Charles Hartshorne

Charles Hartshorne (/ˈhɑːrtsˌhɔːrn/; June 5, 1897 – October 9, 2000) was an American philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics, but also contributed to ornithology. He developed the neoclassical idea of God and produced a modal proof of the existence of God that was a development of St. Anselm's ontological argument. Hartshorne is also noted for developing Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy into process theology.

Charles Hartshorne
Charles Hartshorne
Portrait of Charles Hartshorne circa 1990
BornJune 5, 1897
DiedOctober 9, 2000 (aged 103)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolProcess philosophy
Main interests
Metaphysics, Philosophy of religion
Notable ideas
Process theology
Modal proof of the existence of God

Early life and education

Hartshorne (pronounced harts-horn) was born in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, and was a son of Reverend Francis Cope Hartshorne (October 4, 1868 - April 16, 1950) and Marguerite Haughton (September 6, 1868 - November 4, 1959), who were married on April 25, 1895 in Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Rev. F. C. Hartshorne, who was a minister in the Protestant Episcopal Church, was rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Kittanning from 1897-1909, then rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania for 19 years (from 1909-1928). After resigning from the ministry in late 1927 or early 1928, within a few years Francis was appointed pension fund manager of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia.

Among Charles' brothers was the prominent geographer Richard Hartshorne.

Charles attended Haverford College between 1915–17, but then spent two years as a hospital orderly serving in the US Army. He then studied at Harvard University, where he earned the B.A. (1921), M.A. (1922) and PhD (1923) degrees. His doctoral dissertation was on "The Unity of Being". He obtained all three degrees in only four years, an accomplishment believed unique in Harvard's history.

From 1923-25 Hartshorne pursued further studies in Europe. He attended the University of Freiburg, where he studied under the phenomenologist Edmund Husserl, and also the University of Marburg, where he studied under Martin Heidegger. He then returned to Harvard University as a research fellow from 1925–28, where he and Paul Weiss edited the Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce v. 1–6 and spent a semester assisting Alfred North Whitehead.


After Hartshorne worked at Harvard University, he became a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago (1928–1955), and was also a member of the University's Federated Theological Faculty (1943–1955). He then taught at Emory University (1955–62), followed by the University of Texas (1962–retirement). He published his last article at age 96 and delivered his last lecture at 98.[1]

In addition to his long teaching career at the previous three universities, Hartshorne was also appointed as a special lecturer or visiting professor at Stanford University, the University of Washington, Yale University, the University of Frankfurt, the University of Melbourne and Kyoto University. He served as president of the Metaphysical Society of America in 1955. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975.[2]

Intellectual influences

Hartshorne acknowledged that he was greatly influenced by Matthew Arnold (Literature and Dogma), Emerson's Essays, Charles Sanders Peirce, and especially by Alfred North Whitehead.[3] Rufus Jones was his Haverford teacher and continuing mentor. He also found inspiration in the works of Josiah Royce (Problem of Christianity), William James, Henri Bergson, Ralph Barton Perry and Nikolai Berdyaev. He conducted a lengthy correspondence over some twenty-three years with Edgar S. Brightman of Boston University about their respective philosophical and theological views.

In turn Hartshorne has been a seminal influence on the theologians Matthew Fox, Daniel Day Williams, Norman Pittenger, Gregory A. Boyd, Schubert M. Ogden (born March 2, 1928) and John B. Cobb, on the American philosophers Frank Ebersole and Daniel Dombrowski, and on the Australian biologist-futurologist Charles Birch.

Philosophy and theology

The intellectual movement with which Hartshorne is associated is generally referred to as process philosophy and the related area of process theology. The roots of process thinking in Western philosophy can be found in the Greek Heraclitus and in Eastern philosophy in Buddhism. Contemporary process philosophy arose in large measure from the work of Alfred North Whitehead, but with important contributions by William James, Charles Peirce, and Henri Bergson, while Hartshorne is identified as the seminal influence on process theology that emerged after World War Two.

The key motifs of process philosophy are: empiricism, relationalism, process, and events.

The motif of empiricism in process thought refers to the theme that experience is the realm for defining meaning and verifying any theory of reality. Unlike classical empiricism, process thought takes the category of feeling beyond just the human senses of perception. Experiences are not confined to sense perception or consciousness, and there are pre-sensual, pre-conscious experiences from which consciousness and perception derive.

