Panentheism.  Revisionism.  Anarchocapitalism.



Essays by Me

Essays by Others

Process, Insight, and Empirical Method 

An Argument for the Compatibility of the Philosophies of Alfred North Whitehead and Bernard J. F. Lonergan and Its Implications for Foundational Theology.

A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Divinity School, The University of Chicago, for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

December 1983

Thomas Hosinski, C.S.C.

Chapter III:

The Influence of Empirical Method in Whitehead’s and Lonergan’s Analyses of Human Subjectivity [Continued]

Whitehead’s Analysis of Human Subjectivity [Continued]


Human Experience: The Source and Proving Ground of Philosophy

One of the overriding convictions of Whitehead’s thought is that our experience as human subjects is the actual locus of our reality.  It is in our experience as subjects that we find the “stubborn facts” which together constitute the reality of our lives.  Hence the purpose of philosophy—indeed, the purpose of all thought—is to “elucidate” our experience, to cast some light upon it, to help us make some sense out of it, to help us understand.  This, as Whitehead says, “is the sole justification for any thought.” [PR, I.1.ii (M, p. 6; C, p. 4).] It is a justification because in bringing clarity, thought can bring a deeper appreciation of all that is involved in our living, and it can help us to make our living “better” (however one chooses to define the “good”).  Thought, then, is a part of our experience as human subjects, but it is only a part, and its value resides in its relationships to our other modes of experience.  Our experience is multifarious, while thought—as its history from ancient Greece to the present illustrates—has a tendency to canalize itself.  Since the special fields of thought tend to deal with highly select aspects of our experience, it falls to philosophy (as at its origin) to elucidate the full range of our ordinary and common experience as well as the relations between the special fields of thought. It is the task of philosophy to shed some light on our common human experience, on the ways in which we order and conduct, and are influenced and affected in, our living.

Our common human experience is partially reflected in what we call “common sense,” something we find difficult to define, but which we know when we see it, or exercise it, or fail to exercise it.  Since common sense is a reflection of at least some of the realities of our lives—usually the most practical ones—it is part of philosophy’s task to elucidate common sense.  Common sense certainly needs elucidation, for it is most often so limited in scope that of itself it cannot lead us to the deeper dimensions of our living, but common sense does have a strong grasp of the practicalities of our living. Philosophy, then, ought to be able to show why common sense is sense, and not nonsense.  All of us who deal with the high abstractions of philosophy or the special sciences remember quite vividly what contortions of our “normal” consciousness were necessary for us to understand these abstractions and appreciate their worth when we were first introduced to them.  We gradually learn to cherish these abstractions for the light they shed, but often our common sense had to suspend judgment as we learned, and throughout years of dealing with these abstractions it can keep nagging us at the level of our common humanity with the insistence that some obvious features of our living are being overlooked, ignored, or misunderstood.  Whitehead wants to listen to that nagging insistence.  He wants to try to make sense out of David Hume’s life once he left his study, as well as acknowledge and use Hume’s insight and reflection produced in his study.  A philosophy that cannot do this, that cannot shed light on our practice as well as our thinking, is limited in some obvious way, as the living of our lives and our common sense very often protest.  The reality of our lives is in the living, not just in those intermittent moments when we happen to think clearly, and it is the reality of our lives that Whitehead wants to elucidate.

Thus one of the dominant characteristics of Whitehead’s philosophy is the active interrogation of our experience in as comprehensive a way as possible.  Whitehead regards the experience of human subjects as the data for thought and as—the evidence against which our thinking must be tested.  No source of evidence must be ignored or overlooked.

Whitehead states this most forcefully in a famous passage: “In order to discover some of the major categories under which we can classify the infinitely various components of experience, we must appeal to evidence relating to every variety of occasion.  Nothing can be omitted, experience drunk and ex-perience sober, experience sleeping and experi-ence waking, experience drowsy and experience wide-awake, experience self-conscious and experi-ence self-forgetful, experience intellectual and ex-perience physical, experience religious and experi-ence sceptical, experience anxious and experience care-free, experience anticipatory and experience retrospective, experience happy and experience grieving, experience dominated by emotion and ex-perience under self-restraint, experience in the light and experience in the dark, experience normal and experience abnormal.” AI, XV, vii, p. 226.

