Historical Process Theology: A Field in a Map of Thought

by Willliam Dean

William Deanis Professor of Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota.

The following article appeared in Process Studies, pp. 255-266, Vol. 28, Number 3-4, Fall-Winter, 1999. Process Studies is published quarterly by the Center for Process Studies, 1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


The author discusses an "historical process theology," and compares it to the already well developed and still valuable rationalistic process theology, empirical process theology, and speculative process theology.

Just as Margaret Fuller, at the risk of grandiosity, once decided to "accept the universe," process theologians and philosophers have decided, with the same risk, to "accept history;" When informed of Fuller’s decision, Thomas Carlyle said, "By God! she’d better." Equally but without Carlyle’s dismissive irreverence, process theologians decided that they had better accept history.

From the time they began calling themselves process theologians and process philosophers, process thinkers have accepted history. But now, perhaps in response to a growing consciousness of the plurality and relativity of all things, it appears that some process theologians are building a distinct type of process theology around their acceptance of history. Without making too fine a point of it, I believe something might be gained from discussing what seems to be a "historical process theology," and by placing it alongside the already well developed and still valuable rationalistic process theology, empirical process theology, and speculative process theology.

This is not necessarily a happy addition to the conversation among process thinkers, for historical process thought, followed to its own conclusion, can be disturbing. To accept history is not just to replace that awkward but old acrobatics -- whereby the philosopher or theologian on one hand stands within history and on the other hand stands outside history -- with something more graceful. Admittedly, getting over such dualistic handstands is a victors but it feels victorious only for a moment. This victory of process thinkers begins to look like the victory of the quantum physicists, who accepted history and helped defeat classical physics, but then realized that this was the kind of accomplishment after which "you smile for months and then you weep for years." One reason the quantum physicists and the process thinkers wept, I am arguing, is that thoroughly to accept history is also to adopt a new and unanticipated set of problems.

I. Process Thinkers as New Historicists

The word "history" tends to refer both to the scholarly discipline of describing things by reference to how they come to be and to the actual spatial and temporal process out of which things come to be.

Process thinkers rejected the dualistic use of both types of history, even when advanced by sophisticated historical thinkers who promoted what might be called "the old historicism."’ For the old historicism, scholarship records the craters in the paths of history left by meteors from the world of eternity. Also for the old historicism, actual spatial-temporal events mirror, or sometimes fail exactly to mirror, the eternal ideas and principles of that same world beyond history. The decision to reject the old historicism separated the process thinkers from idealists like Augustine. Hegel, or Ralph Waldo Emerson, from materialists like Democritus, Marx, or E. Q Wilson, and from theological transcendentalists like Luther, Calvin, and Paul Tillich. For process thinkers history, whether as scholarship or as temporal process, did not obediently follow pure ideas, physical laws, or divine directives and principles. History was not, in a word, tame.

Adopting a form of what might be called "the new historicism," the process thinkers found history to be wild, to be a jungle unattended by any gardener, or at least any known gardener. All things move through an essentially unplott world and their route is itself essentially unplotted. Alfred North Whitehead’s "ontological principle" announced that the reasons for things are not ideas, laws, directives, or principles, but concrete things acting either out of the past or in the present (PR 24). This left history at the mercy of things that are unprincipled. Even God is driven by past things or b) God’s own concrete identity rather than by abstract principles acting from outside history.

For the process thinkers, historical changes are regular and anticipated to the extent that they are caused by past things, but abrupt and unanticipated to the extent that they depend on the spontaneous decisions of present things.

Both kinds of change have emotional consequences, and it is these that make the wildness of history disturbing. First, to the extent that causality predominates, the present is responsible for the future, for it has the power to send history off into directions it would not otherwise go. When people realize they have such enormous causal power and when they realize that that power hinges on their own, spontaneous decisions, they suffer from what might be called "the burden of historical responsibility" Second, to the extent that decisions are independent and spontaneous, they are abrupt and, to everyone except the one who is deciding. they are incomprehensible. To the extent that any person truly and independently decides, that person is totally isolated, even from what once was thought to be his or her own soul or essence. Anyone is tempted to emphasize the "abide with me" line of the hymn lines "Abide with me. Fast falls the eventide," but for the free act, in its freedom, nothing abides, nothing alleviates the solitude of the decision-making process. This causes people to suffer from what might be called "the burden of historical solitude." In short, the historical person is, on one hand, terribly responsible and, on the other hand, utterly alone. This intensified responsibility and this intensified solitude are the existential consequences of "accepting history."

