Death, Entropy, Creativity and Perpetual Perishing: Some Thoughts from Whitehead and Stengers
AbstractIn this paper, I argue that we need to rethink how we conceive of death as “inevitable”. There are two main strands to my analysis. First, I use the work of Stengers to trace the complex and, occasionally, contradictory ways in which the concept of entropy was developed within physics in the 19th and 20th century. I argue that this has led to a general but ill-conceived notion of the universe as wasting away, as dying. This is a form of inevitability which has infected our understanding of what constitutes the death of individual humans. I then turn to the contrast that Whitehead draws between creativity and “perpetual perishing”. I suggest that this contrast might help us to develop a wider, more coherent, approach to thinking about the status of death, and its supposed inevitability. In the final section, I reflect upon my father’s death in 2013 in light of some of the concepts and problems raised throughout the paper. View Full-Text
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Halewood, M. Death, Entropy, Creativity and Perpetual Perishing: Some Thoughts from Whitehead and Stengers. Soc. Sci. 2015, 4, 655-667.
Halewood M. Death, Entropy, Creativity and Perpetual Perishing: Some Thoughts from Whitehead and Stengers. Social Sciences. 2015; 4(3):655-667.Chicago/Turabian Style
Halewood, Michael. 2015. "Death, Entropy, Creativity and Perpetual Perishing: Some Thoughts from Whitehead and Stengers." Soc. Sci. 4, no. 3: 655-667.