We must actively search out the testimony of our experience, and when it comes to the testing of our ultimate presuppositions, the appeal will always be to naive experience.  We see here again the influence and the use of empirical method in Whitehead’s approach [See Thesis, pp. 35-52.], the commitment to the thorough interrogation of experience in the search for evidence.  Moreover, the conviction that lies behind Whitehead’s project and his method is not unlike or unrelated to the conviction behind the pursuit of empirical science: the evidence as to the nature of reality is there; we must search it out if we hope to understand more clearly.

Whitehead’s metaphysics, then, is far from being some “categoreal speculation.”  Rather, the major categories he tries to bring together into a consistent, coherent, and adequate scheme of interpretation are the ultimate presuppositions he discovers in a long and patient study of the great storehouses of human experience: the mathematical and empirical sciences, philosophy, history, poetry, literature, art, religion, and everyday living and common sense.  While the scheme of interpretation is speculative, its categories are initially derived from some form of human experience and both the categories and the interpretative scheme are always to be tested against the “stubborn facts” of our experience.  I have already discussed Whitehead’s understanding of metaphysics and its method above [Ibid.], but perhaps it is worth showing briefly how the categoreal analysis of Process and Reality is preceded by a comprehensive interrogation of human experience.  It must be remembered that all forms of thought are expressions or interpretations of human experience, and that Whitehead is searching for those presuppositions concerning the nature of reality that lie behind our modes of thought and our practical experience.  Whitehead’s search for these general presuppositions began before his “metaphysical” period, and numerous examples of his attempts to uncover the ultimate presuppositions of the empirical sciences and our every-day living can be found in An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge (1919), The Concept of Nature (1920), and The Principle of Relativity (1922), as well as in the several papers produced in this period.  In Science and the Modern World (1926) Whitehead attempts to elicit and bring together general presuppositions drawn from studies of the mathematical and empirical sciences, philosophy, poetry, and religion.  In the same year appeared a slim volume devoted to an interrogation of human religious experience alone (Religion in the Making). In the following year (1927) appeared another slim volume devoted to a study of human sense perception, and the underlying human experience of causality (Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect).  In each of these works Whitehead attempts to discover the ultimate presuppositions about the nature of reality attested to by the form of experience he is analyzing, and throughout each of them he repeatedly appeals to the testimony of common sense as well.

Whitehead is reported to have said late in his life, “In all I have written, I have been trying to express common sense,” Lucien Price, Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1954), p. 367.

Only after this extensive review of human experience in so many of its forms does Whitehead finally apply in a fully systematic way in Process and Reality (1929) the categories he has discovered.  It is not insignificant that his last three books (The Function of Reason, 1929; Adventures of Ideas, 1933; and Modes of Thought, 1938) reinterrogate human experience over the same broad range.  These works are, in a sense, continuing experiments performed to test the adequacy of the speculative scheme of interpreta-tion.  Thus when viewed as a whole, Whitehead’s “metaphysical” writings clearly follow the empirical method he proposes as being the true method of all discovery.

Whitehead’s analysis of human subjectivity, then, is an attempt to pay careful attention to the whole of our living experience, not just our thinking. Whitehead insists on this because, in his evaluation, most modern philosophy fails a crucial test.  One of the ultimate assumptions or presuppositions of empirical science, common sense, and our daily living alike is that we—as human subjects experiencing—act and are acted upon in a common, public world.  Modern philosophy has had an extremely difficult time showing this ultimate presupposition to be reasonable, and in some forms has denied that it is reasonable.  I shall cite just a few of Whitehead’s numerous remarks to this effect.

All modern philosophy hinges round the difficulty of describing the world in terms of subject and predicate, substance and quality, particular and universal.  The result always does violence to that immediate experience which we express in our actions, our hopes, our sympathies, our purposes, and which we enjoy in spite of our lack of phrases for its verbal analysis.  We find ourselves in a buzzing world, amid a democracy of fellow creatures; whereas, under some disguise or other, orthodox philosophy can only introduce us to solitary substances, each enjoying an illusory experience . . . [PR, II.1.v (M, 78; C, pp. 49-50).]

. . . common sense is inflexibly objectivist.  We perceive other things which are in the world of actualities in the same sense as we are.  Also our emotions are directed towards other things. . . [PR, II.7.i (M, p. 240; C, p. 158).]