The motif of relationalism refers to both experiences and relationships. Humans experience things and also experience the relationship between things. The motif of process means that all time, history and change are in a dynamic evolutionary process. The final motif of events refers to all the units (organic and inorganic) of the world.

While Hartshorne acknowledges the importance of Whitehead on his own ideas, many of the elements of his philosophy are evident in his dissertation, written in 1923, prior to his encounter with Whitehead. Moreover, Hartshorne was not always in agreement with Whitehead, especially on the nature of possibility. Whitehead construed the realm of possibilities in terms of what he called Eternal Objects. Hartshorne was never happy with this way of speaking and followed Peirce in thinking of the realm of possibility as a continuum which, by definition, has no least member and which can be "cut" in infinitely many ways. Definite qualities, for example, a particular shade of blue, emerge in the creative process.

Another difference between Whitehead and Hartshorne is that the Englishman usually spoke of God as a single actual entity whereas Hartshorne thought it better to think of God as a personally ordered series of actual entities, each exhibiting the abstract character of divinity, as necessarily supreme in love, knowledge and power. In Hartshorne's process theology God and the world exist in a dynamic, changing relationship. God is a 'di-polar' deity. By this Hartshorne meant that God has both abstract and concrete poles. The abstract pole refers to those elements within God that never vary, such as God's self-identity, while the concrete pole refers to the organic growth in God's perfect knowledge of the world as the world itself develops and changes. Hartshorne did not accept the classical theistic claim of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing), and instead held to creatio ex materia (creation out of pre-existent material), although this is not an expression he used.

One of the technical terms Hartshorne used is pan-en-theism, originally coined by Karl Christian Friedrich Krause in 1828. Panentheism (all is in God) must be differentiated from Classical pantheism (all is God). In Hartshorne's theology God is not identical with the world, but God is also not completely independent from the world. God has his self-identity that transcends the universe, but the world is also contained within God. A rough analogy is the relationship between a mother and a fetus. The mother has her own identity and is different from the unborn, yet is intimately connected to the unborn. The unborn is within the womb and attached to the mother via the umbilical cord.

Hartshorne reworked the ontological argument for God's existence as promulgated by Anselm. In Anselm's formula, "God is that than which no greater can be conceived." Anselm's argument used the concept of perfection. While Hartshorne believed that his reformulated ontological argument is sound, he never claimed that it was sufficient unto itself to establish the existence of God. Throughout his career, from the time of his dissertation, he relied upon a multiple argument strategy, commonly called a cumulative case, to establish the rationality of his di-polar theism.

Hartshorne accepts that, by definition, God is perfect. However, he maintains that classical theism, be it Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, has held to a self-contradictory notion of perfection. He argues that the classical concept of a deity for which all potentialities are actualized fails. Hartshorne posited that God's existence is necessary and is compatible with any events in the world. In the economy of his argument Hartshorne has attempted to break a perceived stalemate in theology over the problem of evil and God's omnipotence. For Hartshorne, perfection means that God cannot be surpassed in his social relatedness to every creature. God is capable of surpassing himself by growing and changing in his knowledge and feeling for the world.

Hartshorne acknowledged a God capable of change, as is consistent with pandeism, but early on he specifically rejected both deism and pandeism in favor of panentheism, writing that "panentheistic doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations".[4]

Hartshorne did not believe in the immortality of human souls as identities separate from God, but explained that all the beauty created in a person's life will exist for ever in the reality of God. This can be understood in a way reminiscent of Hinduism, or perhaps Buddhism's Sunyata (emptiness) ontology namely that a person's identity is extinguished in one's ultimate union with God, but that a person's life within God is eternal. Hartshorne regularly attended services at several Unitarian Universalist churches, and joined the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin, Texas.[5]


Hartshorne's philosophical and theological views have received criticism from many different quarters. Positive criticism has underscored that Hartshorne's emphasis on change and process and creativity has acted as a great corrective to static thinking about causal laws and determinism. Several commentators affirm that his position offers metaphysical coherence by providing a coherent set of concepts.

Others indicate that Hartshorne has quite properly placed a valuable emphasis on appreciating nature (even evidenced in Hartshorne's hobby for bird-watching). His emphasis on nature and human-divine relationships to the world has goaded reflective work on developing theologies about pollution, resource degradation and a philosophy of ecology. Allied to this has been Hartshorne's emphasis on aesthetics and beauty. In his system of thought science and theology achieve some integration as science and theology provide data for each other.