Some people work with all this quite cheerfully. They still live contentedly in the first months of smiling They warm their hands at the blaze of wildness and cheerfully call themselves "deconstructionists" and "postmodernists." Others have moved to the years of weeping When invited to go out and experience a history that has no abiding meaning or meaning-maker, they, like Herman Melville’s "Bartleby the Scrivener," would "prefer not to." History feels wild, untamed by anyone who would plot the garden, so that it is the creatures who must invent the plot and who must be responsible for what it yields.

Whether with smiling or weeping, to accept history is to accept more than one’s own history (although it surely is that). It is to accept history itself. It is not just to accept one unplotted set of affairs rather than another unplotted set of affairs, but to accept the fact that affairs are simply not plotted. It is to accept that people are defined by and define others in the course of a discontinuous train of events and decisions, even though they might wish to abide with God’s plan or Plato’s heaven or E. O. Wilson’s grand generic scheme -- with anything that transcends history and then bursts into history to save them.

II. How They Became New Historicists

Many who have come to accept history in this sense trace their conversion, first, to a breakdown of natural structure that began with Charles Darwin, was magnified by quantum physics, and is still unfolding in the philosophies of the sciences; and, second, to a breakdown of cultural structure that began with Friederich Nietzsche in Europe and William James in America, was magnified by the chaos and brutality of twentieth century politics and warfare, and is still unfolding in postmodern studies.

For many process thinkers, the specific cause for the decision to accept history was a dose reading of Alfred North Whitehead, whose American writings can be seen as one elaborate metaphor for his own decision to accept history. After witnessing the collapse of the absolute structures of Newtonian physics between 1880 and 1900, Whitehead is said to have remarked, "I have been fooled once, and I’ll be damned if I’ll be fooled again!"2 Eventually, he let go of the dogma that had dominated Western thought: the belief that events are guided by a sure, rational hand and that scientists and philosophers are capable of reading the print of that hand as it appears in natural and cultural history He acknowledged that all things "perpetually perish" -- where "perish" refers not to the end of all time but to the end of every moment. Victor Lowe, Whitehead’s principal biographer, repeatedly alludes to Whitehead’s gloom and desperation and attributes them, in part, to the loss of Whitehead’s son Eric in World War I. Reading this Whitehead can bring to mind the Matthew Arnold of "Dover Beach," who saw the process. "the turn-bid ebb and flow/Of human misery" and knew:

... we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Whitehead and the process thinkers continue to be important and interesting primarily because, like almost no other philosophers and theologians since the ancient Hebrews, they not only accept history, but emphasize it. Contrary to Wordsworth, they do not believe they "come trailing clouds of glory."3 Rather, our private selves are invaded by the vicissitudes of public history and we do in fact "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Yes, we can "take arms against a sea of troubles," but not without its first taking arms against us.4

The process thinkers have been widely vindicated. The natural sciences explain events in terms of their historical pasta and, now also, in terms of their present choices. To the quantum physicists, individual choices are so impenetrable that they are called arbitrary, accidental, random. To biologists, particular mutations are unpredictable. In the humanities, postmodern philosophers and literary theorists tend to deny that decisions about meaning are guided by a trans-historical reason or by any objective truth and assert that our interpretations of the world partially re-constitute the world they interpret. Even philosophers of science find themselves catching up to the process thinkers when they acknowledge that the natural sciences and perhaps even nature’s laws are built through historical relations and decisions.

Are not the process thinkers, then, well attuned to their times and well poised to define what is good in the present moment of history and to convince the postmodern public of their definition? The first answer is that they are and that they have done so, What liberal theology in the past thirty-five years has been more publicly persuasive? But when compared to the religious and political right’s success in defining what is good and in convincing the public of its truth, process and every other academic theology and philosophy pale by comparison. It is as though Richard John Neuhaus and Michael Novack or, more frighteningly, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robinson have assumed the venerable mantles of Walter Rauschenbusch, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Paul Tillich.

