I am reading the book " perspective in whiteheads metaphysics" by Stephen David Ross. On page 182 he says" whiteheads theory of events is atomistic-primarily to allow for self determination, but the physics of the universe are infinitely and densely divisible"

What does he mean by this? Is he saying in all non atomistic theories of time self determination is impossible? Does our current view of time make it impossible? And with what respect is he referring to self determination? As in free will, control of our lives?

Please help, getting depressed over this...

  • 4
    Good questions. Have you read any primary texts by Whitehead? His Adventure of Ideas is much more accessible than his process and reality; I'd suggest that Ross is looking at Whitehead through Lucretious (who Whitehead was very familiar with), and its quite possible to see that the clinamen or swerve in the atomic theory of antiquity being introduced to allow for self-determination. – Mozibur Ullah Apr 22 '14 at 7:24
  • The description of events as 'organism' in Science and the Modern World can only be seen as atomistic if the atoms involved are required to overlap -- not a very ordinary aspect of atomisms. – jobermark Jun 15 '18 at 18:37

the physics of the universe are infinitely and densely divisible

In physics at least, that question is still a matter of some debate. In fact, it is at the heart of the conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics. In my personal opinion, Loop Quantum Gravity is the way forward (and by that I mean, the best path toward unifying GR and QM), and in LQG, both time and space are quantized. In fact, the LQG guys often refer to everything as events, especially Carlo Rovelli. I really enjoyed his book, The Order of Time, in which he goes into very poetic and philosophic detail about the quantum nature of time.

Since Dr. Ross is not a physicist, I'm inclined to question how densely and infinitely he truly understands the physics of the universe.

Not to worry, your free will is intact!

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