Hume himself introduces the ominous appeal to “practice”—not in criticism of his premises, but in supplement to his conclusions.  Bradley, who repudiates Hume, finds the objective world in which we live, and move, and have our being, “inconsistent if taken as real.” Neither side conciliates philosophical conceptions of a real world with the world of daily experience. [PR, II.6.v (M, p. 237; C, p. 156).]

This experienced conflict between philosophical schemes of interpretation and how we actually live and experience causes Whitehead to formulate his “metaphysical rule of evidence: that we must bow to those presuppositions in despite of criticism, we still employ for the regulation of our lives.  Such presumptions are imperative in experience. Rationalism is the search for the coherence of such presumptions.” [PR, II.6.iv (M, p. 229; C, p. 151).]

Whitehead’s search for such coherence leads him to formulate what he calls the “reformed subjectivist principle” [PR, II.7.i (M, pp. 238-243; C, pp. 157-160); II.7.v (M, pp. 252-54; C, pp. 166-167)], which is an attempt to balance the “subjectivist principle” of modern philosophy with an “objectivist principle” concerning the datum for experience.  To put this complex issue most simply, the reformed subjectivist principle acknowledges that “subjective experiencing is the primary metaphysical situation which is presented to metaphysics for analysis” [PR, II.7.i M, p. 243; C, p. 160.], but refuses to lose sight of the insistence of our common sense that our subjective experiencing is neither initially nor finally private, isolated, unrelated to the world about us.  In the conduct of our daily lives, in our naive and untutored experiencing, we never for one moment doubt that in our subjective experiencing we have to do with objects—more or less like ourselves—which can and do affect us, and which we, in turn, can and do affect. Our naive experience certainly seems to tell us

that we are within a world of colours, sounds, and other sense-objects, related in space and time to enduring objects such as stones, trees, and human bodies.  We seem to be ourselves elements of this world in the same sense as are the other things which we perceive. [SMW, V, p. 129.]

Our naive experience seems to testify that while our experiencing is unavoidably subjective, we are thereby related to the world within which we live, and that in important ways we are like the multitude of fellow-creatures we encounter in that world.  We are not experiencing our own subjectivity alone.  Our subjectivity is not an isolation chamber, or some prison of privacy in which we are solitarily confined. There is, indeed, an element of privacy in our subjective experiencing—the intense immediacy of our feelings, our needs, hopes, desires, intentions, purposes, and decisions—but in any single act of experiencing, our moment of privacy is, so to speak, bonded between what is given to us from the world in that act of experience, and what we give back.  The world flows into us, we are alone for a moment in how we feel that inflowing world and decide to react to it, and then we flow into the world in our actions.  Our subjectivity is composed of the way in which we experience the world relating itself to us and the way in which we decide to relate ourselves to the world.

I am trying to characterize here in a general way the common human experience that gives rise to Whitehead’s technical analysis of concrescence. See, e.g., AI, XI, v, p. 177: “The individual immediacy of an occasion is the final unity of subjective form, which is the occasion as an absolute reality.  This immediacy is its moment of sheer individuality, bounded on either side by essential relativity.  The occasion arises from relevant objects, and perishes into the status of an object for other occasions.  But it enjoys its decisive moment of absolute self-attainment as emotional unity.”

In the history of modern philosophy, according to Whitehead’s understanding, there has been an unfortunate mischaracterization of the datum of an act of experience.  In our common experience we find something given to us at the outset of experience, and that datum has a vector character; it is directional, referent to something other than us. It has, in other words, an “objective content.”

See PR, II.6.iii-iv (M, pp. 227-231; C, pp. 149-153).  I am, for the moment, ignoring the ontological analysis presented in these sections and directing attention only to the general point of our common experience that Whitehead is trying to elucidate.

But modern philosophy has so construed the act of experience that the objective content of the datum has been stripped away and the act of experience reduced to the private, subjective entertainment of “universals” with no particular referent.  Subjectivity, then, becomes a prison from which it is exceedingly difficult to make contact with the world.

“If experience be not based upon an objective content, there can be no escape from a solipsist subjectivism.” PR, II.6.iv (M, pp. 230-231; C, p. 152).

We must study Whitehead’s understanding of why modern philosophy was driven to this position, since in his view many of the major problems of modern philosophy can be traced directly to this mischaracterization of the datum of an act of experience.

Whitehead consistently denies what is usually called “the sensationalist doctrine,” but notes that there are really two distinct principles involved in that doctrine. [PR, 11.7.i (M, pp. 238-243; C, pp. 157-160).] These are “the subjectivist principle” and “the sensationalist principle.”  

