Transforming Process Theism

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SUNY Press, May 26, 2000 - Philosophy - 380 pages
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Process theism, in a variety of manifestations and modifications stemming from Whitehead's original suggestions, dominates discussions of philosophical and natural theology in Europe and America. In Transforming Process Theism Ford argues that subsequent modifications of Whitehead's original line of thought mask a fundamental and unresolved aporia in that original proposal: since only past or "objectified" determinate events can influence present experiences and since God, as conceived by Whitehead, is never fully determinate or objectifiable as a "past event," it is difficult to see how this divine persuasive power can have any influence on the present as a source of creativity and genuinely new possibilities for enactment.

Ford meticulously reconstructs and evaluates Whitehead's own versions of theism, and he critically appraises the most influential subsequent modifications of these unrecognized variants by other process thinkers. He recovers the original trajectory of Whitehead's continuous revision of his conception of God, and forges an appropriate solution to this central aporia. He concludes that--consistent with Whitehead's overarching metaphysical principles, there is another kind of causal influence that does not require objectification, and is the opposite of past determinateness. The future, conceived as active, offers an account of subjectivity which is both universal and transcendent. God, according to Ford's revisions, must be understood as this particular but indefinite creativity or universal activity of the future, bestowing subjectivity on each present occasion of experience without ever becoming determinate.

 

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Contents

The Intelligibility of Future Activity
1
2 Ways in Which God Is Future
3
3 Ways in Which God Is Not Future
4
1 Divine Persuasion Replaces Classical Omnipotence
5
2 God Need Not Be Conceived as Creator Ex Nihilo
7
3 Becoming Is Primary Being Is Derivative
8
III Toward a New Conception of the Future
9
1 Modes of Actuality
10
The Power of the Past
181
II Hartshorne and the Objectification of God
187
1 The Principle of Prehension
190
Objection 1 Divine Occasions Are Exceptions to the Metaphysical Principles
191
Objection 2 Alternation and Asynchronicity
192
Objection 3 Divine Occasions Are Not Persuasive
193
Objection 4 Divine Occasions Limit Creaturely Freedom
194
Objection 5 It Undercuts Nontemporal Subjectivity
197

2 The Future as Actually Indeterminate
11
3 The Future as the Source of Creativity
12
4 The Future as the Source of Aim
13
5 The Nature of the Future as Actual
14
The Principle of Limitation
21
Criticisms
27
Types of Limitation
38
Deconstructing Theism
41
God as Temporal and Concrescent
46
God as Nontemporal and Concrescent
49
IV The Early Concept
57
Reconstructing Nontemporal Theism
59
I A COMPARISON OF CONCEPTS
60
3 The Middle Concept
65
II Possible Solutions to the Riddle
68
2 The Role of Religion
72
3 Temporalist Implications
74
III A Possible External Influence
78
2 Whiteheads Reaction
80
IV The Initial Concept of God
81
1 Actual Entity
82
2 Transcendence
83
3 SelfCausation
84
4 Instance of Creativity
85
V The 1926 Metaphysical Principles
86
1 The Principle of Solidarity
87
3 The Principle of Efficient Causation
88
VI The 1927 Metaphysical Principles
89
VII The Middle Concept of God
90
1 Preconditions for the Middle Concept
93
2 Precipitating Factors
96
Reconstructing Process Theism
103
1 Exemplifying the Metaphysical Principles
104
2 Nontemporal Subjectivity
106
II Precipitating Factors
114
2 The Locus of Integration
117
3 Is Consciousness the Reason for Process Theism?
120
4 Is Everlastingness the Reason for Process Theism?
122
5 What about the Provision of Subjective Aim?
124
6 The Intensification of Process
125
III Whiteheads Problematic Legacy
130
1 How God Affects the World
131
2 The Fourth Phase
132
3 Apparent Responsiveness and Nontemporal Valuation
134
4 Later Writings
138
The Divine Power in the Present
147
II Marjorie Suchoki
156
III Palmyre Oomen
167
IV Jorge Nobo
168
V Elizabeth M Kraus
171
VI Lewis S Ford
173
Objection 7 How Can the Initial Aims Be Selected?
198
Objection 8 Eternal Objects Become Everlasting
199
4 The Objection from Relativity Physics
200
Process Nontemporality
207
II Uncreated Eternal Objects
210
III The Metaphysical Principles
216
IV Nontemporal Decision and Determination
219
The Power of the Future
233
1 God and Creativity
234
2 God and Being
235
3 God and Eternity
237
5 God As Becoming
238
II The Identification of God with Future Creativity
240
2 Divine Responsiveness
241
3 Perfect Power
242
4 God as Empty
243
III The Infusion of Creativity
245
1 Modes of Actuality
247
2 Prehension and the Infusion of Creativity
251
3 Aim
255
4 The Interdependence of Creativity and Aim
259
Persistence and the Extensive Continuum
265
1 Diremption
266
2 Emergence of Persistence
267
3 Atrophy
269
4 Inclusive Occasions
273
5 Physical Perception and Prehension
278
6 Future Physical Perception
283
7 Divine Consciousness
285
II The Extensive Continuum
286
1 The Ontological Status of the Extensive Continuum
287
2 The Extensive Continuum and Societies
289
3 Relativity Physics
291
4 In Unison of Becoming
292
5 The Locus of all Locations
293
6 Locus and Passage
296
7 Divine Privacy and Publicity
298
Creativity and Contingency
301
2 Eschatological Actuality
303
II Contingency
306
2 Rationalist and Empiricist Process Theology
310
3 Uniqueness and Primacy
314
4 Divine Satisfaction
319
III Concluding Objections
320
Objection 2 Is My Claim That Creativity Is Derived from God Too Much Biased in the Direction of Western Monotheism?
321
Objection 3 Isnt It Blasphemous to Suppose That Our Own Subjectivity Is Simply a Continuation of Gods? Isnt This Simply a Kind of Temporalistic ...
322
Objection 4 Does Not the Ontotheological Stricture Exclude the Possibility of God as Future Creativity?
324
Notes
327
Index
371
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About the author (2000)

Lewis S. Ford is Louis I. Jaffe Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Old Dominion University. He is the author of The Emergence of Whitehead's Metaphysics, 1925-1929, also published by SUNY Press, The Lure of God: A Biblical Background for Process Theism, and he is coeditor (with George L. Kline) of Explorations in Whitehead's Philosophy. From 1971-1996, he was the editor of the scholarly quarterly, Process Studies.

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