Bertrand Russell’s friend and colleague1 Alfred North Whitehead is one of the most forward thinking philosophers but hardly known beyond the world of science. This may be due to his erudite nature that shines through in his mentally challenging oeuvres such as Process and Reality (1928) and due to his openness of interest in being a mathematician, a physicist and a philosopher.
In order to understand Whitehead’s Process Philosophy, his unique understanding as a physicist and philosopher of the universe must be considered first. In his line of thinking the universe doesn’t consist of set objects that one could define in relation to other set objects. The universe is not certain, static or limited but he rather sees it as a movement, a flow and a process. Thus, matter does not consist of matter but of processes. A process is defined by the interaction that connects matters such as binding energy in molecules for example. The world as Whitehead holds is in movement, ever changing and so is our knowledge of it. According to Whitehead it doesn’t make sense to look at the object but to look at the relatedness of actual entities. When change is the essence, then the process is the actuality itself. Not the object in motion is to be looked at rather than the movement itself. This is his creative and unique order of understanding.
His ultimate telos as a scientist of one theory that once proven holds true forever cannot exist due to the dynamic and ephemeral nature of the world and of our human knowledge. Whitehead humbly accepts (and indeed underlines) this condition of scientific theory when he introduces the term of the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness:

„There is an error; but it is merely the accidental error of mistaking the abstract for the concrete. It is an example of what I will call the ‘Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness’. This fallacy is the occasion of great confusion in philosophy.”2

Whitehead holds that we tend to falsely put direct experience in the abstract and thereby confusion can ensue by mistaking an abstract concept or belief about the human mind for a concrete reality for example. For me, the same could happen in regard to the body-mind problem. We try to grasp the nature of our mind with scientific methods that capture the extrinsic features but what about the intrinsic, qualitative and subjective ones? What if the content of our consciousness is not a neat object to be examined and described in a clear linguistic way, but prone to error and confusion? I wonder how and if at all a theory can actually achieve to solve the mind-body problem in the end. Whitehead would hold that no theory can ever solve the mind-body problem. In his opinion, it is not necessarily the cognitive faculty of the human mind that is needed to yield knowledge but the feeling for things.3

1 Russel and Whitehead wrote Principia mathematica together being published in 1910-1913.

2 Alfred North Whitehead: Science and the modern World. Lowell Lectures, 1925, III, p. 64.

3 Alfred North Whitehead: Process and Reality, III, 2: Feelings are positive prehensions. „A feeling cannot be abstracted from the actual entity entertaining it. This actual entity is termed the „subject” of the feeling. It is in virtue of its subject that the feeling is one thing. If we abstract the subject from the feeling we are left with many things. Thus a feeling is a particular in the same sense in which each actual entity is a particular. It is one aspect of its own subject.” Ibid, III, 3, p. 221.