Goffey, Andrew (2008) Abstract experience. Theory, Culture and Society., 25 (4). pp. 15-30. ISSN 0263-2764
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Official URL: http://tcs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/25/4/15
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The speculative philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead offers critical social and cultural theory an unusual way of rethinking the place and value of experience in its concerns. This article explores the challenges that Whitehead's approach to experience, deliberately contrasted with the subject-object thinking of modernity, creates. The article seeks to provide an account of the importance of Whitehead's appeal to naïve experience and of how this appeal counters some of the problems of more recent and more familiar accounts of the fate of experience which draw on some of the same historical points of reference — especially Romantic poetry. In particular, the article suggests that Whitehead's broadly impersonal conception of the open structure of experience as constructive process mitigates the `pathos of finitude' attendant upon critical accounts which presume the unity of experience and then ask how this unity is shattered under modernity. Whitehead's work is situated transversally to analysis and phenomenology and is argued to accord a value to and role for abstraction which calls for a more experimental approach to the topic. While `naïve experience' clearly differs from the understanding of experience evident in other accounts, the article also suggests that it is not incompatible with a more Foucauldian kind of singular history.
|Research Areas:||A. > School of Media and Performing Arts|
|Citations on ISI Web of Science:||1|
|Deposited On:||12 May 2010 11:21|
|Last Modified:||29 Sep 2015 12:44|
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