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New Book: Rethinking Whitehead’s Symbolism

Rethinking Whitehead’s Symbolism: Thought, Language, Culture, by Roland Faber, Jeffrey Bell, and Joseph Petek, Eds, (Edinburgh University Press) reconsiders Whitehead’s book Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect. Given the scientific, cultural, and technological changes that have taken place since 1927, it seems quite appropriate to examine, in the spirit of Whitehead, the current attitude toward symbolism that we find in our current early twenty-first century epoch. In particular, the question of symbolization and the complex interferences and inferences it establishes in its relationship to modes of perception leads to a discussion of language—whether written or spoken—and to Whitehead’s theory of prehension as a way of explaining the construction of human society and, indirectly, ecology. By drawing from a number of disciplines, this book sets the stage for further discussions on the contemporary meaning and effects of symbolism.