A Whiteheadian reflection on the human person

Protasius Hardono Hadi, Fordham University


The purpose of this thesis is to construct an integral view of the human person based on Whitehead's philosophy of organism. As Whitehead himself claims that his philosophy is the fruit of years of reflection on past philosophies, so this construct of the Whiteheadian view of the human person must also incorporate the positive contributions of the various views of the human person of other philosophers. Three main issues come to the front: the unity of the person, the endurance of a person through time, and the relation between persons and society. Because the aim of this thesis is to construct an integral view of the human person, those three issues are to be integrated into one theory which can handle each adequately. We define human person in Whiteheadian terms: as the "personal unity" of a living structured society in which the defining characteristics of its subordinate societies are coordinated by a presiding personality characterized by an intellectual consciousness. In the first place, a human being is a structured society consisting of sub-societies and nexus of different degrees of actual entities. The member societies of a human being are coordinated and subordinated in such a way that the regnant monad characterized by intellectual consciousness holds the unifying control over other member societies, so that they constitute one subject of experience, i.e., the "self-unity" of a human being. In the second place, human beings are not inert. They undergo reorganization from moment to moment. The achievement of the "self-unity" at a certain moment together with the real world in general and human society in particular functions as potency for the achievement of the new "self-unity." The continuous reorganization goes on until the final satisfaction in death. The defining characteristic of the development of the "self-unity" from moment to moment until its death constitutes the "personal unity" of the human person in question. In the third place, a human being as a society, however, is an integral part of a larger society consisting of human beings. This human society and its members are involved in reciprocal interactions. The development of individual members relatively depends on the support of society, and the power of society in supporting individuals depends on the contributions of individual members.

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Recommended Citation

Hardono Hadi, Protasius, "A Whiteheadian reflection on the human person" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8918636.