The subjectivist principle is, that the datum in the act of experience can be adequately analysed purely in terms of universals.

The sensationalist principle is, that the primary activity in the act of experience is the bare subjective entertainment of the datum, devoid of any subjective form of reception.  This is the doctrine of mere sensation.

The subjectivist principle follows from three premises: (i) The acceptance of the “substance-quality” concept as expressing the ultimate ontological principle. (ii) The acceptance of Aristotle’s definition of a primary substance, as always a subject and never a predicate. (iii) The assumption that the experient subject is a primary substance. The first premise states that the final metaphysical fact is always to be expressed as a quality inhering in a substance.  The second premise divides qualities and primary substances into two mutually exclusive classes.  The two premises together are the foundation of the traditional distinction between universals and particulars. [Ibid. M, p. 239; C, p. 157).]

With this understanding of several key interpretive ideas of the philosophical tradition, Whitehead proceeds to show how philosophy went awry in analyzing our common experience.  The Greeks, trying to pay attention to our common experience, looked to common forms of language.  They fastened on a typical statement, “that stone is grey,” and derived their generalization “that the actual world can be conceived as a collection of primary substances qualified by universal qualities.” [Ibid. (M, p. 240; C, p. 158).]

The theory of knowledge was grounded on perception, and perception was taken to be an awareness of a universal quality qualifying a particular substance.  The perceiver, of course, is understood to perceive by means of his or her organs of sensation.  “Thus the universal qualities which qualify the perceived substances are, in respect to the perceiver, his private sensations referred to particular substances other than himself.” [Ibid. (M, pp. 240-241; C, pp. 158-159).] At this point in the philosophical tradition there was still a strong element of objectivism present in metaphysics; the substance-predicate form of proposition was understood to express a fundamental metaphysical fact.  But this tradition was greatly modified by Descartes.

Descartes modified traditional philosophy in two opposite ways.  He increased the metaphysical emphasis on the substance-quality forms of thought.  The actual things “required nothing but themselves in order to exist,” and were to be thought of in terms of their qualities. . . He also laid down the principle, that those substances which are the subjects enjoying conscious experiences provide the primary data for philosophy, namely, themselves as in the enjoyment of such experience.  This is the famous subjectivist bias which entered into modern philosophy through Descartes.  In this doctrine Descartes undoubtedly made the greatest philosophical discovery since the age of Plato and Aristotle.  For his doctrine directly traversed the notion that the proposition, “This stone is grey,” expresses a primary form of known fact from which metaphysics can start its generalizations.  If we are to go back to the subjective enjoyment of experience, the type of primary starting-point is “my perception of this stone as grey.” [Ibid. (M, p. 241; C, p. 159).]

Descartes himself, however, and those who came after him, missed the import of this discovery, because they continued to apply the substance-quality categories in their analyses of how the subject enjoys experience.

Yet if the enjoyment of experience be the constitutive subjective fact, these categories have lost all claim to any fundamental character in metaphysics.  Hume—to proceed at once to the consistent exponent of the method—looked for a universal quality to function as qualifying the mind, by way of explanation of its perceptive enjoyment.  Now if we scan “my perception of this stone as grey” in order to find a universal, the only available candidate is “greyness.” Accordingly for Hume, “greyness,” functioning as a sensation qualifying the mind, is a fundamental type of fact for metaphysical generalization.  The result is Hume’s simple impressions of sensation, which form the starting-point of his philosophy.  But this is an entire muddle, for the perceiving mind is not grey, and so grey is now made to perform a new role.  From the original fact “my perception of this stone as grey,” Hume extracts “Awareness of sensation of grey-ness”; and puts it forward as the ultimate datum in this element of experience.

He has discarded the objective actuality of the stone-image in his search for a universal quality. . . . He is then content with “sensation of greyness,” which is just as much a particular as the original stone-image.  He is aware of “this sensation of grey-ness.”  What he has done is to assert arbitrarily the “subjectivist” and “sensationalist” principles as applying to the datum for experience: the notion “this sensation of greyness” has no reference to any other actual entity.  Hume thus applies to the experiencing subject Descartes’ principle, that it requires no other actual entity in order to exist. [Ibid. (M, pp. 241-242; C, pp. 159-160).]