Hartshorne has also been an important figure in upholding natural theology, and in offering an understanding of God as a personal, dynamic being. It is accepted by many philosophers that Hartshorne made the idea of perfection rationally conceivable, and so his contribution to the ontological argument is deemed to be valuable for modern philosophical discussion.

It has been said that Hartshorne has placed an interesting emphasis on affirming that the God who loves the creation also endures suffering. In his theological thought the centrality of love is very strong, particularly in his interpretation of God, nature and all living creatures. Hartshorne is also appreciated for his philosophical interest in Buddhism, and in stimulating others in new approaches to inter-religious co-operation and dialogue.

Langdon Gilkey questioned Hartshorne's assumptions about human reasoning experiences. Gilkey pointed out that Hartshorne assumes there is an objective or rational structure to the whole universe, and he then assumes that human thought can acquire accurate and adequate knowledge of the universe.

In Hartshorne's theology there is no literal first event in the universe, and the universe is thus regarded as an actually infinite reality. This has led some to point out that as Hartshorne has emphasized that every event has been partly determined by previous events, his thought is susceptible to the fallacy of the infinite regress.

Other critics question the adequacy of panentheism. The point of tension in Hartshorne's theology is whether God is really worthy of worship since God needs the world in order to be a complete being. Traditional theism posits that God is a complete being before the creation of the world. Others find that his argument about God's perfection is flawed by confusing existential necessity with logical necessity.

In classical Protestant and Evangelical thought, Hartshorne's theology has received strong criticism. In these theological networks Hartshorne's panentheist reinterpretation of God's nature has been deemed to be incompatible with Biblical revelation and the classic creedal formulations of the Trinity. Critics such as Royce Gordon Gruenler (born January 10, 1930), Ronald Nash and Norman Geisler argue that Hartshorne does not offer a tripersonal view of the Trinity, and instead his interpretation of Christ (Christology) has some affinities with the early heresy of the Ebionites. It is also argued that Hartshorne's theology entails a denial of divine foreknowledge and predestination to salvation. Hartshorne is also criticized for his denial or devaluing of Christ's miracles and the supernatural events mentioned in the Bible.

Other criticisms are that Hartshorne gives little attention to the classical theological concepts of God's holiness, and that the awe of God is an undeveloped element in his writings. Alan Wayne Gragg (born July 17, 1932) criticizes Hartshorne's highly optimistic view of humanity, and hence its lack of emphasis on human depravity, guilt and sin. Allied to these criticisms is the assertion that Hartshorne over-emphasizes aesthetics and is correspondingly weak on ethics and morality. Others have indicated that Hartshorne failed to understand traditional Christian views about petitionary prayer and survival of the individual in the afterlife.


  • The Philosophy and Psychology of Sensation, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1934, reprint Kennikat Press 1968
  • Beyond Humanism: Essays in the New Philosophy of Nature, Chicago/New York: Willett, Clark & Co, 1937 (also published as Beyond Humanism: Essays in the Philosophy of Nature by University of Nebraska Press, 1968)
  • Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, Willett, Clark & company, 1941, reprint Hamden: Archon, 1964, ISBN 0-208-00498-X
  • The Divine Relativity: A Social Conception of God, (Terry Lectures), New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948, reprint ed. 1983, ISBN 0-300-02880-6
  • The Logic of Perfection and other essays in neoclassical metaphysics, La Salle: Open Court, 1962, reprint ed. 1973, ISBN 0-87548-037-3
  • Philosophers Speak of God, edited with William L. Reese, University of Chicago Press, 1963, Amherst: Humanity Books, reprint ed. 2000, ISBN 1-57392-815-1 (fifty selections spanning the breadth of both eastern and western thought)
  • Anselm's Discovery, La Salle: Open Court, 1965
  • A Natural Theology for our Time, La Salle: Open Court, 1967, reprint ed. 1992, ISBN 0-87548-239-2
  • Creative Synthesis and Philosophic Method, S.C.M. Press, 1970, ISBN 0-334-00269-9
  • Reality as Social Process, New York: Hafner, 1971
  • Whitehead's Philosophy: Selected Essays, 1935-1970, University of Nebraska Press, 1972, ISBN 0-8032-0806-5
  • Aquinas to Whitehead: Seven Centuries of Metaphysics of Religion, Marquette University Publications, 1976, ISBN 0-87462-141-0
  • Whitehead's View of Reality, with Creighton Peden, New York: Pilgrim Press, rev. ed. 1981, ISBN 0-8298-0381-5
  • Insights and Oversights of Great Thinkers: : An Evaluation of Western Philosophy, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983, ISBN 0-87395-682-6
  • Creativity in American Philosophy, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984, ISBN 0-87395-817-9
  • Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984, ISBN 0-87395-771-7
  • Wisdom as Moderation, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987, ISBN 0-88706-473-6
  • The Darkness and The Light: A Philosopher Reflects upon His Fortunate Career and Those Who Made It Possible, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990, ISBN 0-7914-0337-8
  • Born to Sing: An Interpretation and World Survey of Bird Song, Indiana Univ Press, 1992, ISBN 0-253-20743-6
  • The Zero Fallacy: And Other Essays in Neoclassical Philosophy, edited with Mohammad Valady, Open Court, 1997, ISBN 0-8126-9324-8
  • Creative Experiencing: A Philosophy of Freedom, edited by Donald Wayne Viney and Jinceheol O, Albany: State University of New Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4384-3666-1

