities; and these he would describe as being events. Nature, he declares, is at each moment an all-comprehensive event within which we discriminate constituent events; and behind the notion of an event we cannot penetrate by any amount of analysis. & What we alone immediately experience are events, not detached events standing in serial order in time, but events that always overlap and so together constitute the one total durational event that is nature at any assignable period." With the problem of representative perception, Whitehead deals as follows: "When Whitehead," continues Professor Kemp Smith, "tells us that all present-day natural philosophy is vitiated by the fallacy of bifurcation, he means that it commits us to a quite untenable division of the components of objective nature into two diametrically opposed types of existence, the material and the mental; or to employ a more adequate pair of terms, the physical and the psychical. & The physicist bifurcates objective nature into physical and psychical components, and counts the secondary qualities [sound, color, heat, etc.] as belonging to the latter class, because he is unable, by means of his physical principles, to explain either their coming to be or their ceasing to be. Indeed, from his point of view, it would be more satisfactory if they did not exist at all. So far as he can discover, they make no difference in the behavior of the bodies in which they are found. ...