Whitehead's Organic Philosophy of Science

By Ann L. Plamondon

Subjects: Philosophy Of Science, Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438450803, 174 pages, June 1979
Hardcover : 9780873953870, 174 pages, June 1979

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Table of contents



Part One. The Development of Whitehead's Thought

Chapter I. Geometry

Section 1. The thesis of the first period

Section 2. The thesis of the second period

Section 3. The thesis of the third period

Section 4. The implications of Whitehead's metaphysics for the ontological status of geometrical entities

Chapter II. Number

Section 5. The thesis of the first period

Section 6. The implications of Whitehead's metaphysics for the ontological status of number

Part Two. Foundational Concepts for the Philosophy of Organism

Chapter III. Organism and Environment

Section 7. Organic mechanism

Section 8. Organism

Section 9. Environment

Chapter IV. The Order of Nature

Section 10. The problem of societies

Section 11. A model for understanding societies

Section 12. The order of nature

Chapter V. Foundational Concepts and Evolution

Section 13. The incoherence of materialism

Section 14. The coherence of organism

Part Three. Metaphysics and a Logic of Science

Chapter VI. Contemporary Schools of Thought in the Philosophy of Science in the English-speaking World

Section 15. Formalism and historical relativism

Chapter VII. Laws

Section 16. Laws are true statements of universal(conditional) form

Section 17. Laws are formal statements (neither true nor false) in accordance with which we draw inferences about phenomena

Section 18. Laws are statements about dominant orders of general environments

Chapter VIII. Induction

Section 19. The logic of science as deductive logic

Section 20. Theory-ladenness and induction

Section 21. "Valid inductive inference"

Section 22. Environment and the justification of "valid inductive inference"

Chapter IX. Explanation

Section 23. The orthodox empiricist models of explanation

Section 24. Explanation as an activity of scientists

Section 25. Organism and explanation—metaphysical and scientific

Section 26. Metaphor, analogy, and explanation

Section 27. Environment, metaphor, and explanation

Chapter X. Conceptual Change

Section 28. Explanation and conceptual change

Section 29. Paradigms, meaning variance, and scientific revolutions

Section 30. The organic categories for the structure of scientific revolutions

Section 31. Revolutionary conceptual change

Section 32. Metaphor and conceptual change

Section 33. Theory choice: realism vs. instrumentalism

Chapter XI. Reduction

Section 34. Theoretical reduction

Section 35. Paradigms and reduction

Section 36. The unity of nature: mechanism vs. organicism

Section 37. The unity of nature: teleological explanation



A new approach to Whitehead's philosophy of science, relating his mature metaphysical system to contemporary discussions in the philosophy of science.


"An interestingly different perspective on basic current issues. " — CHOICE

"This essay throws new light on Alfred North Whitehead's philosophy of science and on its contemporary relevance … The research is comprehensive and contemporary … The book could conceivably be used as a text in a course on the philosophy of science. " — Book Reviews