Philosophy After Hartshorne

by Donald Wayne Viney

Donald Wayne Viney is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Social Science Department at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS 66762. He is the author of Charles Hartshorne and the Existence of God (SUNY Press, 1985).

The following article appeared in Process Studies, pp. 211-236, Vol. 30, Number 2, Fall- Winter, 2001. 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 gives references to many tributes paid to Hartshorne: The theistic metaphysics of Hartshorne along with Whitehead is one of the great intellectual contributions of the twentieth century.

The assessment of a philosopher’s importance by his or her contemporaries is a risky business, for future generations have a way of unmaking the judgments of their predecessors.1 Yet, by standard measures, Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000) was one of the premiere philosophers of the twentieth century. At the celebration of Hartshorne’s centenary, George R. Lucas, Jr. reported that Hartshorne is cited in The Philosopher’s Index at "rates characteristic of Wittgenstein, Whitehead, Heidegger, Sartre, and other acknowledged giants of the century" (86). Lucas also noted that Hartshorne was an intrepid defender of the claims of metaphysics in a century noted for its anti-metaphysical genius. While many influential voices were explaining what speculative philosophy cannot accomplish or even proclaiming an end to it, Hartshorne was trying to show what it can and has accomplished. To paraphrase Lucas, Hartshorne’s was a redoubtable metaphysic, in tune with the times in terms of its attention to logic, language, and science, and Hartshorne himself was a philosopher capable of standing toe to toe with the likes of Lazerowitz, Wisdom, Ryle, Russell, Ayer, Catnap, Von Wright, and Quine, and of earning their respect, if not always their assent (93).

The dedication of the twentieth volume of the Library of Living Philosophers (LLP) to Hartshorne’s philosophy is itself a sign of his importance. The book demonstrates the range of Hartshorne’s interests and competence, which included aspects of psychology (sensation) and ornithology (oscines) -- his first (Philosophy and Psychology of Sensation) and twelfth books (Born to Sing) were devoted to these subjects. He was known as a theologian but he presupposed no sectarian point of departure. His dialogue with non-Western traditions -- Buddhism and Hinduism in the LLP volume -- set him apart from narrowly focused theological perspectives. In keeping with this cosmopolitanism, Hartshorne’s attitude was a refreshing combination of respect for and obliviousness to disciplinary boundaries. He traveled abroad often, relied on authorities in fields outside his expertise, and actively sought out and invited the criticisms of those of whom he was most critical. He believed, and acted as if he believed, that progress in philosophy is possible, if only philosophers honestly face each other’s arguments and not simply try to defend their own "castle of ideas" (Auxier and Davies 62).

Hartshorne called longevity his "secret weapon" and he was quick to cite good luck as a factor in his success ("Some Not Ungrateful" 123). In one of the articles published here he agrees with Karl Popper that, "worldly fame or success is mostly a matter of luck. Those who deny this are probably much luckier than they know" ("Darwin and Some Philosophers," endnote 14). To long life and good fortune, however, must be added a staggering vitality and productivity. It is doubtful that any philosopher has written so much for so long -- twenty books, over four hundred articles and reviews, and a voluminous correspondence, written over a period of eighty-four years.2 In his eighth and ninth decades he published dozens of articles, reviews, forewords, and seven major books. In addition, he contributed to four books devoted exclusively to his thought, giving detailed replies to sixty-two essays by fifty-six scholars (Cobb and Gamwell; Kane and Phillips; Sia; and Hahn). His responses fill approximately one fourth of the pages in these books. Also of note is that late in his nineties, he gave editorial advice on the first published volume of his correspondence (Auxier and Davies 3).

