For the world, not of the world
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The work of Alfred North Whitehead has been undergoing something of a resurgence over the last decade, and Isabelle Stengers’ Thinking with Whitehead: A Free and Wild Creation of Concepts has played a not inconsiderable role in bringing his work into wider circulation. Originally written as Penser avec Whitehead:Une libre et sauvage création de concepts in 2002, this 2011 English translation makes Stengers’ account of Whitehead available for an even wider readership. In the process of this renewed engagement with Whitehead, the at-times latent or implicit presence of his thought in the work of writers of the history and philosophy of science, as well as science and technology studies, has also become more apparent, thereby making for a doubly compelling reason to revisit the importance and influence of his work.
Stengers’ motivation in thinking with Whitehead is in part to go beyond standard philosophical designations such as nature and mind that bifurcate our thinking into stagnant...