Phil 482 Process Metaphysics
Dr. Gary L. Angel
This course is an examination of various metaphysical issues from the standpoint the processual view of reality as set forth by Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne, among others. The impetus behind this philosophy is that the traditional concept of substance, so definitive of classical metaphysics, cannot characterize the fundamental nature of reality. Process, or neo-classical, metaphysics offers a systematic view of reality more consistent with the evidence found in every dimension of experience, as well as one which is better able to serve as a foundation for the twentieth discoveries in the physical sciences than does the substantialist position. In addition, process metaphysics seems better equipped to address the traditional metaphysical issues, and to meet theological demands.
For process metaphysics, the fundamental building blocks of reality are not substances, but rather moments of experience. Process means the concrescing of these moments of experience which Whitehead terms “actual occasions” and Hartshorne calls “event states” The essential concept within process is “creativity,” and the resultant thrust is the advancement into novelty along with the conservation of the value created.
This course will require that students do readings from Whitehead and Hartshorne, and discuss those readings with eye toward developing a position on some issue to be expressed in a term paper due at the end of the class. Specifically, requirements will include the following:
1. Class participation 25%
2. Textual explications 25%
3. Term paper 50%
The course, in various ways, will deal with the following topics:
The Ultimate Nature of Reality:
Substance/Organism/Actual Occasions/Events States