The journal Process Studies, founded in 1971, can be traced to Hartshorne’s influence and it is only fitting that it now devotes a special focus issue to his work. This also seems an appropriate place to take stock of Hartshorne’s influence in philosophy. His longevity and life-long productivity gave the philosophical community time to begin to estimate his contributions, even during his lifetime (e.g., Reck; Peters; Lucas). My focus here is primarily descriptive: to indicate the arenas of Hartshorne’s greatest influence and the reasons for it. In Hartshorne’s case, the number of philosophically interesting ideas exceeds the ideas that have, thus far, been widely influential.3 One learns from Hartshorne that a thinker’s greatest ideas are not necessarily the ideas that have the greatest influence. He was fond of arguing that what passes as Platonism is not the best of Plato (Insights, chapter 3). With this in mind, I conclude this introduction with a discussion of an aspect of Hartshorne’s philosophy that has so far received slight notice: the question of God and evolution. Hartshorne’s is a voice of moderation in the noisy extremes that presently dominate this controversy. The paper published here on Darwin will also help draw attention to this dimension of Hartshorne’s thought -- as Platonism is not the best of Plato, so Darwinism may not be the best of Darwin.

Peirce, Whitehead and the History of Philosophy

One of Hartshorne’s greatest legacies was to highlight the importance of the works of other philosophers. In 1925 he was assigned the task of editing the mostly unpublished philosophical papers of Charles Sanders Peirce (donated to Harvard by Peirce’s widow in 1914 at the urging of Josiah Royce). Paul Weiss later joined the project. Together, Hartshorne and Weiss edited the first six volumes of the Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, published between 1931 and 1935. For the first time, philosophers had available to them a substantial selection of Peirce’s writings, making them aware of the "range and depth of Peirce’s work" (Peirce, xi). As John Smith says, although the study of Peirce In our day "approaches the magnitude of an industry, it was not always so (Preface to Freeman, 9).4 The most visible evidence of Smith’s observation is the massive effort of the Peirce Edition Project, involving a team of internationally recognized advisors and scholars, to produce a chronological edition of Peirce’s philosophical writings. This edition -- at this writing, in its sixth of a projected thirty volumes -- will supersede the Hartshorne-Weiss edition. Nevertheless, Hartshorne and Weiss must be credited for their part in drawing attention to the works of one who is now commonly referred to as the greatest philosopher America has produced.

Hartshorne also helped to promote Whitehead’s reputation. Never Whitehead’s student in the technical sense, he graded papers for him, attended his lectures, and began an in-depth study of his writings about the same time as he was working on the Peirce papers. Hartshorne’s notes from Whitehead’s lectures of 1925-26, published here and edited by Roland Faber, are the earliest testimony of his serious interest in Whitehead. He is universally recognized as having a pre-eminent place alongside the first-generation interpreters of Whitehead like Dorothy Em met, A. H. Johnson, Ivor Leclerc, William Christian, and Victor Lowe. Woodbridge’s 1977 primary-secondary Whitehead bibliography lists 76 items by Hartshorne, more than twice as many as any of those just named (and only nine less than their combined total); the index has 145 listings for "Hartshorne" compared to a combined total of 53 for the five other scholars. The point is not that more is better; rather, the numbers reflect the consensus among Whitehead scholars about Hartshorne’s place among them. The magnitude of Hartshorne’s influence has led some to try to wrest Whitehead from a too Hartshornean interpretation. Be that as it may Hartshorne can be thanked for presenting Whitehead in largely non-technical terms and for not allowing Whitehead’s writings to become the exclusive occupation of scholarly exegetes.

Hartshorne believed that Peirce and Whitehead were not widely enough appreciated in philosophy and that occasionally they were not appreciated for their best insights; for these reasons he was often their champion. More than this, he was sensitive to the fact that the writing of philosophy’s history can be at once technically competent and narrow He praised the "philosophical greatness achieved in American philosophy, from Peirce to Santayana, but he complained of the cultural chauvinism in failing to recognize it.5 According to Hartshorne, "One might about as easily reach great heights in philosophy without benefit of the work done in modern America as to reach them in physics without using the work of modern Germans" (Creativity 11). On the other hand, Hartshorne’s approach to the history of philosophy was less a history of traditions and persons than a history of ideas. He believed that in too many histories of philosophy, "Minor points by great philosophers are dealt with, often with loving care, but major points by minor philosophers are missed" (Creative 86). Hartshorne’s attitude is well illustrated in Philosopher’s Speak of God. A unique feature of the book is the inclusion of philosophers, both well-known and obscure, from both Eastern and Western traditions. Alongside the writings by Plato, Aristotle, Thomas, Hume, and Kant, are selections from Ikhnaton, Buddhism, Ramanuja, Iqbal, and Lequyer.6

