A philosophy of shared creative experience.--What metaphysics is.--Present prospects for metaphysics.--Abstraction: the question of nominalism.--Some principles of method.--A logic of ultimate contrasts.--Wittgenstein and Tillich: reflections on metaphysics and language.--Non-restrictive existential statements.--Events, individuals and predication: a defence of event pluralism--The prejudice in favor of symmetry.--The principle of dual transcendence and its basis in ordinary language.--Can there be a priori knowledge of what exists?--Ideas of God: an exhaustive division.--Six theistic proofs.--Sensory qualities and ordinary language.--The aesthetic matrix of value.
Hartshorne (emeritus, U. of Texas), possibly the foremost living American philosopher, offers less a chronological autobiography than an anecdotal memoir and meditation associating his philosophical beliefs with specific life situations.
Peirce's three “Neo-Pythagorean” categories have not given his students any complete satisfaction, but I cannot doubt that, though partly misconceived, they can, when freed of certain errors, be of great value.
In several great religions God is thought of as an agent or active individual exalted in principle above other agents, the supreme creative and controlling power. But, however exalted, the deity is still, in spite of what Tillich and others say, an individual being, somehow analogous to a human person. Indeed, man is said to be created in the divine image. Without this analogy religion loses an essential trait. Not only in faiths derived from Judaism, but also in Zoroastrianism, and (...) even in much Hinduism and some Buddhism, the analogy plays a central role. (shrink)
Now my contention is this: in whatever sense to "be made part of a cosmic harmony" is the condition for preservation, the entire past, and not a mere portion of it, can and does meet the condition and is preserved. And this is the view I have attributed to Whitehead.
There is a subtle complication, however. A critic may understand an idea momentarily and yet, when he comes to evaluate the view in comparison with his own, he may tend to forget even the understanding he previously exhibited, and to fall back upon some simplicist distortion thanks to which his preference of his own notion seems justified. Thus it is not infrequently possible to answer a critic out of his own exposition of the ideas he criticizes.
A number of writers have recently taken fresh looks at the many centuries-old ontological proof of Anselm. 1 Three of these writers seem to agree with me that traditional ways of treating this topic have been inadequate and that the proof, whether or not it is a sufficient reason for belief, is not without important bearings for philosophy of religion. These writers are Malcolm, Findlay, and Plantinga. With each of these I find considerable common ground, and they have all indicated (...) to me that they are aware of this. In the present article on the topic, however, I wish to discuss a fourth writer, who differs rather sharply from the other three and particularly from me. Since Hick's views are shared in certain respects by what I take to be a main stream of contemporary thought, particularly in Britain, it seems worth while to accept the challenge he offers. (shrink)