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Revising Whitehead’s Notion of Society in the Light of Contemporary Physics

Marc A. Pugliese
  • Saint Leo University, marc.pugliese@saintleo.edu
Published Online: 2015-09-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0015


This article argues that Joseph A. Bracken’s revisions of Alfred North Whitehead’s derivative notion of “society” are plausible in view of developments in physics since Whitehead. In particular, Bracken argues that Whitehead’s derivative notion of “society” should rather be a category of existence equiprimordial with “actual entity,” and that contemporary actual entities in concrescence do influence each other as they directly prehend the society as a nexus. The article begins with Whitehead’s view of the metaphysical project as empirical, tentative, and subject to ongoing revision. Next, the essay explains Whitehead’s view of societies and contemporary actual entities. Following this is a survey of developments in physics since Whitehead that are relevant to his understanding of “society” and contemporary actual entities. The article then explains how Bracken differs from Whitehead on these points and argues that the physics developments corroborate Bracken’s proposed revisions to Whitehead. The essay ends with a restatement of Whitehead’s view of metaphysics as provisional and in need of ongoing revision.

Keywords: Alfred North Whitehead; Joseph A. Bracken; Process Philosophy; Process Theology; Process Thought; Metaphysics; Ontology; Philosophical Theology; Fundamental Theology; Thomism; Substance; Science and Religion; Physics


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Received: 2015-08-03

Accepted: 2015-08-31

Published Online: 2015-09-21

Citation Information: Open Theology. Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2015-0015, September 2015

©2015 Marc A. Pugliese. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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