Hartshorne’s approach to philosophy was rarely if ever parochial, a characteristic no doubt encouraged by his many trips abroad. He appreciated the relevance of literature and science for philosophy. I noted above his work in psychology and ornithology, but it is also worth remembering that he minored in English Literature at Harvard. Three of the papers published here, on Troland, on Aquinas and the three poets, and on Darwin clearly illustrate this breath of interest. This is not to say that Hartshorne had no blind spots. A reader’s report of his Insights and Oversights rejected the manuscript in part because detailed exegesis of philosophical texts is missing. Nor is there a lack of published complaints about Hartshorne misrepresenting this thinker -- e.g., Thomas (Burrell 78f) -- or undervaluing that thinker -- e.g., Hegel (Smith 501-02). Hartshorne can be defended against these charges (cf. Devenish; Shields, "David B. Burrell") and he could himself concede some truth in them (cf. Hahn 709). Suffice it to say that exposition and textual analysis are not his strength. On the other hand, Hartshorne can be counted on to highlight unappreciated ideas of great thinkers and great ideas of unappreciated thinkers.

The Ontological Argument and the Case for Theism

Hartshorne’s most widely known -- I do not say best known -- work may be his rehabilitation of the ontological argument for God’s existence, long considered a subtly ingenious but fallacious piece of reasoning. It is now a commonplace that he probably wrote more on the ontological argument than any other philosopher -- a book, a substantial part of two others, and about twenty articles, replies, reviews, and forewords. Although it is safe to say that most philosophers reject the argument, few are now satisfied with parroting Gaunilo or Kant and critical treatments of the argument acknowledge Hartshorne’s contributions.

Hartshorne accomplishes principally three things in his discussions of the argument. First, he shows that one may discern two versions of the argument in Anselm and Descartes, one of which is more properly a modal argument, not obviously vulnerable to textbook refutations. Hartshorne makes this point explicitly in Philosophers Speak of God (96f.), seven years prior to Norman Malcolm’s "Anselm’s Ontological Arguments" which evoked more than a dozen replies within the first two years of its publication (Hick and McGill 367-68). Second, beginning with his dissertation in 1923, Hartshorne defended and refined his presentation of the argument (Viney, Charles 45-57). He was the first to publish a formalized version of the argument, using the calculus of modal logic ("Logic of the Ontological Argument" 471; Logic of Perfection 50-51). In this he set the precedent for standards of rigor in future discussions.

The third Hartshornean contribution to understanding the ontological proof has more far-reaching implications, for it concerns the interpretation of the modal operators used in the argument. Hartshorne followed Peirce in thinking of time as objective modality: necessity is what is true of all times, impossibility is what is true of no times, and contingent possibility is what is true of some times but not others. In Hartshorne’s view, there is no such thing as a merely possible world, but only possible world states. Thus, Hartshorne’s semantics for the modal operators in the ontological argument is constructed along the lines of a de re modality of temporal becoming rather than a de dicto modality of sets of consistent sentences -- Goodwin (1978) is admirably clear on this point in his book. Hartshorne challenges the critics of the argument to construct a more plausible semantics that will work not only for a criticism of Anselm’s reasoning, but also for ordinary purposes of understanding possibility (Man’s 301).7

