The Harvard Lectures of Alfred North Whitehead, 1924-1925: Philosophical Presuppositions of Science
(The Edinburgh Critical Edition of the Complete Works of Alfred North Whitehead, Vol. 1)
Edited by Paul A. Bogaard and Jason Bell
Publication Date: February 2017
Beginning in September of 1924, Alfred North Whitehead presented a regular course of 85 lectures which concluded in May of 1925. These represent the first ever philosophy lectures he gave and capture him working out the philosophical implications of the remarkable turns physics had taken in his lifetime. This volume finally recreates these lectures by transcribing notes by W. P. Bell, W. E. Hocking and Louise Heath taken at the time – many of which have only recently been discovered and including hundreds of sketches of Whitehead’s blackboard diagrams. This is a unique insight into the evolution of Whitehead’s thought during the months when he was drafting his seminal work, Science and the Modern World.
Reviews of HL1
This is a truly revelatory volume that helps to put more of the various pieces of the puzzle that is Whitehead’s philosophical thought together … It is certain that Whitehead scholars and enthusiasts all stand together in welcoming this valuable contribution.
– Adam C. Scarfe, University of Winnipeg, Process Studies 48(1) (Full review link)
This volume is an indispensable asset for any Whitehead scholar. The book shall also prove important for people interested in the history of the philosophy of science and the history of philosophy generally, since it tracks many unexpected parallels between Whitehead’s specific outlook and the philosophies of Descartes and Spinoza, Leibniz and Kant, Russell and Wittgenstein, Husserl and Bergson. Last but not least, it documents a significant turning point in the philosophical development of one of the most important thinkers of 20th century.
– Rosen Lutskanov, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Balkan Journal of Philosophy 9(2) (Full review link)
These lectures are an extremely important tool for scholars who would like to explore the creative way Alfred North Whitehead gave form to his philosophical investigations and ideas … This book is like an immense laboratory of ideas concerning a great number of issues.
– Giacomo Borbone, Catania University, Philosophy in Review 38(1) (Full review link)
The Harvard Lectures of Alfred North Whitehead merits critical acclaim in two areas. Its commitment to the editorial handling of the transcripts is consistent and thorough, which is a true mark of scholarship. On the part of scientific relevance, it provides context to the diverse lines of thought of a highly nuanced thinker whose interdisciplinary background is difficult to understand otherwise … This start bodes well for what is to come.
– Aljoscha Berve, University of Dusseldorf, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy 54(3) (Full review link)
Invaluable … Students and scholars of Whitehead’s philosophy and those more generally interested in the intersections of philosophy and science will find a treasure trove for gleaning the development, breadth, and depth of Whitehead’s thought … This richly packed and stimulating first volume portends well for the future of the Edinburgh series as a whole … This first volume is – and forthcoming volumes will be – an essential research tool and intellectual treasure for every scholarly library and for every serious student of Whitehead.
– William J. Meyer, Maryville College, American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 40(1) (Full review link)
This reviewer … has found the format and editorial practices of the editors of this volume to be a model to be emulated.
– Bernard Linsky, University of Alberta, Russell 38(2) (Full review link)
This first volume of the Critical Edition of Whitehead’s works provides an exceptional insight into Whitehead’s thinking at the beginning of his official philosophical career. It is undoubtedly an asset to scholars.
– André Cloots, Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 71(1), quotation translated from the original Dutch (Full review link)
To describe the work of the editors Bogaard and Bell in putting these materials together as “monumental” almost seems to unfairly minimize what they have achieved here … A major work that should find its way onto the shelf of any serious philosophy library.
– Gary Herstein, The Quantum of Explanation (Full review link)