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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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The Mode of Existence of Societies

The Mode of Existence of Societies

(p.138) 11 The Mode of Existence of Societies
Speculative Empiricism

Didier Debaise

, Tomas Weber
Edinburgh University Press

The principal difference between ‘actual entities’ and ‘societies’ is that, while the former can only become, the latter persist, reach a stability of being. The former are ‘blocks of becoming’ or individuations, while the latter are ‘durations’. For Whitehead, the great question is again expressed by Locke. Whatever the scale of this duration – years, seconds or centuries – the question is to know how a ‘particular substance’ endures, that is, maintains a form of identity across the changes affecting it. The manner in which Locke poses the question of duration and how he attempts to define it is crucial here. He doesn’t say that duration could be measured on a uniform temporal scale, against a single measure that would apply to every substance. A thing that endures is not just something that occupies a longer or shorter measure of time. Locke’s definition is entirely alien to more classical approaches to time: time, for Locke, becomes a relationbetween persistence and change.

Keywords:   Locke, Existence, Society

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