College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree



process metaphysics, Newton and Leibniz, Whitehead, philosophy of quantum mechanics, Daoism


This dissertation aims to disrupt the false dichotomy of processes vs. things both systematically and historically. The central task of my dissertation is to establish a process ontology in terms of systems. However, both the separation of things and process and the struggle to reunite them are not without their early modern roots: in particular, they culminate and crystallize in the works of the twin giants of the 17th century—Newton and Leibniz. Therefore, I present the historical lineage and conditions of the ontology of systems by revealing the metaphysical presuppositions underlying the Newtonian and Leibnizian frames. Moreover, the discovery of quantum phenomena disrupts the concept of things as self-subsisting well-defined physical objects. Thus, I further unveil my ontology of systems incorporating the latest development in quantum mechanics and the frontiers of physics. Finally, I turn to the two Daoist classics, Dao De Jing and Zhuangzi, for their profound insights into the question “Do things change for better or worse”, i.e., the direction of the process, by way of Dao.

Available for download on Friday, July 09, 2032