I know that one of the major points of Whitehead is to criticize the atomistic theory of nature and replace it with events. But can an atom exist as part of an event? What role does electron, protons, et cetra plays in Whitehead's philosophy of nature? Are they replaced by other entities/concepts?

  • "Atomistic theory of nature" is ambiguous. Whitehead was endorsing the quantum relativistic version of it applied to spacetime events, not the little balls of classical atomism:"the ultimate metaphysical truth is atomism. The creatures are atomic", see Bracken. Electrons and protons are not classical particles, they manifest through discrete and localized events, and Whitehead is concerned with weaving the world from such events.
    – Conifold
    Oct 3, 2020 at 22:13
  • @Conifold by "atomistic theory of nature" I mean, atomism, as defined: "Atomism is a natural philosophy proposing that the physical world is composed of fundamental indivisible components known as atoms." But you answer the question regardless. And so Whitehead ditched the amotic structure but kept the components, simply replacing the atom structure with an event? Does he account for the number of electrons and protons in an event? How does he measure it? (perhaps I'm going overboard in this question) Oct 4, 2020 at 5:06
  • Quantum particles manifest through events that we would call measurements, but I do not think Whitehead was working from that, except in the vaguest sense. His "actual occasions" are probably below the level described by physics, and they have an experiential aspect to them. So it does not make sense to ask how many particles fit into one, but it does make sense to ask how continuous physical world emerges from such spatiotemporally discretized ontology. This is what Bracken discusses.
    – Conifold
    Oct 4, 2020 at 6:05
  • books.google.de/… Rescher certainly thinks that Whitehead thought that modern physics supports process ontologies.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Oct 4, 2020 at 9:00
  • To de-construct the natural world and assigning primacy of causality to unseen particles, whether they are atoms, electrons, molecules, qualia or whatever and then attempting to re-construct it by reassembling these supposed constituent elements is 'passing strange'. It is also why no satisfactory model can be constructed and more and more mind-bending contortions of semantic complexity keep proliferating to no avail.
    – user37981
    Oct 31, 2020 at 23:41


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