III. The Need for Historical Process Thought

As a whole, process thinkers will fare better in this contest of pubic persuasion if some of their members emphasize history, especially particular histories. This follows from the recognition that what is socially good is actually "a good" for a particular people in a particular historical location, rather than "the good" for all people at all times. But to determine the good for a particular people, a process thinker must know their history. Even though studying particular people is quite appropriate to process thought, it is not something process thinkers as a group are famous for, Such study has been initiated by several process thinkers -- I think immediately of John Cobb, Douglas Sturm, and George Pixley. But in an effort to urge more of this study, I am calling for a field of concentration within the map of process thought and naming it "historical process thought." Its mission is to focus on particular histories, their characteristics, and the common good germane to those histories. It is to study what Bernard Meland called the "structure of experience,"5 but, more importantly, to move clearly beyond method and actually to define that structure as it is found in a particular society This focus can distinguish historical process thought from speculative, rationalistic, and empirical forms of process thought without detracting from those important approaches.6

The more speculative and more rationalistic process thinkers are not primarily historical process thinkers because they are not primarily interested in getting close to a particular historical circumstance, even though they do seek truths that are historically applicable and adequate and do reject truths that transcend history in the manner of the old historicism. While they amplify understandings of the structures of becoming that seem to be exemplified everywhere in history, and while they build general arguments based on those structures, they cannot be said to be primarily interested in examining any particular historical society This is not to deny that, say, Whitehead or Charles Hartshorne made pungent and perceptive commentaries on the histories in which they lived -- for they did. Whitehead’s commentaries on the development of the sciences or his observations in Lucien Price’s Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead and Hartshorne’s discussions of the history of philosophy and of urgent moral problems are, in their various ways, fine accounts of particular historical developments. Nevertheless, they and their more speculatively and rationalistically inclined successors are not known for their efforts to isolate the common historical character of any particular society, especially as it differs from other societies, nor for their efforts to name, criticize, and reconstruct its own common good.

To complicate matters, there are fans of rationalistic and speculative forms of process thought who dwell on how process metaphysics, including God, transcend any particular history, reading Whitehead and Hartshorne as though they were old historicists, like Paul Tillich. For some of them, this version of process thought may be a hedge against the wildness of a particular history To object to this extension of process thought is not to object to the speculative or rationalistic process from which it arises, but it does make the less ambitious historical process theology all the more timely.

Process historical thinkers should be distinguished not only from speculative and rationalistic process thinkers, but also from empirical process thinkers, who with their empiricism already focus on history. The empirical methods of Bernard Meland and Bernard Loomer, for example, led them occasionally to examine local experience and to write on particular developments. However, although theirs and other more recent empiricist writings remain vital and needed, they have not offered any sustained description of any particular history, let alone its common culture and its common good, as historical process thought would.

The distinction between historical process thinkers and empirical process thinkers is delicate but clear One way to understand it is to emphasize the similarity between the empiricism of the empirical process thinkers and the empiricism of most natural scientists. It is easy for both sorts of empiricists to believe that, because one bases conclusions on experience, one automatically avoids leaving the world of experience and is entitled to criticize those who do. Edward O. Wilson, for example, lives under this illusion in his recent article, "The Biological Basis of Morality" (BBM 53-70). He first looks at the transcendentalism of theologians and philosophers and then condescendingly suggests that "perhaps we need to take empiricism more seriously." But he soon claims that empiricism yields "objective knowledge," and discovers "the biological roots of moral behavior" (BBM 54). For Wilson these roots and some of this knowledge are themselves guided by what he believes are the universal and eternal principles of Darwinian evolutionary theory Wilson never acknowledges that, by relying on that theory and by generalizing it, he subscribes to principles that transcend particular histories just as surely as do the ideas of the theological and philosophical transcendentalists. But while Wilson can be faulted for being blind to his own transcendentalism, he cannot be faulted for being blind to his empiricism. In fact, he is a typical empiricist when he examines particular situations in order to get beyond particular situations, to find those universal principles that apply to all situations. In their desire to examine the particular for what it says about what is universal, empirical process thinkers resemble natural scientists like Wilson. But unlike them all, process historical thinkers turn to particular situations primarily to examine them for their particularity, not to open them up to generalities beyond their particularity.7 So, although the process historical thinkers are empiricists. they are atypical empiricists who focus on particularities in all their exceptionality, unrepeatability, and irreversibility -- that is, on their historicity.

