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Death, entropy, creativity and perpetual perishing: Some thoughts from whitehead and stengers

Halewood, M (2015) 'Death, entropy, creativity and perpetual perishing: Some thoughts from whitehead and stengers.' Social Sciences, 4 (3). 655 - 667. ISSN 2076-0760

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Abstract

© 2015 by the authors. In 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.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 10:29
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2019 07:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/15384

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