See also


  1. ^ Douglas Martin, "Charles Hartshorne, Theologian, Is Dead; Proponent of an Activist God Was 103," The New York Times, October 13, 2000.
  2. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter H" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  3. ^ Cf. Michel Weber and Will Desmond (eds.). Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought (Frankfurt / Lancaster, Ontos Verlag, Process Thought X1 & X2, 2008) and Ronny Desmet & Michel Weber (edited by), Whitehead. The Algebra of Metaphysics. Applied Process Metaphysics Summer Institute Memorandum, Louvain-la-Neuve, Les Éditions Chromatika, 2010.
  4. ^ Charles Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism (1964), p. 348, ISBN 0-208-00498-X
  5. ^ "Charles Hartshorne". Unitarian Universalist Association. Retrieved 2007-03-14.


Biographical and intellectual

  • Randall E. Auxier and Mark Y. A. Davies, eds. Hartshorne and Brightman on God, Process, and Persons: The Correspondence 1922-1945 (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2001).
  • John B. Cobb and Franklin I. Gamwell, eds. Existence and Actuality: Conversations with Charles Hartshorne (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), ISBN 0-226-11123-7, online edition
  • William L. Reese and Eugene Freeman, eds. Process and Divinity: The Hartshorne Festschrift (La Salle: Open Court, 1964).

Interpretations and influences

  • William A. Beardslee, "Hope in Biblical Eschatology and in Process Theology," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 38 (September 1970), pp. 227–239.
  • Charles Birch, "Participatory Evolution: The Drive of Creation," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 40 (June 1972), pp. 147–163.
  • Charles Birch, On Purpose (Kensington: New South Wales University Press, 1990).
  • Delwin Brown, Ralph E. James and Gene Reeves, eds. Process Philosophy and Christian Thought (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971).
  • John B. Cobb, God and the World (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969).
  • Carol P. Christ, She Who Changes: Re-imagining the Divine in the World, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, ISBN 1-4039-6083-6
  • George L. Goodwin, Ontological Argument of Charles Hartshorne, Scholars Press, 1978, ISBN 0-89130-228-X, published dissertation
  • Schubert Ogden, The Reality of God and Other Essays (New York: Harper & Row, 1966).
  • Norman Pittenger, Christology Reconsidered (London: SCM Press, 1970).
  • Donald W. Viney, Charles Hartshorne and the Existence of God, forward by Charles Hartshorne, State University of New York Press, 1985, ISBN 0-87395-907-8 (hardcover), ISBN 0-87395-908-6 (paperback)
  • Santiago Sia, editor, Charles Hartshorne's Concept of God: Philosophical and Theological Responses, Springer, 1989, ISBN 0-7923-0290-7
  • Santiago Sia, Religion, Reason, and God: Essays in the Philosophies of Charles Hartshorne and A.N. Whitehead, Peter Lang Publisher, 2004, ISBN 3-631-50855-7
  • Barry L. Whitney, Evil and the Process God, Toronto: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985

