Contrasts as the Condition for Relationality in the Metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead

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McHugh, Ian
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University of Guelph

My thesis argues that contrasts are the condition for relationality in the metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead. A contrast is a function within an event to synthesize the content of a disjunctive plurality into a unity. The various relational determinations of actual reality that we experience are due to constant’s resultant unity, and the various conceptions of relations we may engender are abstractions from these unities and their process of unification. I must show that this is a defensible explanation for relationality and our conceptions of it, and consider the works of Hume, Bradley, Russell, and others that offer dissenting explanations. I must also show that this is a defensible interpretation of Whitehead’s relational metaphysics, and consider whether the eternal objects are already relational without contrasts. The consequences of this project include explaining how the relation conditioning nature of contrasts also conditions perception, possibility, conceptualization, and systematization.

Philosophy, Metaphysics, Relations, Relationality, Whitehead, Process Metaphysics, Process Philosophy, Systematic Philosophy, Systematic Metaphysics