The difference between process historical thinkers and most other empiricists may be analogous to the difference between Neils Bohr and Albert Einstein: while both are empiricists, Bohr sees physical change as a function of unrepeatable quantum events, while Einstein sees change as a function of enduring relativity principles. Einstein’s world is regular enough to be run backwards; Bohr’s is not. Bohr looks at unrepeatable accidents, random events, and decisions in all their exceptionality, unrepeatability, and irreversibility. It is this Bohr-like focus on the exceptional that distinguishes historical process thinkers.

Further and with regard to emotion rather than theory, there is reason to wonder whether the empirical approach, even when it gives sustained attention to particular histories, has provided a definition of a common culture that is socially persuasive. Valiantly, the empirical process thinkers accepted history and its wildness, but they did little to show people how to live with the resultant responsibility and solitude. If, as William James said, all religions are about an uneasiness and its solution, then for empirical theologians to accept history and just to leave people with that acceptance, as sometimes they did, may show people what they should be uneasy about but gives them no solution (VRE 400). It is as though empirical theologians accepted Whitehead’s claim that, apart from the consolations of religion, life seems to be "a flash of occasional enjoyments lighting up a mass of pain and misery, a bagatelle of transient experience" (SMW 192). But it is also as though the empirical theologians seldom got around to describing the consolations of religion. They emphasized historical continuity enough to make people painfully responsible for the future and too little to allow anyone’s achievements any lasting value. They left people with the logic of the Lincoln of The Second Inaugural: responsible enough to feel that "every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword." But they also left people with the forebodings of the Lincoln of the Gettysburg Address: knowing that "the world will little note nor long remember what we say here." It would be no surprise if empirical process theologians and their readers were about as depressed as Lincoln sometimes was.

Of course, the empirical thinkers’ current lack of existential appeal does not automatically make the historical process thinker’s definition of a culture any more persuasive or religiously consoling than the empiricists.’

IV. Toward a Public Philosophy and Public Theology

John Dewey, that major process philosopher most neglected in the annals of process thought, is not only a model for process historical thinkers, but he contends that his historicism can provide a measure of religious consolation. Dewey noted that any adequate understanding of one’s history must refer to more than one’s particular historical problems and include "a sense of the whole" of history, and he called that sense of the whole the specific contribution of "the religious" to a person’s functioning. He was not asking for "the whole" that transcends either history or the historical observer. Rather, Dewey’s point was that any sense of the whole is a view of all natural and social history from a particular historical location at a particular time, and is admittedly relative to particular observers in a particular history. The function of a claim about the totality was not, as it was for Wilson, to provide "objective knowledge" and to serve as a basis for what Wilson called an "enduring ethical consensus" (BBM 54). Rather, the capacity to sense the whole was to enable a society to recognize the limits of its standard estimate of the whole, and to acquire an estimate of the whole that will enable it to flourish.

Of course, Dewey proposed a universal method (sometimes calling it "the method of intelligence") and made cosmological assumptions that aggravate Richard Rorty (but that differ from Rorty’s only in being more explicit than Rorty’s own).8 But these are only ancillary to Dewey’s central task, which was to use thought to promote adjustment between organisms and their history. Knowledge for Dewey is not about acquiring a vision of the whole that corresponds to the world as it essentially is or as it is everywhere and everywhen. Rather, it is about strategies for survival here and now, leaving alone questions of survival over there or later on. He was interested in an unrepeatable historical decision for an unrepeatable historical society. And when he was speaking religiously, he was interested in a decision that sets forth "the universe" for that time and place and for persons living in that rime and place, and that is so comprehensive it offers a context for all narrower decisions. That universe is admittedly different from other universes in other societies and it will soon die even in the society for which it is intended.

In addition, "the whole" for any society, carries with it the best historical estimate of that society’s common good, for the common good is just that set of practices that contributes to the society’s implementation of its best vision of the whole and, in effect, of its success.

This perhaps odd account of Dewey can be understood through a more specific account of what the sense of the whole meant for him. One way to get at that is through a description of what Bernard Loomer meant by "stature." Loomer advanced the idea of stature in the late ‘70s, near the end of his life, partly in an effort to answer the spiritual emptiness of the idea of process per se, which, by itself was for him just another abstraction, often improperly worshipped. Stature was a person’s capacity to hold together, within his or her interior life, ideas and affections contrasting so widely that, if they were any wider, they would destroy that person’s unity as a person. Loomer was impressed by the strength of character required to take within oneself fundamental contradictions, particularly contradictions to all that one cherishes. For him, to do this was to live, and to live in the most strenuous and rewarding way. It was to acquire the grounds for creativity and to experience God, because God was whatever it is in the world that encourages one to absorb and reconcile the most destructive contrasts, to embrace the enemy, to bring the enemy within oneself. To do this was not to leave history and its wildness, but to envision and to take into oneself the whole, including its wildness. Further, stature was for Loomer an aesthetic reality and was rewarding enough to let one face the difficulty of living through a wild history. It was rich and rewarding enough to counterbalance, without denying, the pain of historical responsibility and historical solitude. Given its rootage in a sense of the whole, it provided even a measure of religious consolation.