Despite his fondness for the ontological argument, Hartshorne never put the burden of the theistic case on this piece of reasoning alone. Throughout his career he employed a multiple argument strategy which, following Basil Mitchell, philosophers commonly refer to as a cumulative case. Hartshorne’s cumulative case is called "the global argument" (Creative chapter XIV). He argues that it is unreasonable to expect theism to stand or fall with a single argument. Arguments in philosophical theology, analogous to arguments in history, science, law, or mathematics, can be mutually reinforcing, the weaknesses of some being compensated for by the strength of others. In Hartshorne’s opinion, the weakest premise of the ontological argument is the proposition, "It is not the case that the existence of God is impossible." Hartshorne uses versions of the cosmological, design, epistemic, moral, and aesthetic arguments to buttress this claim. The other arguments depend on the ontological in the sense that the God to whose existence they conclude cannot be conceived to exist with the possibility of not existing. It is this claim that separates the global argument from the cumulative cases of others (whether theists like F R. Tennant and Swinburne or atheists like J. L. Mackie and Michael Martin) who understand the affirmation or the denial of the existence of God as a logically contingent proposition. The non-contingency of propositions pertaining to divine existence is what Hartshorne called Anselm’s discovery or Anselm’s principle.

According to Hartshorne, it is a mistake, given Anselm’s principle, to weigh empirical probabilities for or against the existence of God. The principle entails that if God exists, God’s existence is not conceivably falsifiable, but if God does not exist, God’s existence is not conceivably verifiable. Hartshorne also avoids a strictly deductive format (although he need not have). He presents each element of the global argument as a mutually exclusive but logically exhaustive set of options. For example, the design argument looks like this:

A1 There is no cosmic order.

A2 There is cosmic order but no cosmic ordering power.

A3 There is cosmic order and ordering power, but the power is not divine.

T There is cosmic order and divine power (Creative 281).

The argument is filled out by trying to show that the theistic option is more intellectually satisfying and involves less paradox than the atheistic options (likewise with the other elements of the global argument). There is no question of a demonstration of the existence of God, for it is always possible to resist the "conclusion" (T) by finding fault with one or more of the "premises" (negations of A1, A2, or A3). According to Hartshorne, "The only thing that the proposed form puts pressure on people to do, and that I think constitutes the essential element in rational procedure in metaphysics, is to face the dilemmas, trilemmas, or quatrilemmas that their beliefs or disbeliefs confront them with" (Foreword to Viney, Charles x). For this reason, after 1970, he stopped referring to the arguments as proofs.

In Hartshorne’s view, following Peirce, metaphysics is not a game to be played from the sidelines where one’s own metaphysical commitments (or hunches) go unquestioned. It is contrary to Hartshorne’s approach to rest content with the merely negative conclusions that the theist has failed to meet a procedural burden of proof (à la Antony Flew) or even that the skeptic has failed to defeat the theist’s own supposedly properly basic beliefs (à la Alvin Plantinga). All metaphysical options are in play, none to be privileged over others. Nevertheless, the global argument has never attracted much scholarly attention (although see Viney, Charles and Boyd). Moreover, Hartshorne himself in the last decade of his career, put much more emphasis on a particular table of options for thinking about God and the world as a way of displaying the advantages of his own metaphysics ("The Aesthetic Dimensions" 17; "God, Necessary and Contingent" 296; "Can Philosophers" 17). The change of emphasis in Hartshorne’s writings from the global argument to the table of options is well illustrated in two of the papers published here. "God as Composer-Director and Enjoyer, and in a Sense Player, of the Cosmic Drama" dates to 1987; the six arguments of Creative Synthesis are mentioned and two are summarized. "Thomas Aquinas and Three Poets Who Do Not Agree With Him" dates to 1991; here, it is the table of options that is mentioned.

All of the options listed in the table are stated as early as Creative Synthesis (266, 271; cf. "Metaphysical" 183); however, Hartshorne’s friend, Joseph Pickle, revised the model by suggesting the 4 x 4 matrix (a fact Hartshorne never failed to mention). The purpose of the table is to apply a pair of metaphysical contrasts to God and the world (in this case, necessity and contingency) and display all logically possible permutations. Upper case letters are used for divine modalities of necessity and contingency (N, C) while lower case letters are used for worldly modalities of necessity and contingency (n, c). The zeros, says Hartshorne, are "interpreted broadly" to mean either impossibility or having no modal status ("God, Necessary and Contingent" 297). The reversal of the order -- NC as opposed to cn -- is meant as a reminder of the contrast between N and n: the necessity of God’s existence is the necessity of an individual, whereas the necessity of the world is the necessity that the set of non-divine individuals not be empty.