Critical assessments

  • Gregory A. Boyd, Trinity and Process: A Critical Evaluation and Reconstruction of Hartshorne's di-polar theism towards a Trinitarian Metaphysic (New York: P. Lang, 1992).
  • Robert J. Connelly, Whitehead vs. Hartshorne: Basic Metaphysical Issues (Washington D.C.: University Press of America, 1981).
  • Daniel A. Dombrowski, Hartshorne and the Metaphysics of Animal Rights (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988).
  • Daniel A. Dombrowski, Analytic Theism, Hartshorne, and the Concept of God (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996).
  • Langdon Gilkey, Naming the Whirlwind (Indianapolis:Bobbs-Merrill, 1969).
  • Alan Gragg, Charles Hartshorne (Waco: Word Publishing, 1973).
  • Royce G. Gruenler, The Inexhaustible God: Biblical Faith and the Challenge of Process Theism (Grand rapids: Baker, 1983).
  • Colin Gunton, Becoming and Being: The Doctrine of God in Charles Hartshorne and Karl Barth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978).
  • Lewis Edwin Hahn, ed. The Philosophy of Charles Hartshorne (La Salle: Open Court, 1991).
  • Bernard M. Loomer, "Process Theology: Origins, Strengths, Weaknesses," Process Studies, 16 (Winter 1987), pp. 245–254.
  • Ronald H. Nash, ed. Process Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987).
  • Douglas Pratt, Relational Deity: Hartshorne and Macquarrie on God (Lanham: University Press of America, 2002).
  • Edgar A. Towne, Two Types of Theism: Knowledge of God in the thought of Paul Tillich and Charles Hartshorne (New York: P. Lang, 1997).
  • Michel Weber and Will Desmond (eds.). Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, Frankfurt / Lancaster, Ontos Verlag, Process Thought X1 & X2, 2008.

External links

2000 in philosophy

2000 in philosophy

Adam Blatner

Adam Blatner (born Howard Blatner, 5 August 1937 in Los Angeles, CA) is a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, doubly Board Certified in Child/Adult Psychiatry), a Certified Trainer of Psychodrama and a psychology theorist. He is the author of the book Acting In, first published in 1973, which became the primary textbook for students of Psychodrama. He also wrote a number of other books and dozens of journal articles and chapters in textbooks, including the book (with his wife Allee Blatner) The Art of Play (see Publications, below).

Blatner has written papers and presented talks on a wide range of subjects, including Process philosophy, Postmodernism, and Scriptology. He became close friends with philosopher Charles Hartshorne in the final years of Hartshorne's life, helping him at his home in Austin, Texas.

Agnostic existentialism

Agnostic existentialism is a type of existentialism which makes no claim to know whether there is a "greater picture"; rather, it simply asserts that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon. It feels that to know the greater picture, whether there is one or not, is impossible, or impossible so far, or of little value. Like the Christian existentialist, the agnostic existentialist believes existence is subjective.

Center for Process Studies

The Center for Process Studies was founded in 1973 by John B. Cobb and David Ray Griffin to encourage exploration of the relevance of process thought to many fields of reflection and action. As a faculty center of Claremont School of Theology in association with Claremont Graduate University, and through seminars, conferences, publications and the library, CPS seeks to promote new ways of thinking based on the work of philosophers Alfred North Whitehead, and Charles Hartshorne, and others in the process tradition.

CPS seeks to promote the common good by means of the relational approach found in process thought. Process thought helps to harmonize moral, aesthetic, and religious intuitions with scientific insights, and grounds discussion between Eastern and Western religious and cultural traditions. It seeks to offer an approach to the social, political, and economic order that brings issues of human justice together with a concern for ecology. Its range of interests also includes scientific, philosophical, multicultural, feminist, interreligious, political, and economic concerns; with a strong focus on ecology and sustainability.CPS leadership currently includes Executive Director, Wm. Andrew Schwartz, three Faculty Co-Directors, Philip Clayton, Monica Coleman, Roland Faber, and three Emerita Faculty Co-Directors, John B. Cobb, David Ray Griffin, and Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki.

Clare Palmer

Clare Palmer (born 1967) is a British philosopher, theologian and scholar of environmental and religious studies who is currently a professor in the Department of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. She has previously held academic appointments at the University of Greenwich, the University of Stirling, Lancaster University and Washington University in St. Louis, among others. Palmer is known for her work in environmental and animal ethics.

She has published three sole-authored books—Environmental Ethics (ABC-CLIO, 1997), Environmental Ethics and Process Thinking (Oxford University Press, 1998) and Animal Ethics in Context (Columbia University Press, 2010)—as well as the co-authored Companion Animal Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015) and seven sole- or co-edited collections and anthologies. She is a former editor of the religious studies journal Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion, and a former president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics.