Kant, in a monumental effort to overcome the skepticism resultant from Hume’s philosophy, rejects the sensationalist principle [See Ibid. (M, p. 238; C, p. 157).], but accepts Hume’s account of the datum for experience. [PR, II.6.v (M, p. 235; C, p. 155).] As a result he can only arrive at the apparent objectivity of the world as the outcome of a constructive process of mental reflection imposing order on chaotic sense-data.  Thus both Hume and Kant end up with interpretations which clash with our common experience.  Against Hume, our sensation clearly seems to have reference to an objective content (“this stone as grey”).  Against Kant, we seem in our subjective experience to be confronted with an already ordered and objective world prior to the onset of reflective operations.  If the grey stone should strike us in the face, we do not have to pursue the operations leading to knowledge before we feel the pain.  We have a direct intuition—a feeling—of the objectivity of the stone in relation to our experience of pain before we ever begin to reflect on the experience.

Thus Whitehead’s “reformed subjectivist principle” tries to restore balance to the subjectivist bias of modern philosophy by taking seriously the common-sense testimony as to the objective content of the datum for experience.

“It is impossible to scrutinize too carefully the character to be assigned to the datum in the act of experience.  The whole philosophical system depends on it.”  PR, II.7.i (M, p. 238; C, p. 157).

This has the double merit of accepting the evidence contained in our naive experience and also permitting the development of a scheme of interpretation which can resolve many of the major problems resultant from the subjectivist and sensationalist principles.

“The justification for this procedure is, first, common sense, and, secondly, the avoidance of the difficulties which have dogged the subjectivist and sensationalist principles of modern philosophy.” Ibid. (M, p. 243; C, p. 160).

If the objective content of the datum for experience is stripped away, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to find any basis for our notions of order and causality, for our practice of induction (and here it must be remembered that these notions are vital not just to science, but to the conduct of our daily lives), and difficult, too, to find any basis for purpose, value, intentions, and activity.  All these notions presup-pose an essential connectedness, a relatedness within the world of objects in which we find ourselves on equal terms.  If subjective experience be described in such a way that the subject requires nothing but itself in order to exist, none of these notions makes sense.  Yet they are the very basis of all our sense.

The “reformed subjectivist principle,” then, agrees with Descartes’ discovery that the primary situation presented for metaphysical analysis is subjective experiencing, but holds that the experiencing subject is qualified not by “universals” with no particular referent, but instead by “particular existents which, for the experiencing subject, have become objects.”

This is a statement of the reformed subjectivist principle in the vocabulary of the philosophical tradition.

In turn, every experiencing subject can become an “object” or some other experiencing subject. Initially this can be most easily understood simply by reflecting on the fact that as experiencing subjects we are affected by other humans and that we, in turn, can and do affect other humans.  Just as we are qualified by what others have become and done, so other human beings, as experiencing subjects, are qualified by what we have become and done.  This is the basic human experience Whitehead expresses more generally in his statement of the reformed subjectivist principle.

. . . it belongs to the nature of a “being” that it is a potential for every “becoming.”  Thus all things are to be conceived as qualifications of actual occasions. . . . how an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual entity is . . . . The way in which one actual entity is qualified by other actual entities is the “experience” of the actual world enjoyed by the actual entity, as subject.  The [reformed] subjectivist principle is that the whole universe consists of elements disclosed in the analysis of the experience of subjects. Process is the becoming of experience.  It follows that the philosophy of organism entirely accepts the subjectivist bias of modern philosophy.  It also accepts Hume’s doctrine that nothing is to be received into the philosophical scheme which is not discoverable as an element in subjective experience.  This is the ontological principle.  Thus Hume’s demand that causation, be describable as an element in experience is, on these principles, entirely justifiable.  The point of the criticisms of Hume’s procedure is that we have direct intuition of inheritance and memory: thus the only problem is, so to describe the general character of experience that these intuitions may be included. . . . Finally, the reformed subjectivist principle must be repeated: that apart from the experiences of subjects there is nothing, nothing, nothing, bare nothingness. [PR, II.7.v (M, p. 252-253; C, pp. 166-167).]

