Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, Vol 25, No 2 (2017)

From Compulsive to Persuasive Agencies: Whitehead’s Case for Entertainment

Myron Moses Jackson
Issued Date: 22 Nov 2017


Western societies currently face the backlash of violent and militant extremisms practiced in the form of tribalistic-phobocratic politics. The battleground is set between advocates of self-centeredness and those who entertain a world-centered self. To entertain concerns what Henri Bergson calls “zones of indetermination” and assumes A. N. Whitehead’s dictum: “in the real world it is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true. The importance of truth is, that it adds to interest” (1978 89, 92, 259). Cultural agencies, processes, and aims that we take an “interest” in have the power to be more influential, encouraging norms of persuasion. Such openness to the persuasion of entertainment is propositional in character, or acts as “lures for feeling” of proposals to be felt without mandates. The first section will discuss the way in which to take up the daunting task of reading Whitehead. The second and third sections will address those aspects pertinent to a philosophy of entertainment that present the cultural-aesthetic underpinnings for the emergence of persuasive agencies. The goal of cultivating tolerance and freedom for civilized societies hinges upon institutional methods and practices that are legitimated more by way of persuasive coercion rather than coercive persuasion.

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DOI: 10.1558/eph.34908


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