Necessary and I. God II. God wholly III. God necessary IV. God impossible or

Contingency as Applied wholly contingent and contingent in no modal status

to God and the World necessary different respects

1. World wholly necessary N.n C.n NC.n O.n

2. World wholly contingent N.c C.c NC.e O.c

3. World contingent and C.en

necessary in different


4. World impossible or N.o C.o NC.o O.o

no modal statue


 Hartshorne considered the table to "furnish a genuinely new argument for my neoclassical theism, nor is there anything like it for any other theism" (Zero 83). In brief, the "new argument" involves, at a minimum, the following: (1) includes all that is positive in rows I and II and lines I and 2; Hartshorne argues that the most general conceptions cannot lack instantiation and that both sides of the necessity/contingency contrast should be retained. (2), like the other alternatives on the diagonal from N.n to O.o, allows for an experiential basis for God-talk. (3) O.o is the most false view and is the most removed from it and hence is most true (Zero 83-84). Hartshorne considers the elements of the global argument to play a supporting role in the new argument" ("God, Necessary and Contingent" 308) -- for instance, the design argument shows up problems in A full exposition of the argument would surely involve careful attention to the meaning of the zeros.8

The Varieties of Theism and the Openness of God

Hartshorne was justly proud of this table, for it is an elegant summary of much of what he took himself to have accomplished in his pursuit of metaphysical understanding. From the time of Man’s Vision of God (1941), he complained that discussions in philosophical theology lacked logical rigor. They failed to distinguish the varieties of ways of conceptualizing God and thereby committed the fallacy of many questions. Hartshorne’s table shows that the disjunction "theism or atheism" or the slightly more sophisticated "traditional theism, pantheism, or atheism" are far from exhaustive. To be sure, one may locate the standard options on Hartshorne’s matrix: Thomistic theism (Nc); Stoic or Spinozistic pantheism (N.n); and d’Holbach’s atheism (O.n). The table also invites one to pair up other formally stated positions with what philosophers and theologians have actually believed. One may find Sartrean atheism ( or extreme or acosmic Advaita Vedanta (N.o); there remain a variety of theistic perspectives: Aristotle’s (, John Stuart Mill’s (C.n), William James’ (Cc) Jules Lequyer’s (NC.c), and Hartshorne’s (

In the paper on Thomas and the three poets Hartshorne says that each of the sixteen options has two subdivisions, depending on whether one accepts or rejects Plato’s World-Soul analogy for God (cf. Zero 83). For example, describes the views of both Whitehead and Hartshorne, but only Hartshorne accepts Plato’s analogy. This brings the total options to thirty-two. In fact, there are far more formal options than this. As Hartshorne notes, comparable tables can be constructed for any pair of metaphysical contrasts, such as infinite/finite or eternal/temporal (Hartshorne denies that the mind/body distinction is a metaphysical contrast). For any pair of metaphysical contrasts there is a 4 x 4 table (= 16), and hence, for any two pair in conjunction, the number of formal alternatives is 16 x 16 (256). To generalize, if n equals the number of pairs of contrasts to be included, the number of formal options is 16² (or 16² x 2 to include those accepting and those rejecting the World-Soul analogy).

Another way in which the table summarizes Hartshorne’s contribution to philosophical reflection on the meaning of "God" is illustrated in the third column. God is characterized as, in different respects, necessary and contingent. This idea runs counter to the regnant tradition of Western theology Philosophers of the medieval period, taking their hint from Plato (Republic, Bk 2), Aristotle (Physics, Bk 8 and Metaphysics, Bk 12), and a few passages of Scripture (Num. 23.19; Mal. 3.6;Jas. 1.17) denied of perfection any contingent attributes. The most perspicuous expression of this idea of deity is Thomas’ declaration that "the creatures are really related to God" but "In God there is no real relation to creatures . . ." (Summa Theologica I, Q 13, a.7). For Thomas, there are no contingent aspects of God, in part because nothing the creatures could do could have any effect on God (the denial of contingency in God also implies that God is not self-changed in any way). The great reformers, Martin Luther and John Calvin, agreed in this denial, as did most philosophers of the modern period, from Descartes to Kant. Hence, the only theism taken very seriously was under the first column -- God wholly necessary This group of views, related with conceptual ties stronger than what Wittgenstein called family resemblance, can without exaggeration be called "classical theism."

