Whitehead and Bradley

A Comparative Analysis

By Leemon B. McHenry

Subjects: Metaphysics
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791409169, 213 pages, November 1991
Hardcover : 9780791409152, 213 pages, December 1991

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Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Introduction


The Central Plan of This Essay
Idealism and Realism
Whitehead's Process Realism and Philosophical Method
Bradley's Absolute and the Skeptical Method


2. The Metaphysics of Experience


Historical Perspective
Bradley's Finite Centres of Experience
Whitehead's Actual Occasions


3. The Analysis of Experience


The Specious Present
Genetic Analysis and the Component Elements
Whitehead's Interpretation of Bradley


4. Internal and External Relations


Bradley in Relation and Contradiction
Concrete Relatedness and Prehension
Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Relations
Extensive Relations and Abstraction


5. Extension and Whole-Part Relations


Events versus Substance
Cosmological Outlook
Transmutation and the Theory of Society
Cosmic Epochs and the Absolute


6. Time


Temporal Unity and Direction
The Eternalistic Theory of Time
Replies to Some Objections to Whitehead


7. God and the Absolute


Universal Absorption
The Consequent Nature of God








In his magnum opus, Process and Reality, Alfred North Whitehead claims a special affinity to Oxford philosopher Francis Herbert Bradley. McHenry clarifies exactly how much of Whitehead's metaphysics is influenced by and accords with the main principles of Bradley's "absolute idealism. " He argues that many of Whitehead's doctrines cannot be understood without an adequate understanding of Bradley, in terms of both affinities and contrasts. He evaluates the arguments between them and explores several important connections with William James, Josiah Royce, George Santayana, Bertrand Russell, and Charles Hartshorne.

Leemon B. McHenry is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Wittenberg University


"The most dramatic contribution of this book is found in McHenry's extremely thorough treatment of the problem of relations in both philosophers. McHenry's discussion of Bradley's own critique of relations is clearer and more comprehensive than any to be found in the current literature, and he distinguishes far more carefully than prior treatments between Bradley's critique of internal and external relations and Whitehead's two different sorts of responses.

"McHenry's most startling and controversial conclusion is that Whitehead has not really addressed or answered Bradley's famous critique and that the two positions stand opposed on the basis of relative plausibility rather than demonstrable logical superiority and inclusiveness. This flies in the face of the prior received interpretations of this issue and reveals the depth and mastery of McHenry's treatment in comparison to earlier commentaries.

"This is a brilliant work of original historical and philosophical scholarship. " -- George R. Lucas, Jr. , National Endowment for the Humanities