A. N. Whitehead's approach to physical theorizing contrasts with that of mainstream or official (modern) physics in being centrally concerned with articulating a background explanation of physical facts and phenomena in general that would take the place of the “ether” of classical physics, a project otherwise unpursued by the science in its modern period (though luminaries in the field have occasionally hinted at reviving this kind of explanation under certain constraints). Unlike Einstein's, Whitehead's approach to relativity primarily seeks explanation rather than utility (in formulating laws); also, it avoids the philosophical problems with Einstein's theory alleged by Whitehead and a range of other philosophers. This stops short of a finding as to the comparative worth of Whitehead's alternative basis for quantitative formulations.

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