So weighty was this tradition that any suggestion that the divine might be other than how classical theism conceived it to be was treated as a changing of the subject. Hartshorne challenges this attitude in three ways. First, he reminds philosophers that, whether one surveys intellectual history or one engages in a formal analysis of theistic options (as in the 4 x 4 table), there is no single theistic view. Second, he points out the logical problems in classical theism. Finally, he demonstrates how it is possible to conceive God as, in different respects, necessary and contingent. Generalized to apply to any pair of metaphysical contrasts, this is Hartshorne’s doctrine of dual transcendence. God is eminently, but in different respects, necessary and contingent, infinite and finite, absolute and relative, being and becoming, cause and effect, and so on. When he was accused of denying God’s transcendence he would reply that he believed in twice as much transcendence as others.

Classical theists understood that their theology was not without problems. It never did fit well with the Biblical witness, where God is in constant interaction with the creatures and is affected by their decisions -- hardly the picture of a God devoid of contingency (see Rice’s contribution to Pinnock et al. 11-58). Anselm (Proslogion VIII) puzzled over how God could be compassionate -- literally, to "suffer with" -- yet be totally unaffected by creaturely joys and sorrows. The specter of pantheism was resisted by positing a free creative act in God whereby the universe is sustained in existence ex nihilo. Hartshorne points out the contradiction in saying both that God is wholly necessary (i.e., in no respect could have been otherwise) yet makes a contingent decision (i.e., a decision that could have been otherwise). Hartshorne notes other problems as well. How could God perfectly know a contingent world without the particular items of divine knowledge sharing this contingency?9 Aristotle saw this contradiction and denied God’s knowledge of the world. Thomas saw the contradiction and inverted the cognitive relation in God; citing Augustine with approval, Thomas avers that God does not know the world because it exists; it exists because God knows it (Summa Theologica I, Q 14, a.8). But this brings Thomas full circle to the contradiction of a wholly necessary being making a contingent decision to create its own objects of knowledge -- only now there is the further problem of reconciling God’s causative knowledge with human free will.

In the paper printed here on Thomas, Hartshorne refers to the Angelic Doctor’s claim that we cannot know what God is but only what God is not (cf. Summa Theologica I, question 3). This is the famous via negativa or negative way, which Hartshorne accused of "metaphysical false modesty" (Divine 35) and of being "scandalously illogical and arbitrary" (Divine 78)10 Proponents of the negative way denied that God is in any way contingent, finite, relative, or dependent. Yet, this supposes that there is something in the idea of divine perfection incompatible with them. In other words, some positive knowledge of God is required -- hence the charge of metaphysical false modesty. Nor did the negative theologians succeed in avoiding positive statements about God: God is creator, all-loving, and all-knowing. To be sure, there was always the proviso that the words "creator," "love," and "knowledge" are unique in their application to God; but "unique" is not the same as "merely negative." Finally, Hartshorne notes that some negations were valued above others. For example, God is said to be not finite and hence infinite, but God is not said to be not infinite and hence finite. When applied with rigorous consistency, the negative way implies that God is neither finite nor infinite, but what is this but an admission that neither negations nor affirmations can be made of God? Proponents of the negative way, however, avoided this consistency. Few would want to press the claim that the negation "God is not love" is closer to the truth than the affirmation "God is love."11

Hartshorne speaks of the "monopolar prejudice" of classical theism in favoring one of a pair of metaphysical contraries over the other. If God is in no contingent, relative, or dependent then these properties are in way all ways representative of imperfection. Hartshorne was fond of pointing out that this ignores the testimony of experience which knows nothing of the total devaluing of these terms. For example, there are more and less admirable ways of being relative or dependent. The parent who is wholly unaffected or unmoved by a child’s illness, living in "perfect" bliss as the child suffers, is hardly a good parent. Again, there is the Biblical witness that suggests that God’s love is manifested precisely in being moved by the waywardness and suffering of the creatures. Hartshorne’s alternative of dual transcendence holds that, in whatever ways metaphysical contraries can be exemplified in eminent ways, God is characterized by them. God is, in different but uniquely excellent ways, necessary and contingent, absolute and relative, infinite and finite, and so forth. Thus, in contrast to the monopolar God of classical theism, Hartshorne’s God is dipolar.