In Environmental Ethics and Process Thinking, which was based on her doctoral research, Palmer explores the possibility of a process philosophy-inspired account of environmental ethics, focussing on the work of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne. She ultimately concludes that a process ethic is not a desirable approach to environmental questions, despite the fact that process thought has been co-opted by some environmentalist thinkers. In Animal Ethics in Context, Palmer asks about responsibilities to aid animals, in contrast to the typical focus in animal ethics on not harming animals. She defends a contextual, relational ethic according to which humans will typically have duties to assist only domestic, and not wild, animals in need. However, humans will often be permitted to assist wild animals, and may be obligated to do so if there is a particular (causal) relationship between humans and the animals' plight.

Classical pantheism

Classical Pantheism, as defined by Charles Hartshorne in 1953, is the theological deterministic philosophies of pantheists such as Baruch Spinoza and the Stoics. Hartshorne sought to distinguish panentheism, which rejects determinism, from deterministic pantheism.

The term has also been used to mean Pantheism in the classical Greek and Roman era, or archetypal pantheism as variously defined by different authors.

Classical theism

Classical theism is a form of theism in which God is characterized as the absolutely metaphysically ultimate being, in contrast to other conceptions such as pantheism, panentheism, polytheism and process theism.

Classical theism is a form of monotheism. Whereas most monotheists agree that God is, at minimum, all-knowing, all-powerful, and completely good, classical theism asserts that God is both immanent (encompassing or manifested in the material world) and simultaneously transcendent (independent of the material universe); simple, and having such attributes as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness. A key concept in classical theism is that "created beings" (ie, material phenomena, whether sentient biological organisms or insentient matter) are dependent for their existence on the one supreme divine Being. Also, although God is wholly transcendent, he not only creates the material universe but also acts upon the material universe in imposing (or organizing) a Higher Order upon that material reality. This order was called by the ancient Greeks logos.

Classical theism is associated with the tradition of writers like Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, St. Anselm, Maimonides, Averroes and Thomas Aquinas. In opposition to this tradition, there are, today, philosophers like Alvin Plantinga (who rejects divine simplicity), Richard Swinburne (who rejects divine timelessness) and William Lane Craig (who rejects both divine simplicity and timelessness), who can be viewed as theistic personalists. Philosophers like David Bentley Hart have defended classical theism itself in recent times.

Classical theism was almost universal among Christian theologians prior to the twentieth century. However, some of its recent critics argue that it is taken from pre-Christian philosophers and incompatible with the occasions in the Bible that describe God as emotional or changing. In defence of classical theism's compatibility with the Bible, these passages can be read in an analogous or allegorical sense as containing poetic elements, just as many other passages have also long been read. For example, Exodus 31:18 describes "the finger of God", and Genesis 3:8 describes God as noisily walking in the garden of Eden. It is inconsistent that most Christian critics of classical theism would read these latter verses in an allegorical sense, but insist that instances which describe change or passion in God are extremely literal in meaning. Moreover, whereas critics of classical theism charge that it has infiltrated Christian theology from pre-Christian roots such as Neoplatonism, in fact the term "classical theism" belies crucial differences between a traditional Christian and Neoplatonic conception of God. For example, whereas Arius followed the neo-Platonist Plotinus in asserting that God could not become a physical man, Athanasius defended the doctrine of God's incarnation as the man Jesus, while nevertheless defending the immutability and impassibility of Jesus' divine nature. According to a traditional Christian understanding of the communicatio idiomatum, it can be rightly said that God suffered and died on the cross, but only by virtue of the hypostatic union of the impassible divine word with Jesus' passible human soul and body. Hence, while the church fathers made sure to correct the classical theism of pagan sources where it was incompatible with Christianity, it can be argued that many of the modern Christian critics of classical theism are in fact themselves influenced by an overly uncritical adoption of trends within process theology, which itself has non-Christian philosophical roots in the thought of Charles Hartshorne.

Hartshorne, Oklahoma

Hartshorne (pronounced "Hearts-orn") is a city in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, United States. It is the second largest city in the county. The population was 2,125 at the 2010 census.

The community was named for Dr. Charles Hartshorne, a wealthy investor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was attracted by the potential profits offered by coal deposits in the area.

Joseph A. Bracken

Joseph A. Bracken, S.J. is an American philosopher and Catholic theologian. Bracken is a proponent of process philosophy and process theology of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne. Much of his work is devoted to a synthesis of revealed religion and Christian trinitarian doctrines with a revised process theology. Bracken introduced a field theoretic approach to process metaphysics.

