Whitehead Revealed:

Examining Whitehead’s First Year of Harvard Lectures

Claremont, CA
November 30 - December 2, 2017


After more than ten years of work, the Whitehead Research Project has produced the first volume in the Edinburgh Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Alfred North Whitehead: The Harvard Lectures of Alfred North Whitehead, 1924-1925: Philosophical Presuppositions of Science, edited by Paul Bogaard and Jason Bell. The focus of the conference will be exploring the significance of this recently published material, which throws new light upon the development of Whitehead’s philosophy. With the publication of this new material, long-standing theories about Whitehead’s early philosophical efforts may now be challenged or overturned, and signals the beginning of a whole new era in Whitehead scholarship. It is anticipated that the essays delivered at the conference will be collected as part of an edited volume based on the conference proceedings.


Alfred North Whitehead was one of the 20th-century's most original and significant philosophers. For the first time, the Edinburgh Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Alfred North Whitehead is bringing together his complete published works and previously unpublished lectures, papers, and correspondence in a series of critically edited volumes.

The edition will include a projected six volumes of Whitehead's unpublished works, including newly discovered materials long thought lost or destroyed. Many of these illustrations, equations, and chalkboard diagrams used by Whitehead in classroom settings have never been seen before by contemporary scholars. They will illuminate many factors that influenced the development of Whitehead's initial and later thought and elucidate, in considerably greater detail than ever before, many of his principal philosophical concepts set out in his published works.

With the first volume of the critical edition now published (February 2017), scholars will be invited to consider what this newly discovered material means for the received interpretation of the meaning and genesis of Whitehead's thought. For instance, do these materials confirm Lewis Ford's compositional thesis or challenge it? What is revealed by Whitehead's drawings of actual occasions and other concepts? What should we make of concepts and terms that were introduced in these lectures but were never incorporated into subsequent publications?

Convened by the co-editors of the critical edition, the conference will gather leading Whitehead scholars from North America and Europe and invite them to engage in a critical discussion of the significance of Volume 1, which covers Whitehead’s first year of lecturing in philosophy at Harvard. Our hope is that this conference will help to demonstrate the importance of this volume and future volumes of the critical edition of Whitehead, as we believe that they can and should become new centerpieces for discussion among Whitehead scholars.

You can find out more about the Edinburgh Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Alfred North Whitehead at WhiteheadResearch.org and EdinburghUniversityPress.com.