An enquiry concerning the principles of natural knowledge

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  • Pages : XII-200
  • Support : Print
  • Format : 23 cm.
  • Langues : Anglais
  • Édition : Original
  • Ville : Cambridge
  • URL : Lien externe
  • Date de création : 13-03-2012
  • Dernière mise à jour : 13-03-2012



«There are three main streams of thought which are relevant to the theme of this enquiry; they may, with sufficient accuracy, be termed the scientific, the mathematical, and the philosophical movements. Modern speculative physics with its revolutionary theories concerning the natures of matter and of electricity has made urgent the question, What are the ultimate data of science? It is in accordance with the nature of things that mankind should find itself acting and should then proceed to discuss the rationale of its activities. Thus the creation of science precedes the analysis of its data and can even be accompanied by the acceptance of faulty analyses, though such errors end by warping scientific imagination» (p. V). – Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) was a prominent English mathematician and philosopher who co-authored the highly influential Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell. Considered the "high water mark of his philosophical achievement", Whitehead's book is a rigorous inquiry into the data of science. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge ranks among Whitehead's most important works; forming a perspective on scientific observation that incorporated a complex view of experience, rather than prioritising the position of 'pure' sense data. Alongside companion volumes The Concept of Nature (1920) and The Principle of Relativity (1922), it created a framework for Whitehead's later metaphysical speculations. This is an important book that will be of value to anyone with an interest in the relationship between science and philosophy. – Contents : – Part I. The Traditions of Science: – 1. Meaning; – 2. The foundations of dynamical physics; – 3. Scientific relativity; – 4. Congruence; – Part II. The Data of Science: – 5. The natural elements; – 6. Events; – 7. Objects; – Part III. The Method of Extensive Abstraction: – 8. Principles of the method of extensive abstraction; – 9. Durations, moments and time-systems; – 10. Finite abstractive elements; – 11. Points and straight lines; – 12. Normality and congruence; – 13. Motion; Part IV. The Theory of Objects: – 14. The location of objects; – 15. Material objects; – 16. Causal components; 17. Figures; – 18. Rhythms. – Notes.