Whitehead’s process metaphysics, as developed in Process and Reality, is harmed by the incoherence of his notion of eternal objects as timeless and essentially unrelated entities, which therefore need a primordial agent as their ontological ground and the source of their relatedness and relevance. Such nontemporal entities undermine what is supposed to be a thoroughly temporalist metaphysics. Eternal objects can be understood solely as functions of Creativity, however, as features of a purely temporal process. A notion of God is not (...) required. Whitehead’s Categoreal Obligations specify the necessary conditions for this process, including how the novelty is possible that is needed to account for temporal change and the increased complexity that value enhancement presupposes and makes possible. Adventures of Ideas, especially through the notions of Art and Peace, develops at the level of human civilization this same secular interpretation of the capacity of entities to fashion novel and progressive outcomes. (shrink)
In this thorough compendium, nineteen accomplished scholars explore, in some manner the values they find inherent in the world, their nature, and revelence through the thought of Frederick FerrZ. These essays, informed by the insights of FerrZ and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
Metaphysical realism, as Rockmore defines it, is the claim that "under the proper conditions it is possible to know independent objects and the world as it is". Its canonical version is Platonic realism, which includes the ontological claim that this objective reality is a "permanent ahistorical matrix or framework". Foundationalism is an epistemological strategy for validating the realist claim by identifying something as absolutely true, true "beyond skepticism, hence beyond doubt of any kind", then deducing from it objective "knowledge of (...) the mind-independent real as it is". (shrink)
This essay responds to Lewis Ford’s “Allan’s Atheism,” in which he assesses a recent essay of mine that finds God an unnecessary and indeed coherence-destroying addition to Process and Reality. I clarify my position by showing how Whitehead’s notions of physical purpose and aesthetic determination adequately account for the novelty required for an actual occasion’s concrescence and for increases in achieved value. I then criticize Ford’s claim that genuine novelties must have a divine origin and that in Adventures of Ideas (...) the Eros of the Universe refers to God. (shrink)
Lucas defines process thought by means of an analysis of the constituent elements in its historical development during the past two centuries. Newtonian mechanistic realism is contrasted with the romantic monism of evolutionary cosmologists. Lucas then argues that Hegelian idealism shaped the revolt of English-speaking pragmatism and realism against both mechanism and romanticism in ways that eventuated in the process rationalism of the Whiteheadian school.
A standard account of creativity is that it is a process in which the form of a thing or event is altered—restructured or reinterpreted—in a way that changes fundamentally that thing’s or event’s meaning, its nature or function, its intrinsic or instrumental value. What is created in this manner, however, is only a variation of the initial form. Such processes are creative in a weak sense; the strong sense requires that the old form be replaced by a quite different one, (...) as in reconstructions or metaphors. But creative substitution is not haphazard, not a matter of insight, genius, luck, or divine assistance. It utilizes the generative rules governing a formal structure to make or discover new forms that are transformations, not variations, of the original form. These procedures are teachable and not mysterious, although the possible transforms of the structure are never predictable. (shrink)
JEAN-PAUL SARTRE in the Critique de la raison dialectique, develops a theory of praxis which extends the anthropology of L'être et le néant while simultaneously claiming to correct and complete Marxism. Central to Sartre’s argument are two assertions: that dialectic is fundamental to human action, and that all historical development is rooted in the praxis of individual persons. These twin assertions, by insisting upon the existential element in social change, do not merely correct Marxism. They fundamentally alter it. In affirming (...) the dialectical structure of praxis, Sartrean Marxism is compelled to deny a dialectic of history. It modifies the Marxian dialectic by radically constricting its scope, denying a becoming of the dialectic by insisting upon a dialectic of becoming. (shrink)
Hartshorne's "neoclassical metaphysics" rests implicitly on five metaphysical axioms: discontinuity, Asymmetry, Sociality, Creativity, And dipolar divinity. The first four axioms entail ethical norms crucial to democracy: non-Reducibility of individual to community, Primacy of present achievement over potential future value, Non-Reducibility of communal to individual, The importance of risk. The fifth axiom undercuts these norms, However. The notion of God as guarantor of achieved value should be dropped from hartshorne's philosophy to make it ethically consistent.
