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Speculative EmpiricismRevisiting Whitehead$
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Didier Debaise

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423045

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423045.001.0001

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What is the Subject?

What is the Subject?

Chapter:
(p.66) 6 What is the Subject?
Source:
Speculative Empiricism
Author(s):

Didier Debaise

, Tomas Weber
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423045.003.0006

In his reading of Descartes, Whitehead extracts a definition of the subject as a relation through which feelings are unified and appropriated. The key point of disagreement is found in the inverse relations that each constructs between the subject and feeling. If Whitehead does in fact take up the problem’s terms, he is nevertheless radically opposed to the Cartesian economy organised around a subject qua foundation of feeling. Whitehead’s reading could be criticised, of course: he takes a Cartesian proposition, pushes it in the direction of speculative philosophy, only to return, finally, to Descartes’ own internal coherence, opposing it to an entirely different economy of thought. This, however, would be to lose what is important in Whitehead’s reading of Descartes. Whitehead is not doing history of philosophy. The relevance of each of his critiques and reprises could, of course, be justly attacked in so far as they are constructed on grounds that would have been completely foreign to the original thinkers.

Keywords:   Object, Subject, Whitehead, Kant

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