An authentic life for process thinking

Jack Martin
Liberty University
Jason Brown started his career as a neurologist specializing in language disorders, perceptive illusions, and impaired action. But beyond his activity as a physician he is a man of genuinely theoretical appetite. As satisfying as it is to help improve the situation of sick fellow humans, this alone does not characterize him well. Those who know him closer know his insistent urge to find a philosophical framework for his clinical practice and research, together with his desire for a more humane society. Those who do not know him will see this immediately when they read his most recent book Process and the authentic life (Brown 2006). This is, in a nutshell, how and why Brown came to look into process philosophy, as an alternative to philosophical systems focusing on substances such as the Cartesian res cogitans and res extensa, on which science and technology are essentially based. Process philosophy holds some radical deviations from these systems, and may be regarded as complementary to them (Roemer 2006), although any such convergence is hotly contested (e.g., Bickhard 2004). Best known among adherents of a process worldview is Whitehead with his opus magnum Process and Reality. Brown’s approach is clearly in the spirit of Whitehead’s. However, due to his medical and psychological background it differs in motivation, and consequently it differs in the way it is carried out. While Whitehead, originally a mathematician, tried to be as precise and detailed as possible in his definitions, arguments and conclusions, Brown strives for his humanistic goal more directly. His accounts are based on examples rather than formal inferences, everyday experiences rather than abstract constructions.
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