Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead's Radical Empiricism (NDPR review)

This is refreshing considering the amount of questionable Whitehead scholarship published as of late. Auxier teaches process philosophy at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is a trusted source on the topic.

The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead's Radical Empiricism
// Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

2017.12.03 : View this Review Online

Randall E. Auxier and Gary L. Herstein, The Quantum of Explanation: Whitehead's Radical Empiricism, Routledge, 2017, 370pp., $150.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781138700161.
Reviewed by George Lucas, U.S. Naval Academy

This is an insightful and provocative account of Whitehead's metaphysics by two gifted and determined scholars. It centers on the claim that the key concept in that metaphysical system, the "actual entity" or "actual occasion" (res vera), is an explanatory, illustrative, or heuristic concept (as the so-called "Bohr atom" serves in physics, for example), and decidedly neither a "Ding-an-sich" nor a descriptive account of what "actuality" is actually composed of.

Instead, the authors identify Whitehead's technically challenging metaphysics as his effort to understand "the quantum of explanation" rather than to disclose some fundamental quantum of Being itself.