Isabelle Stengers

This paper explores the possibility of understanding Whitehead’s philosophical thought as an “activist” thought, meaning that it aims at activating thought rather than at defining a truth to be defended. Thus, in The concept of nature Whitehead addresses the “bifurcation of nature” into an objective and subjective one as the absurdity of a contradiction to which thought subjects itself. Nonetheless, he does not search for something beyond the bifurcation, rather he formulates a concept of nature that activates different questions. Likewise, Whitehead defines his metaphysics as “dispassionate” because according to him it activates the problematic diversity of our experiences against the specialized truths which pretend to judge them “passionately”. The hypothesis of this text is that Whitehead’s speculative metaphysics interacts with a cosmology because its task is to activate the experience of the one and multiple solemnity of the world – an experience that each civilization tries to elucidate in its own way. In this sense, we can say at the same time that this metaphysics participates in modern civilization and that it is activist, because for Whitehead the modern triumph of specialized truths, indifferent to the way in which they contradict each other, was a potentially fatal disease for that civilization.

Whitehead, un pensiero attivista
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