Library of Living Philosophers

The Library of Living Philosophers is a series of books conceived of and started by Paul Arthur Schilpp in 1939; Schilpp remained editor until 1981. The series has since been edited by Lewis Edwin Hahn (1981-2001), Randall Auxier (2001-2013), and Douglas R. Anderson (2013-2015). The Library of Living Philosophers is currently edited by Sarah Beardsworth (2015-present). Each volume is devoted to a single living philosopher of note, and contains, alongside an "intellectual autobiography" of its subject and a complete bibliography, a collection of critical and interpretive essays by several dozen contemporary philosophers on aspects of the subject's work, with responses by the subject. The Library was originally conceived as a means by which a philosopher could reply to his or her interpreters while still alive, hopefully resolving endless philosophical disputes about what someone "really meant." While its success in this line has been questionable—a reply, after all, can stand just as much in need of interpretation as an original essay—the series has become a noted philosophical resource and the site of much significant contemporary argument.

The series was published by Northwestern University from its inception through 1949; by Tudor Publishing Co. from 1952 to 1959; and since then by Open Court. The series is owned by Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Subjects of the Library, to date, are:

John Dewey (1939)

George Santayana (1940)

Alfred North Whitehead (1941)

G. E. Moore (1942)

Bertrand Russell (1944)

Ernst Cassirer (1949)

Albert Einstein (1949)

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1952)

Karl Jaspers (1957)

C. D. Broad (1959)

Rudolf Carnap (1963)

Martin Buber (1967)

C. I. Lewis (1968)

Karl Popper (1974)

Brand Blanshard (1980)

Jean-Paul Sartre (1981)

Gabriel Marcel (1984)

W. V. Quine (1986)

Georg Henrik von Wright (1989)

Charles Hartshorne (1991)

A. J. Ayer (1992)

Paul Ricoeur (1995)

Paul Weiss (1995)

Hans-Georg Gadamer (1997)

Roderick Chisholm (1997)

P. F. Strawson (1998)

Donald Davidson (1999)

Seyyed Hossein Nasr (2000)

Marjorie Grene (2002)

Jaakko Hintikka (2006)

Michael Dummett (2007)

Richard Rorty (2010)

Arthur Danto (2013)

Hilary Putnam (2015)

Umberto Eco (2017)Volumes projected on as of 2015: Martha C. Nussbaum, and Julia Kristeva

List of centenarians (philosophers and theologians)

The following is a list of centenarians – specifically, people who became famous as philosophers and theologians – known for reasons other than their longevity. For more lists, see lists of centenarians.

Natural-law argument

Natural-law argument for the existence of God was especially popular in the eighteenth century as a result of the influence of Sir Isaac Newton. As Bertrand Russell pointed out much later, many of the things we consider to be laws of nature, in fact, are human conventions. Indeed, Albert Einstein has shown that Newton's law of universal gravitation was such a convention, and though elegant and useful, one that did not describe the universe precisely. Most true laws are rather trivial, such as mathematical laws, laws of probability, and so forth, and much less impressive than those that were envisioned by Newton and his followers. Russell wrote:

"If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there was a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate law-giver. In short, this whole argument from natural law no longer has anything like the strength that it used to have."The argument of natural laws as a basis for God was changed by Christian figures such as Thomas Aquinas, in order to fit biblical scripture and establish a Judeo-Christian teleological law.

Objective idealism

Objective idealism is an idealistic metaphysics that postulates that there is in an important sense only one perceiver, and that this perceiver is one with that which is perceived. One important advocate of such a metaphysics, Josiah Royce (the founder of American idealism), wrote that he was indifferent "whether anybody calls all this Theism or Pantheism". Plato is regarded as one of the earliest representatives of objective idealism. It is distinct from the subjective idealism of George Berkeley, and it abandons the thing-in-itself of Kant's dualism.


Omnipotence is the quality of having unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of their faith. In the monotheistic philosophies of Abrahamic religions, omnipotence is often listed as one of a deity's characteristics among many, including omniscience, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence. The presence of all these properties in a single entity has given rise to considerable theological debate, prominently including the problem of theodicy, the question of why such a deity would permit the manifestation of evil.


Panentheism (meaning "all-in-God", from the Ancient Greek πᾶν pân, "all", ἐν en, "in" and Θεός Theós, "God") is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond time and space. The term was coined by the German philosopher Karl Krause in 1828 to distinguish the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775–1854) about the relation of God and the universe from the supposed pantheism of Baruch Spinoza. Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical, panentheism maintains an ontological distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.

