Critical Edition Update

Critical Edition of Whitehead quarterly update, summer 2023

A snapshot of the home page for the new Whitehead Encyclopedia.

We are extremely pleased to kick off this update by announcing that the Whitehead Encyclopedia is now online, which provides open access to scholarly articles on Whiteheadian process thought. It aims to explicate the ways in which Alfred North Whitehead has influenced contemporary work in philosophy, theology, and the natural and social sciences, as well as explore his relationship to other thinkers—both those who influenced him and those who were influenced by him. This free, open access research tool will be a boon to scholars and students alike. Users can browse the 116 current entries or search their content by keyword.

The content of the site is largely based on the Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought (2008, De Gruyter), edited by Michel Weber and Will Desmond. This two-volume, 1,400-page endeavor was filled with valuable scholarship, but its $700 price tag put it beyond the reach of many prospective readers. We thank Michel Weber for generously sharing the Handbook entries and helping to launch this exciting new online resource, which we hope will continue to be an aid to scholars for many years to come.

The entries that appeared in the Handbook have been transferred to the Whitehead Encyclopedia largely unchanged. We have, however, undertaken one important change. The original Handbook combined the bibliographies for all articles in each thematic section into a single list; e.g., the nine articles on Metaphysics shared a single bibliography, rather than each one having its own. For readers’ convenience, we have separated out the references for the individual articles, and they now appear at the bottom of each entry. Yet we have also retained combined sectional bibliographies for those looking for further reading in these topic areas.

As an online resource, the Whitehead Encyclopedia aims to continually update and expand its content. As of this posting, it contains one new article that did not appear in the original Handbook—“Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852–1936)” by Arran Gare. Six additional articles by internationally renowned Whitehead scholars are being written as we speak, and will be posted as soon as they are completed. New articles and major revisions will be listed on the “New / Updated articles” page as they appear.

It should be noted that three entries that appeared in the original Handbook have not yet been posted: “Quantum Theory and Process Metaphysics: The Mechanics of Concrescence” by Michael Epperson, “Quantum Mechanics and Panpsychism” by Shan Gao, and “Hermann Günther Grassmann (1809–1877)” by Albert C. Lewis. These articles contain math/logic symbols that do not play nicely with WordPress’s default tools; they will be posted as soon as we can resolve the formatting issues.

If you are interested in contributing to the Whitehead Encyclopedia—or are an author of one of the original articles and wish to update it—then please feel free to get in touch. We have also provided a list of articles for which we are actively seeking qualified authors.

Meanwhile, we continue to make good progress on the Critical Edition volumes of Whitehead’s Essays and Articles. Edinburgh University Press has just accepted the second volume for contract, and we are aiming to submit the finished manuscript by mid-November. Dr. Valenza also continues to do the painstaking work of verifying the math articles for the first volume, in which he continues to discover numerous errors in the originals.

We have now proposed a collection of essays on the significance of the second volume of Harvard Lectures (HL2) to Edinburgh University Press based on papers delivered at the conference this past September. That proposal is currently being reviewed; we hope to hear back soon.

Lastly, we continue to pursue federal support for our work through the NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant. If funded, the award would provide more than $100,000 for each of three years, starting in 2024. During this three-year period, grant support would be used to transcribe the handwritten materials for the sixth volume of the Harvard Lectures (HL6), edit the third volume (HL3), and transcribe and edit a monograph volume that would include Science and the Modern World, Religion in the Making, and Symbolism. We will know by August 2023 whether our application has been successful.

The work of searching for, transcribing, and editing archival materials is time-consuming and costly. If you are able to support our work with a donation, it would be much appreciated. Just follow this link.

Brian Henning, Executive Editor
Critical Edition of Whitehead
Professor of Philosophy,
Gonzaga University
Joseph Petek, Associate Editor
Critical Edition of Whitehead