Whitehead's Philosophy of Religion [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 25 (3):570-571 (1972)

In spite of its title, this work is primarily a study of Whitehead's philosophy of God. The author's purpose is limited to presenting Whitehead's thought regarding God, together with the most cogent arguments which can be advanced in support of it. Hence, he is not concerned with evaluating either Whitehead's philosophy of God or the metaphysical presuppositions underlying it. The book is divided into three parts. The first part begins with a consideration of the reasons why the world, as Whitehead conceives of it, requires that a God exist. Then the author seeks to clarify what sort of entity God can be inferred to be, if he is to perform the functions which the world requires of him, and how God can act on the world to perform these functions. In the second part St. Thomas Aquinas' doctrine of God's creation of the world is used as a point of contrast to show why Whitehead rejects the traditional Christian teaching of creation ex nihilo and what is the Whiteheadian notion of divine creation. The final part of the study shows why Whitehead thought that the notion of God as a divine monarch is ethically repugnant and argues that Whitehead's alternative notion of God is morally relevant. Professor Thompson admirably succeeds in accomplishing his purpose. His synthesis of Whitehead's philosophy of God is lucid and cogent. Although portions of the book presuppose some acquaintance with Whitehead's philosophy, it generally does not require of the reader a detailed knowledge of Whiteheadian philosophy. An extensive bibliography of literature on Whitehead's thought is provided.--H. F.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph197225343
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