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Physics of the World-Soul: Alfred North Whitehead’s Adventure in Cosmology

Alfred North Whitehead was among the first initiates into the twentieth century’s new cosmological story. In this newly revised and expanded edition, Segall both sets Whitehead’s philosophy of organism in historical context and brings it into conversation with key elements of contemporary scientific cosmology—including relativistic, quantum, evolutionary, and complexity theories. It lays bare the inadequacy of the materialistic-mechanistic metaphysical interpretation of these theories and exemplifies the contributions Whitehead’s cosmological scheme can make to the urgent transdisciplinary project of integrating natural science with the presuppositions of human civilization. The latest scientific discoveries reveal a universe that is nearly crying aloud for an ensouled reinterpretation, one in which, for example, physics and chemistry would no longer be merely descriptions of the meaningless motion of molecules to which biology is ultimately reducible, but rather themselves become studies of creative self-organization at ecological scales other than the biological.

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