My purpose in this essay is to provide a critical survey of arguments within recent analytic philosophy regarding the so-called “mind-body problem” with a particular view toward the relationship between these arguments and the philosophy of A.N. Whitehead (and Charles Hartshorne’s closely related views).1In course, I shall argue that Whitehead’s panexperientialist physicalism avoids paradoxes and difficulties of both materialist-physicalism and Cartesian dualismas advocated by a variety of analytic philosophers. However, and I believe that this point is not often sufficiently recognized, (...) analytic philosophy of mind is no monolith, and there are those who have found some form of panexperientialism to be attractive enough to merit serious consideration or even full-fledgedacceptance (David Chalmers, Thomas Nagel, Ralph Pred, William Seager, and Galen Strawson among them). A critical discussion of such thinkers should beincluded in any adequate survey of the relation between process panexperientialism and the analytic tradition. Moreover, the revisionary strain of the analyticaltradition which looks to natural science for its construction of worldviews (Broad, Russell, Bunge, Carnap, Quine, etc.) would move us in the direction of examining arguments concerning Whitehead’s view and contemporary empirical scientific considerations. (For a discussion of the basic nature of analytic philosophy and the descriptive and revisionary approaches contained within it, see my Process and Analysis, 5-9, 12-13, 57; and McHenry.) Here I shall argue that Whiteheadian panexperientialism very naturally accommodates important aspects of quantum theory, including the top-down causation involved in neuroplastic phenomena under a quantum mechanical interpretation of brain processes and in so-called Quantum Zeno Effect. The overall picture which emerges is that Whitehead’s position is (at the very least) a strongly plausible alternative in philosophy of mind.While I must confess that this essay can only represent the merest sketch—indeed an adequate treatment of the richly complex interpretive, comparative, and substantive philosophical issues here requires at the very least a monograph—I nonetheless hope to present a coherent and useful précis of major arguments and comparative conceptual relationships, especially for the reader who may not be readily familiar with this terrain. I thus hope that this essay will serve as a short expository and critical introduction to the interface between process and analytic philosophy of mind, and a presentation of the several theoretical advantages gained by listening to Whitehead’s theory as it connects with concerns of analytic philosophers.I shall proceed by first working though the main outlines of John Searle’s important and widely reaching “The Recent History of Materialism,” an essay which exposes critical flaws in a variety of materialist theories in ways which Whiteheadians should find especially fitting and congenial. I shall then examine defenses of dualism and the relation of Whitehead to such defenses, followed by a separate section on Chalmers, Nagel, and Pred. I will then consider a number ofimportant objections to process panexperientialism, including objections arising from the work of Jaegwon Kim and John Searle. I close with a discussion of thementioned empirical scientific arguments. (shrink)
Charles Hartshorne: Theistic and Anti-Theistic Arguments Charles Hartshorne is well known in philosophical circles for his rehabilitation of Anselm’s ontological argument. Indeed, he may have written more on that subject than any other philosopher. He considered it to be the argument that, more than any other, reveals the logical status of theism. Nevertheless, he always … Continue reading Hartshorne Theistic and Anti-Theistic Arguments →.
In this essay I argue that Malone-France’s anti-realistic interpretation of the Hartshorne-Peirce theory of possibles can be challenged in a number of ways. While his interpretation does suggest that there are in fact two distinct accounts of possibility in Hartshorne’s philosophy, one that is vulnerable to an antirealistic interpretation and one that is not, Hartshorne does have a consistent and defensible doctrine of possibles. I argue that Whitehead’s contrasting “nonprotean” theory of possibles or “eternal objects” has its own set of (...) conundrums to face, including problems with the coherence of the notion of the completeness of eternal objects and problems with infinite regresses. Whether Whitehead’s or Hartshorne’s account of possibles is correct, I concur with Malone-France that the Molinist doctrine of divine knowledge of future contingents is flawed. (shrink)
Charles Hartshorne: Neoclassical Metaphysics Charles Hartshorne was an intrepid defender of the claims of metaphysics in a century characterized by its anti-metaphysical genius. While many influential voices were explaining what speculative philosophy could not accomplish or even proclaiming an end to it, Hartshorne was trying to show what speculative philosophy could accomplish. Metaphysics, he … Continue reading Hartshorne, Charles: Neoclassical Metaphysics →.
ABSTRACT:Analytic philosophers have criticized A. N. Whitehead's metaphysics for being obscure, yet several such philosophers have espoused positions in metaphysics and philosophy of mind that were advanced by Whitehead in the 1920s. In this paper, we evaluate the merits and demerits of these criticisms by Bertrand Russell, W. V. Quine, Karl Popper, and others and then demonstrate the affinities and contrasts in the positions advanced by Galen Strawson, David Chalmers, Thomas Nagel, and Whitehead regarding so-called ‘analytic panexperientialism’.
This book critically explores answers to the big question, What produced our universe around fifteen billion years ago in a Big Bang? It critiques contemporary atheistic cosmologies, including Steady State, Oscillationism, Big Fizz, Big Divide, and Big Accident, that affirm the eternity and self-sufficiency of the universe without God. This study defends and revises Process Theology and arguments for God's existence from the universe's life-supporting order and contingent existence.
Charles Hartshorne: Dipolar Theism From the beginning to the end of his career Charles Hartshorne maintained that the idea that “God is love” was his guiding intuition in philosophy. This “intuition” presupposes both that there is a divine reality and that that reality answers to some positive description of being a loving God. This article … Continue reading Hartshorne, Charles : Dipolar Theism →.
Charles Hartshorne: Biography and Psychology of Sensation Charles Hartshorne is widely regarded as having been an important figure in twentieth century metaphysics and philosophy of religion. His contributions are wide-ranging. He championed the aspirations of metaphysics when it was unfashionable, and the metaphysic he championed helped change some of the fashions of philosophy. He counted … Continue reading Hartshorne: Biography and Psychology of Sensation →.
This paper is a brief reply to Henry Simoni's ‘Divine passibility and the problem of radical particularity: does God feel your pain?’ in Religious Studies, 33 (1997). I treat his discussion of my paper entitled ‘Hartshorne and Creel on impassibility’, Process Studies, 21 (1992). I argue that Simoni's examples used to illustrate the purportedly contradictory nature of the experiences of a God who universally feels creaturely states fail. For Simoni tacitly employs an inadequate notion of the law of non-contradiction, and (...) thereby misses the relevant phenomenological fact that it is possible for human beings to have integrated mental states that contain spatially distinctive but conflicting hedonic properties. Thus, it is possible for God (at least under Hartshornean descriptions) to have such experiences. I also argue that I have not ‘exploited an isolated passage’ in Hartshorne to make his views seem more palatable. The point of the passage in question is in fact repeated by Hartshorne and is systematically connected with his doctrine of the ‘objective and subjective form of feeling’. (shrink)