In panentheism, God is viewed as the soul of the universe, the universal spirit present everywhere, which at the same time "transcends" all things created.

While pantheism asserts that "all is God", panentheism claims that God is greater than the universe. Some versions of panentheism suggest that the universe is nothing more than the manifestation of God. In addition, some forms indicate that the universe is contained within God, like in the Kabbalah concept of tzimtzum. Also much Hindu thought – and consequently Buddhist philosophy – is highly characterized by panentheism and pantheism. The basic tradition however, on which Krause's concept was built, seems to have been Neoplatonic philosophy and its successors in Western philosophy and Orthodox theology.

Process philosophy

Process philosophy — also ontology of becoming, processism, or philosophy of organism — identifies metaphysical reality with change. In opposition to the classical model of change as illusory (as argued by Parmenides) or accidental (as argued by Aristotle), process philosophy regards change as the cornerstone of reality—the cornerstone of being thought of as becoming.

Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, some philosophers have posited true reality as "timeless", based on permanent substances, while processes are denied or subordinated to timeless substances. If Socrates changes, becoming sick, Socrates is still the same (the substance of Socrates being the same), and change (his sickness) only glides over his substance: change is accidental, whereas the substance is essential. Therefore, classic ontology denies any full reality to change, which is conceived as only accidental and not essential. This classical ontology is what made knowledge and a theory of knowledge possible, as it was thought that a science of something in becoming was an impossible feat to achieve.Philosophers who appeal to process rather than substance include Heraclitus, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, Martin Heidegger, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Alfred Korzybski, R. G. Collingwood, Alan Watts, Robert M. Pirsig, Charles Hartshorne, Arran Gare, Nicholas Rescher, Colin Wilson, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze. In physics, Ilya Prigogine distinguishes between the "physics of being" and the "physics of becoming". Process philosophy covers not just scientific intuitions and experiences, but can be used as a conceptual bridge to facilitate discussions among religion, philosophy, and science.Process philosophy is sometimes classified as closer to Continental philosophy than analytic philosophy, because it is usually only taught in Continental departments. However, other sources state that process philosophy should be placed somewhere in the middle between the poles of analytic versus Continental methods in contemporary philosophy.

Process theology

Process theology is a type of theology developed from Alfred North Whitehead's (1861–1947) process philosophy, most notably by Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000) and John B. Cobb (b. 1925). Process theology and process philosophy are collectively referred to as "process thought".

For both Whitehead and Hartshorne, it is an essential attribute of God to affect and be affected by temporal processes, contrary to the forms of theism that hold God to be in all respects non-temporal (eternal), unchanging (immutable), and unaffected by the world (impassible). Process theology does not deny that God is in some respects eternal (will never die), immutable (in the sense that God is unchangingly good), and impassible (in the sense that God's eternal aspect is unaffected by actuality), but it contradicts the classical view by insisting that God is in some respects temporal, mutable, and passible.According to Cobb, "process theology may refer to all forms of theology that emphasize event, occurrence, or becoming over substance. In this sense theology influenced by Hegel is process theology just as much as that influenced by Whitehead. This use of the term calls attention to affinities between these otherwise quite different traditions." Also Pierre Teilhard de Chardin can be included among process theologians, even if they are generally understood as referring to the Whiteheadian/Hartshornean school, where there continue to be ongoing debates within the field on the nature of God, the relationship of God and the world, and immortality.

Robert Allinson

Robert Elliott Allinson (born 1942) is Professor of Philosophy and the former Director of Humanities at Soka University of America (SUA). He was previously a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale with Great Distinction in the Honours Program. He received his M.A. in Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. in Philosophy with Highest Distinction in Metaphysics and Epistemology under his doctoral advisor, Charles Hartshorne, considered 'The Leading Metaphysician of the Twentieth Century' by the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Tulane Studies in Philosophy

Tulane Studies in Philosophy was a peer-reviewed academic journal, formerly published by the philosophy department at Tulane University in New Orleans. The journal published original articles by invited contributors and members of the Tulane philosophy department. Notable contributors included Lewis S. Ford, Charles Hartshorne, John Lachs, Andrew Reck, and Sandra B. Rosenthal. Established in 1952, the journal was published annually until 1987. All volumes are available online from the Philosophy Documentation Center.

Concepts in religion
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