The nature of the artificial: augmenting Negrottian artificiality with neo-Whiteheadian naturality

Ali, Syed Mustafa (2002). The nature of the artificial: augmenting Negrottian artificiality with neo-Whiteheadian naturality. In: Negrotti, Massimo ed. Nature, Culture & Technology: Methodological Aspects and Cultural Issues. Yearbook of the Artificial (1). Bern: Peter Lang, pp. 25–51.



In this paper, a theory of the artificial recently proposed by Negrotti (1999a, 1999b, 2001a, 2001b) is critically examined. First, a brief overview of this theory is presented. It is then argued that despite the merits of this scheme, principal of which are the self-evident simplicity of its conceptual foundations, its internal consistency (or theoretical coherence), and its possible overall correctness, it is, nonetheless, incomplete. This incompleteness is shown to arise as a direct consequence of the explicit affirmation of a number of problematic metaphysical assumptions about the nature (as essence or what-ness) of nature (as 'other' to the artificial). An attempt at resolving the problem of incompleteness by augmenting the Negrottian theory of artificiality with an alternative conception of nature (as 'other') grounded in Whiteheadian panexperientialism is made. It is shown that although panexperientialism provides an adequate framework for the conceptualisation of naturality, it does not provide a corresponding framework for artificiality, principally because it fails to adequately characterise the nature (as essence) of artifacts. In order to address this latter problem, it is argued that conventional Whiteheadian panexperientialism must be supplemented with a phenomenological account of artificing that describes the ontologically distinct manner in which artifacts come to be. An attempt at formulating such a 'neo-Whiteheadian' account grounded in the metaphysical thinking of Ladrière, Lee, and others is made. In closing, some implications of this alternative Whiteheadian conception of naturality and the attendant neo-Whiteheadian account of artifactuality for the project of "strong" artificiality (that is, the attempt to artifactually replicate natural phenomena) are briefly considered.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions



  • Item ORO ID
  • 28463
  • Item Type
  • Book Section
  • ISBN
  • 3-906768-82-1, 978-3-906768-82-3
  • Extra Information
  • About the book:
    The first volume of this series includes papers presented at the IV International Conference on the Culture of the Artificial, held at the University of Urbino in May, 2001. The content of the papers ranges from the attempts to found a general theory and epistemology of the artificial to some accounts of real artificialistic designs and projects; from the analysis of the relationships between human culture and technology to the investigation of the role of the artificial in understanding phenomenologies coming from classical or emerging human activities, including communication, multimedia, art and music.
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
    Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © Not known
  • Related URLs
  • Depositing User
  • Mustafa Ali