First published in 1929, Whitehead’s Process and Reality was his magnum opus and the product of his Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 1927-1928. The work itself is a kind of speculative metaphysics which attempts to set forward “a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted” (p. 3). On Whitehead’s account, however, attending to the reality of the world entails that there can be no position above or outside of the process of becoming. To understand reality is to understand an event in its full contingency, and thus in its relation to the totality of history. Thus, Whitehead describes his as a “philosophy of organism”, because reality itself is conceived of as a kind of bios, a life in motion.
University of Edinburgh
- Tim Baylor, University of St Andrews