unification of space, time, matter, events & teleology

 Alfred North Whitehead & Marshall McLuhan

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) was a British mathematician, logician and philosopher. His most unique and intriguing work lies in his metaphysics studied in the later years of his life. 

His attempt to provide a metaphysical unification of space, time, matter, events and teleology has been less than enthusiastically embraced by members of the broader philosophical community (Irvine).

According to Whitehead, recognition that the world is organic rather than materialistic is essential for anyone wanting to develop a comprehensive account of nature, and this change in viewpoint can result as easily from attempts to understand human psychology and teleology as from attempts to understand modern physics (1925, 90). 

Says Whitehead, “Mathematical physics presumes in the first place an electromagnetic field of activity pervading space and time. The laws which condition this field are nothing else than the conditions observed by the general activity of the flux of the world, as it individualizes itself in the events” (1925, 190). The result is that nature is no longer thought to be simply atoms in the void, but instead “a structure of evolving processes. The reality is the process” (1925, 90).

McLuhan places an increasing emphasis on the destructiveness and violence of change and uses Whitehead's philosophy to justify his reasoning(Genosko, 2005). 

"The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they  occur" (Alfred North Whitehead).


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