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Whitehead's Metaphysics of Power

Reconstructing Modern Philosophy

Pierfrancesco Basile

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Shows how Whitehead’s metaphysics developed from his reading of early modern philosophy

At the beginning of his magnum opus, Process and Reality (1929), Whitehead lists a series of beliefs which he thinks are widely held by contemporary philosophers. They are all condemned as dangerously mistaken.

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Part I. In Search of a New Metaphysics
1. Introduction: Metaphysics, Science, Common Sense
2. Speculative Metaphysics: Defining the Ideal

Part II. From Permanence to Process
3. Deconstructing Tradition: Substance Revisited
4. The Flowing Self: From Monads to Actual Occasions
5. Overcoming the Cartesian Legacy: The Process Concept of Substance

Part III. From Process to Permanence
6. Changing Shapes of Reality: Understanding Nature under a Social Analogy
7. Theological Afterthoughts: A Neo-Platonic God for a Darwinian Universe?

8. Conclusion: The Ethics of Creativity - A Deweyan Critique

Appendix: The Making of a Metaphysician – a Biographical Note


About the Author

Pierfrancesco Basile is a lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Bern, Switzerland.


Whitehead’s speculative cosmology and willingness to reform language in its service set him against the philosophical trends of his time. Pierfrancesco Basile’s discerning study eschews adulation, revealing a carefully revolutionary Whitehead grappling with matter, mind and metaphysics, a tempered rationalist indebted to Leibniz, whose philosophy "escapes any easy judgment."

- Peter Simons, Trinity College Dublin

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