WHITEHEAD'S NOTION OF WORLD CONSCIOUSNESS (ETHICS, PROCESS, ORGANISM)

THOMAS J REGAN, Fordham University

Abstract

This essay attempts to provide a new reading of the Whiteheadian philosophical corpus by presenting it in light of the notion of world-consciousness. Initially articulated in Religion in the Making, in 1926 this notion is shown to lend a degree of conceptual cohesiveness to all the later writings. In using this term, Whitehead does not mean a political or global vision, rather he means an intuitive conscious awareness of the unity of value which is achieved when diverse elements within experience are harmonized or integrated in such a way as to maximize the possibility for value realization.^ After exploring the emergence of world-consciousness in Whitehead's theory of religion, the essay moves on to ground this vision firmly within Whitehead's metaphysics of relation. Next, turning to the practical dimensions of world-consciousness, Whitehead's theory of education is examined as a means of transmitting this vision to future generations. Following this, Whitehead's writings on the nature and function of the business community and the institutions of government are explored in order to show concrete ways in which world-consciousness might be fostered in society. Finally, the notion of Peace is discussed in so far as it expresses a mature formulation of the notion of world-consciousness.^ Throughout the essay a conscious attempt is made to present the development of the notion of world-consciousness on the microscopic level of the individual person and the macroscopic level of society at large. What emerges from the overall discussion is an aesthetically based theory of value which can serve as the foundation for social ethics. ^

Subject Area

Philosophy of Religion

Recommended Citation

REGAN, THOMAS J, "WHITEHEAD'S NOTION OF WORLD CONSCIOUSNESS (ETHICS, PROCESS, ORGANISM)" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8506357.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506357

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