But Loomer’s approach emphasized the existential. In his own appealing way, he reveled in the person with great stature, not the community with great stature.

Over forty years earlier John Dewey had reveled, instead, in what Loomer neglected. For Dewey, "the Great Community" was, we might say, the community with stature. It was a society able to feel its own interior life, to appreciate its enormous and apparently irreconcilable internal differences, even its spiritual differences, and to harmonize those differences without diminishing their the Ideas or symbols that could provide such harmony were visions of whole, comprehensive enough to digest a society’s differences in worldview, and to begin to move those different worldviews toward a common vision.

Today Dewey’s project still seems strange, almost incomprehensible -- just as it must have in 1934, when he wrote both A Common Faith and Art as Experience. He argued that a society is able to treasure, absorb, and reconcile its internal contradictions by harmonizing their elements. This harmonization begins when intellectual leaders – "public intellectuals," we would say today -- imaginatively project a set of ideals to which diverse groups of a society can resonate. These ideals are pragmatically tested for their capacity actually to reconcile these diverse groups. When they fail, the ideals are revised and re-tested, thus participating in the revisionary process of a self-revising society. While the imaginative projection of ideals is not necessarily an accurate vision of the common culture, it can be the first step in a process that generates the envisagement and the realization of a common culture rooted in a common sense of the whole.

It is important to remember that, for Dewey, these ideals are not simply generalizations about a society. They are also imaginative and sensate experiences of "the whole," the universe, and they work to reconcile a society because they catch up the most important diversities within a society. They address and attempt to reconcile the worldviews on which members of a society base all else. And they attempt to reconcile those worldviews by connecting them to a sense of the universe from a particular historical place. While these reconciling ideals constitute a public philosophy that works towards envisioning a common culture, they also constitute a public theology because they base that vision of a common culture on a shared sense of the whole that, for Dewey, is religious in character,

To a society sold on the primacy of individual rights law and on laissez faire economics, the effort to philosophize about a common culture, let alone to develop a public theology, can seem not only strange but vaguely offensive. Most educators, particularly university professors, stand shoulder to shoulder with conservative libertarians in denying their own dependence on a common culture. Equally, the politicians of ethnicity find no reason to reconcile the ethnic good with the common good, especially in this era that holds diversity in such high regard.

Others can be put off by Dewey’s idea of a shared public vision because it seems impossible to define. How would a community discover or create within itself that history-based estimate of ideals broad enough to bring autonomous individuals and diverse groups together into a new harmony? Assuming that a society has behind it a philosophic, naturalistic, or religious heritage of comprehensive ideals, how would these be appreciated? Assuming that this heritage is tending toward obsolescence, how could it be imaginatively revised? What quality of imagination would this require and how is it related to reverence for the past and to spiritual insight?

In The Public and its Problems. Dewey suggests that intellectual leaders are needed for all this, but that they are virtually nonexistent. In Art as Experience Dewey proposes that artists should help accomplish this for a society. But where, in an inward-looking and professionalized art world, can they be found? In A Common Faith Dewey suggests that organized religion once provided a useful sense of the whole, but that now it has abandoned that task and, instead, attempts to fob off on newly emergent societies the basically irrelevant sense of the whole generated by an earlier society in a different history If this last judgment is harsh, it was harsh because "the religious" was so important to Dewey and because he still hoped for a religiousness capable of setting forth a functional sense of the whole.