This book examines tradition, the authority of the past, by tracing the process through which emotion and imagination transform everyday experience into an awareness of one's dependence on the work of predecessors.
Ferré proposes three criteria for judging whether or not a metaphysical theory is “well made.” Two of the criteria are “adequacy” and “coherence.” For a metaphysical theory to be well made, it must be inclusive, leaving nothing out of its purview. And it must be integrated, bringing together all it includes into a unified whole. Adequacy and coherence apply to metaphysical theories the criteria for any non-trivial logical system: that it be both complete and consistent.
Human societies, according to Donskis, are organized by “value-and-idea systems” that are works of creative imagination validated by their adequacy to the reality with respect to which they orient us. These patterns of culture provide the conditions for our personal and collective identities. The modern Western cultural pattern celebrates analytic reason and individuality, rejecting the holistic/hierarchic values of both its Christian and pagan predecessor cultures. The absence of these cohesive traditional values, however, troubles our imagination. It exposes our vulnerability and (...) undermines our sense of identity as persons in community. This dark side of modernity is the breeding ground for hatred. Donskis’s book is an exploration of the forms this hatred has taken in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western culture, and of what we should do to abate its continuing virulence. (shrink)
IN RECOVERY OF THE MEASURE: INTERPRETATION AND NATURE, Robert Cummings Neville develops a philosophy of nature and theory of interpretation as centerpieces for his projected three-volume Axiology of Thinking. This emerging ontology of value is impressive for both its originality and complexity. Neville's claims about meaning, truth, objectivity, and knowledge are deployed in explicit opposition to the relativism, historicism, and subjectivism currently so popular among philosophers. His critique is formidable because neither polemical nor defensive; it is rather the expression of (...) a coherent metaphysical vision. (shrink)
HISTORIANS DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN THE PAST. IT IS ARGUED THAT THIS ACTIVITY CAN BE EXTENDED TO ENCOMPASS FUTURE-REFERRING STATEMENTS WITHOUT BECOMING SOOTHSAYING. DESCRIPTIVE AND EXPLANATORY TECHNIQUES ARE EXAMINED, AND THE TEST OF THEIR ADEQUACY SEEN TO INVOLVE SPECULATIVE PREDICTION AND PROJECTION. PHILOSOPHERS OF HISTORY ALSO USE SUCH TECHNIQUES, IMAGINATIVELY COMPLETING INCOMPLETE DESCRIPTIVE PATTERNS BY REFERENCE TO THE FUTURE, IN ORDER TO SUGGEST AND EVALUATE EXPLANATIONS OF PAST EVENTS.
AN OBVIOUS FEATURE OF OUR EXPERIENCE is the constant perishing of what we value. Persons we love, objects we treasure, ideals we revere, desires that enthrall us, groups to which we pledge allegiance, projects in which we are engaged, systems that command our respect, accomplishments before which we stand in awe, memories we cherish, hopes to which we cling—they all are eventually lost to us. They abate, explode, crumble, die, erode, fade; they are deformed, eviscerated, torn apart, vanquished, made to (...) disappear. They gang always, not merely aft, a-gley. The perishing may be cataclysmic or gradual, the devastation wreaked by hurricane-force winds and pandemic plagues or the unnoticed pressures by which tectonic plates shift and species adapt. So pervasive are these perishings that folk wisdom assigns as deepest truth the observation that of anything it can be said: “this too shall pass away.”. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to explore similarities between Whitehead’s stages of education and two of the “ultimate notions” he discusses in Modes of Thought. I hope this exploration will shed light on what Whitehead means when he opens the Epilogue of that book by saying: “The task of a university is the creation of the future, so far as rational thought, and civilized modes of appreciation, can affect the issue” (171).