ბუნების ბიფურკაციის პრობლემა ალფრედ ნორთ უაიტჰედის ფილოსოფიაში (პირველადი და მეორადი თვისებების გადააზრების ცდა)

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Date
2019
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უნივერსალი
Abstract
The purpose of this Paper, is to analyse the main theme in the oeuvre of the English metaphysician and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead, namely, The Concept of Nature. Whitehead was one of the first thinkers, who understood the fact that, just as the cognitive, thinking process has an awareness (I am aware of the fact that I am thinking), Sensations, also, in the process of perception, form a curtain kind of, unique awareness. This time not a cognitive, but a sensual one. Sense-awareness causes us, to experience “the whole occurrence of nature.” For Whitehead, Nature is that which we observe in perception through the senses. In this sense-perception we are aware of something which is not thought and which is self�contained for thought. This property of being self-contained for thought lies at the base of natural science. It means that nature can be thought of as a closed system whose mutual relations do not require the expression of the fact that they are thought about. Natural sciences, due to its aims, are only interested in the object of sense-awareness, not in the sense-awareness itself, but for Whitehead this kind of positioning of a problem, already involved a danger of dividing nature in two distinct spheres: in nature which is apprehended purely by consciousness and in nature, which is the cause of consciousness. This stance is a philosophical fiction, which is named by the thinker as “the bifurcation of nature”. At the heart of this doctrine lies the idea about the primary and secondary qualities, which has a long philosophical history, as a kind of shadow starting already in Aristotle, but mainly formulated in the sixteen-seventeen centuries. Primary qualities are usually described as properties of objects that are independent of any observer, For example: solidity, figure, number, motion and extension. These characteristics convey facts. They exist in the thing itself, can be determined with certainty, and do not rely on subjective judgments. For example, if an object is spherical, no one can reasonably argue that it is triangular. Primary qualities exist outside of the observer. Secondary qualities are thought to be properties that produce sensations in observers, such as colour, smell and sound. They can be described as the effect things have on observers. Knowledge that comes from secondary qualities does not provide objective facts about things. Secondary qualities use the power of reflection in order to be perceived by humans minds. They are sensible qualities that produce different ideas in mind from the actual object. For example in case of a tree, something such as the greenness of a tree does not produce an image of the object (tree) itself, but rather the idea of greenness. Secondary qualities are used to classify similar ideas produced by an object. The primary/secondary quality distinction is most thoroughly formulated by John Locke in his Essay concerning Human Understanding, but earlier Philosophers and thinkers made similar conclusions about the ontological and epistemological status of reality, too. For instance, Descartes bifurcated nature into mechanical nature composed of matter and human nature composed of spirit. Locke bifurcates nature along the lines of primary and secondary qualities: primary qualities being extension, mass etc; secondary qualities, the sensuous qualities of colour, taste etc. The latter are properties that human nature traces over nature proper to make it comprehensible. They are not in nature itself, but in mind or in spirit. The doctrine of qualities also seems intuitively simple, perhaps because it is often characterized as an appearance–reality distinction: there are certain qualities that objects in the world have intrinsically, independent of our perception of them, while there are others that we ascribe to them only in relation to our perceptual sensibility. For example, the world in itself consists of objects that are extended and shaped but not colored, at least not in the way that we experience color. Color as perceived is merely a subjective consequence of the way that objects affect our sensory faculties. For Whitehead, bifurcating nature into dream and conjecture is a fallacy. The idea that our experience could arise out of natural units conceived as primary or secondary qualities is paradoxical. But problem only arises, Thinker says, because we have committed “the fallacy of misplaced concretenes”. What is common to all forms of the fallacy of misplaced concreteness is the "error of mistaking the abstract for the concrete" — Assuming that nature is composed of matter understood as having "simple location." If a bit of matter is "simply located" it means that it is right here in space and time in a way that requires no essential reference to other regions of space-time. In other words, the concrete units of nature would have no essential reference either to the past or to the future. The materialistic view of the concrete units of nature, besides simple location, consists of the notion of time as an instant, in other words, time completely devoid of duration. According to this view, There is no inner motion, no internal becoming in nature; the only kind of motion ascribable to the units of nature is locomotion, motion through space. Because the concrete units of nature are assumed to have no inner duration, they are assumed to have no intrinsic reality whatsoever, which means that they are assumed not to have any intrinsic value, not to be things that exist for their own sakes. They are actualities, totally devoid of experience. According to this view, the units of nature, being completely timeless, are totally different from our conscious experience as we know it immediately. Natural units are said to have no reference to the past. We experience a present duration, in which we enjoy intrinsic value and make choices among possible values, whereas the reality of the units of nature are exhausted by their outer features. Finally, our present experience, with its purposes, includes an anticipation of the future, whereas nothing same can be said to occur in the units of nature. Our experience is temporal, the units of nature are purely spatial. In other words, matter for the 17th century philosophy was situated in a definite region of space during a definite period of time without reference to other regions of space and other times. The answer that seventeenth century thinkers gave to the Ionian ancient question “What is the world made of”? is that, the world is a succession of instantaneous configurations of matter. A contemporary manifestation of the bifurcation Theory, would be the notion of mental representations: contentful symbolic structures which brain creates and manipulates. In such a picture, Perception becomes a process of converting sensory stimulations into symbolic representations, to produce sensory experience and guide our action. So what we perceive is not nature per se anymore, but a mental representation of it. Common to these schemes is the alienation of the human subject from Nature, and the idea that Nature is intrinsically devoid of any meaning. Meaning transforms into an illusory quality, something added. Alfred North Whitehead develops his new understating of nature on the basis of his fundamental critique of the above mention idea of matter, which is deeply connected to the scheme of natural bifurcation in two realms, subjective and objective worlds. With the help of Metaphysician’s critical stance, it becomes more evident that fundamental rethinking of the problem of nature is utterly urgent, especially in terms of today’s ecological crisis, which at the core is a philosophical problem and is deeply rooted in the modes of thought, against which Whitehead’s critique is directed. Philosopher helps us to understand the conceptual starting points of our modern-day ills.
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Keywords
Philosophy, Whitehead, Nature, Bifurcation
Citation
III International Symposium for Young Scholars in the Humanities (Symposium proceedings)
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