But how, specifically, a sense of the whole would be developed, Dewey does not say. What kind of religious institution could accomplish this? Can today’s artists, church leaders, or educators re-direct themselves toward this task? Can public intellectuals discern, invent, and persuasively present a vision of the people as a public, a public broad enough to include its smaller and highly diverse sub-publics in all their diversity (PP 26-27,42,188)? Can artists experience and express an underlying and harmonizing common quality underlying the dissonant qualities of the society (AE 192-193)? But, most of all, can theologians and philosophers sense and express what Dewey called "that mysterious totality of being the imagination calls the universe" (CF 85)? All these, particularly the last, would give a life-sustaining bond to any society being torn apart by the increasing divergence of its most comprehensive beliefs and commitments. With the common faith that this is possible, a people would be more able to develop a spiritual culture that both sympathetically comprehended the diverse spiritual cultures within itself and also offered a vision of what they share -- thus providing the seedbed for the generation of common purposes.

In all this, Dewey does outline a way to generate a historical response to the wildness of history. To stop at the abrupt particulars, he thought, to treat particular persons or particular groups as though they could exist apart from community, let alone mean anything, was "the mad, the insane thing to do" (AE 194). To deny the burdens of historical responsibility and of historical solitude, would be historically blind. But to be sensitive to the aesthetic satisfaction of participating in the community’s public life, even its common spiritual culture, was for Dewey an objective worth pursuing.

But for this to happen, people, some people at least, must learn literally to sense the whole from a particular community’s location, and to see that sensibility as revising a chain of sensibilities that, together, form the history of a spiritual culture. Dewey only alludes to the spiritual culture and he only hints at how it might be, as he said, emotionally intuited or creatively reconstructed. Could Bernard Meland’s notion of "the structure of experience" (that vague totality that unites a community) show the way to sense and lift up a spiritual culture? Can churches, universities, and voluntary associations become places where the identity of the common and public spiritual culture will be comprehended? These institutions might not seem like particularly promising venues for such operations, but where else in, for example, America might this be accomplished? Also, have not churches already proven their ability to recognize religious traditions and to sense within their own walls a spiritual culture, an aggregation that is a congregation? Could not such practices be built upon?

To sense the spiritual culture is a high calling, for it prepares people to sense the sacred -- or God, if you prefer -- as it is manifest in present history in the form of a great living tradition or heritage of ideals that once prompted and still prompts a sense of the universe. The sacred is, Dewey said, a resource that is not "of ourselves," but that is capable of "arousing us to desire and actions" (CF 87,42). The sacred, so understood, is living and is entirely real, as William James said, because it has real effects on the culture (VRE 406). Equally and conversely, the religious community is most real, the process theologians have indicated, when it has real effects on the sacred.

But for any of this to occur, some public intellectuals -- academic or non-academic -- must learn to work historically, to become experts in identifying a country’s or a community’s historic spiritual culture. They may need to discover and to re-tell a unifying story of the country Of course, this runs against the academic grain, which nurtures what it believes to be a healthy contempt for the nation (let alone its historic spiritual culture) and a self-protecting indifference to the local community In America, where unbalanced individuality and unbalanced diversity seem sacred, the wildness of history is blowing at cyclone force, and the ability to cope with it seems to be a dying art. The satisfactions to be derived from participating in a common spiritual culture now seem quaint.

And yet, Dewey overcame his own depression about the wildness of history in the depths of the Great Depression. And Whitehead began his own philosophical war with the wildness of history at the end of The Great War. And there is reason to believe that historical process thinkers can contribute also, not to denying the wildness of history, but to appreciating it and then marshalling it in the service of the local common good.



1. See my "The Challenge of the New Historicism," The Journal of Religion 66(1966).

2. Lucien Price, Dialogues, of Alfred North Whitehead (New York: Mentor Books, 1956), 277.

3. William Wordsworth, "Intimations of Immortality."

4. Hamlet Act III, Scene 1.

5. Bernard Meland, Faith and Culture New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), Chapter 6.

6. These two types of process theology, along with the term "empirical process theology," are discussed in my "Empirical Theology, A Revisable Tradition," Process Studies 19 (1990).

7. Of course, all process thinkers, including historical process thinkers, including historical process thinkers, inevitably assume a general cosmology, even if they choose not to focus on it and to keep it always tentative.

8. Richard Rorty, "Dewey’s Metaphysics," Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1982).



AE John Dewey, Art as Experience. New York: Capricorn Books, 1958.

BBM Edward O. Wilson, ‘The Biological Basis of Morality," The Atlantic Monthly (April 1998).

CF John Dewey, A Common Faith. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934.

PP John Dewey, The Public and its Problems. Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1954.

VRE William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985.