Function of Reason and Process and Reality

Martin Kaplický


This text concentrates on the investigation of relations of two books of Alfred North Whitehead: Process and Reality and Function of Reason, both being published in the same year 1929. Author of the text first exhibit Whitehead’s conception of method of speculative philosophy as it is presented on the initial pages of Process and Reality. He points out at Whitehead’s rejection of mathematical axiomatic method and position of rigid empiricism as appropriate methods of construction of philosophical scheme and shows Whitehead’s own philosophical method: method of descriptive generalization, which can be shortly summed up as imaginative construction of basic speculative scheme which is based on former empirical observations and is subsequently tested by new empirical observations. It is shown that Whitehead does not presents in Process and Reality the process of imaginative construction of his philosophy. One phase of Whitehead’s method of descriptive generalization is therefore missing in Process and Reality. It is argued that this missing phase of descriptive generalization can be found in Function of Reason.


Alfred North Whitehead; speculative philosophy; creativity; effective cause; final cause

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: