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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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Nature and Societies

Nature and Societies

(p.151) 12 Nature and Societies
Speculative Empiricism

Didier Debaise

, Tomas Weber
Edinburgh University Press

What is nature? So far, it has not been necessary to step outside of Process and Reality’s speculative project. Nature is fully deployed within the theory of existence and, in the theory of societies, it takes on the form of a singular type of empiricism. Doesn’t this new question of nature, of what composes it, of its relations to existences, require, for the first time, stepping outside of speculative philosophy? Doesn’t the question ‘what is nature?’ necessarily fall within a philosophy of nature of the kind that interests Whitehead in his earlier works and to which he returns in Modesof Thought? Several commentators on Process and Reality have embarked on this path by transporting, with differing degrees of obliqueness, the theory of actual entities on to a different plane from that of speculative philosophy. This approach, however, risks diminishing the final character of actual entities, reducing the importance and restricting the field of application of the ontological principle itself. Remember: there is nothing beyond actual entities; ‘the rest is silence’. Neither a superior form of existence nor a nature qua principle of movement, becoming or creation can ever explain actual entities. The terms usually employed to characterise nature, however, tend to presuppose an ontological precedence of nature over the existences that compose it.

Keywords:   Order, Disorder, Societies, Environments

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