The reformed subjectivist principle is the formal and generalized statement of one of Whitehead’s fundamental methodological principles: that human experience (in its totality) is the only source of data and evidence for philosophical reflection, and that what is found in the metaphysical interrogation of human experience may be used legitimately to construe the structure of reality.  But in contrast to much of the philosophical tradition, which has placed great weight on sense-perception, conscious introspection, and cognition, Whitehead places great emphasis on the more primitive elements of human experience, particularly the experience of having a body.  Here again, Whitehead’s empirical approach guides his thinking.  The goal or ideal for metaphysical reflection is to discover the structure of reality.  Even a cursory inventory of the types of “objects” in the world, however, reveals at once that rationality (that is, the exercise of cognition and reflective thinking) is present only in human beings and perhaps a few other of the “higher” types of animals—and then only intermittently.

“It is said that ‘men are rational.’  This is palpably false: they are only intermittently rational—merely liable to rationality.”  PR, II.2.v (M, p. 122; C, p. 79).

Sense-perception and consciousness are also restricted in their occurrence.  It is highly unlikely, then, that these aspects of our experience can serve as a basis from which to generalize concerning the fundamental structures of reality, when so much of the world seems indifferent to sense-perception, consciousness, and reflective thought.  It is to the more primitive aspects of our experience that we must attend, and Whitehead finds these in our relationship to our bodies.

I shall be considering this topic in the following subsection, but I can summarize the methodological approach here.  The point of departure is the recognition that our bodies, though habitually identified with our selves, are distinct from our personal existence and lie in the field of nature.

We think of ourselves as so intimately entwined in bodily life that a man is a complex unity—body and mind.  But the body is part of the external world, continuous with it.  In fact, it is just as much part of nature as anything else there—a river, or a mountain, or a cloud. Also, if we are fussily exact, we cannot define where a body begins and where external nature ends. [MT, II, p. 21.]

And yet our feeling of bodily unity is a primary experience.  It is an experience so habitual and so completely a matter of course that we rarely mention it.  No one ever says, Here am I, and I have brought my body with me. . . .

The body is that portion of nature with which each moment of human experience intimately cooperates.  There is an inflow and outflow of factors between the bodily actuality and the human experience, so that each shares in the existence of the other.  The human body provides our closest experience of the interplay of actualities in nature.

. . . Analogous notions of activity and forms of transition, apply to human experience and to the human body.  Thus bodily activities and forms of experience can be construed in terms of each other.  Also the body is part of nature. Thus we finally construe the world in terms of the type of activities disclosed in our intimate experience. [MT, VI, pp. 114, 115. See also PR, II.4.v (M, pp. 181-182; C, p. 119); SMW, IV, p. 107, V, pp. 132-134, IX, pp. 216-219; FR, I, pp. 15-26; AI, IX, xvi, pp. 184-185, xxii, p. 189; XV, vi, p. 225.]

Methodologically, then, Whitehead derives his metaphysical categories from an analysis of the common experience of human subjects, but those aspects or dimensions of experience that usually are not the focus of conscious reflection.  In the present occasion of experience the human subject is inheriting bodily feelings and his or her immediately past occasions of experience.  If the final actualities of the world all have the character of occasions of experience, then the experience of human subjects can provide clues for the interpretation of all occasions.

“But if we hold . . . that all final individual actualities have the metaphysical character of occasions of experience, then on that hypothesis the direct evidence as to the connectedness of one’s immediate present occasion of experience with one’s immediately past occasions, can be validly used to suggest categories applying to the connectedness of all occasions in nature.” AI, XV, i, p. 221.

It ought to be pointed out, however, that this level of human experience is not the only source of Whitehead’s metaphysical categories.  Some of the categories can also be derived from modern physics and biology, and Whitehead will also appeal to our aesthetic sense, our sense of moral responsibility, to the intuitions of poets, and to religious experience as well.  All of these appeals to the “higher” forms of our experience, however, are made in support of the speculative interpretation of reality; Whitehead is showing what all of these forms of our experience presuppose about the ultimate structure of reality. And none of these appeals would be of much use could it not be shown that the major categories of the interpretative scheme are illustrated in our common experience as human subjects.

This, then, is the methodological stance adopted toward human subjectivity by Whitehead.  As we shall see below, his analysis of human subjectivity undertaken in this way will serve to ground the fundamental presuppositions of the empirical sciences; it will show what our experience of emotion, value, purpose, responsibility, and activity presuppose in the structures of reality; and it will cause us to regard our cognitional activity and the problems of epistemology in a new way.


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The Analysis of Human Subjectivity: The Dative Phase

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