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The metaphysical consequences of the theory of nonstatistical probability in A. N. Whitehead

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posted on 2023-08-04, 13:27 authored by Chieko Victoria Fluharty

Non-statistical judgments of probability are much overlooked elements in the metaphysics of A. N. Whitehead. In addition to the notorious category of creativity which expresses pure indeterminacy, the origination of novelty includes the resolution of indeterminations within a presupposed environment. This judgment of non-statistical probability gives direction and order to creative events which would otherwise lead to chaos if left to the influence of creativity alone. To elucidate this structure of Whitehead's notion of becoming, several views of the world are presented. First, the principles of creativity and non-statistical probability are compared with their apparent equivalents in the neoplatonic philosophy of Plotinus, the category of Matter and the principle of sympatheia. Then Whitehead's concept of creativity is contrasted with Herbert Spencer's definition of evolution to disclose a nonquantifiable element in Whitehead's account. Finally the behavior of systems in nonequilibrium conditions as proposed by Ilya Prigogine is examined as it relates to Whitehead's creative advance into novelty. The common vision presented by these varied areas is that disorder is a necessary component of a creative advance. The tendency for disorder to transform into complexity involves processes exhibiting a non-statistical ground for a probability judgment. Instability and conflict provide the opportunities for the rise of novelty and the formation of new structures. They are the driving force of the universe. This is precisely the meaning of Whitehead's dictum that it is more important for a proposition to be interesting than for it to be true.



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Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 50-07, Section: A, page: 2083.; Ph.D. American University 1989.; English


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