Hartshorne notes that there is no contradiction in the NC option if God is not necessary and contingent in the same respect. He distinguishes different logical levels at which metaphysical contraries apply to God. He draws a three-fold distinction among essence (the most abstract feature of what a thing is), existence (the fact that a thing is), and actuality (the particular characteristics that qualify an existing thing). For example, "That I shall (at least probably) exist tomorrow is one thing; that I shall exist hearing a blue jay call at noon is another" (Hartshorne, Logic of Perfection 63). The difference between the speaker and God is that God’s continued existence is not merely probable. The speaker’s existence is contingent whereas God’s is necessary. However, the experience of hearing a blue jay at noon is as contingent for the speaker as it is for God (or alternately, God’s knowledge that the speaker hears a blue jay at noon is contingent). Moreover, in the divine case, essence (what God is) and existence (that God is) are the same.12 Thus, Hartshorne usually speaks of the distinction between existence and actuality. Hartshorne summarizes the case in this way: "That God exists is one with his essence and is an analytic truth . . . but how, or in what actual state of experience or knowledge or will, he exists is contingent in the same sense as is our own existence" (Divine 87)13

The distinction between existence and actuality, more than any other, is at the foundation of Hartshorne’s neoclassical or dipolar theism. David Tracy referred to the distinction as "Hartshorne’s discovery" (Tracy 259) and Hartshorne remarked that he hoped to be remembered for it (Cobb and Gamwell 74). The distinction allows Hartshorne to preserve the best insights of classical theism while remedying its greatest oversights. For example, the existence and the essence (Hartshorne sometimes says character) of God are, in Hartshorne’s view, necessary immutable, independent, eternal, and infinite; but the actuality of God is contingent, mutable, dependent, temporal and finite. Hartshorne’s theory allows one to say, without contradiction, that God is perfect in love, knowledge, and power and that God’s love, knowledge, and power are constantly changing to respond in perfect ways to the decisions of the creatures and worldly processes. The idea of a change in God was anathema to classical theists because it was viewed as a kind of metaphysical virus that infects the whole of the divine reality; if God is in any sense contingent, then the very existence of God is contingent. Thomas is very clear on this point (Summa Contra Gentiles, Bk I, 16.2). Thus, Thomas persists in thinking of God in Aristotelian categories (customized to Christian beliefs) as the unmoved mover (Summa Theologica I, Q 2, art. 3). Hartshorne teaches one to think of God as "the most and best moved mover" (Zero 6, 39).14

The distinction between existence and actuality is no mere ad hoc device invented to escape contradiction. It is an instance of what Hartshorne calls the logic of ultimate or metaphysical contrasts (Creative chapter 6; Zero chapter 7). Existence and actuality are related by the same general principles that govern other ultimate contrasts such as necessity and contingency, independence and dependence, everlasting and temporal, and abstract and concrete (to name four of the twenty-one contrasts that Hartshorne lists). First, Hartshorne maintains that the contrasts are ultimate or metaphysical in the sense that they cannot fail of exemplification in experience. Second, he says that the sets of contrasts are proportional to one another; for example, necessity is to contingency as independence is to dependence, or as everlastingness is to temporality. Third, any particular set of contrasts is related by a two-way but asymmetrical necessity; for example, to exist is to be in some actual state or other, but to be in any actual state is to exist. This last example illustrates why Hartshorne thinks of existence as abstract vis-à-vis actuality, which is the concrete. By the principle of proportionality, existence is to actuality as the abstract is to the concrete. Thus, one may infer the existence of a thing from any actual state it is in (like hearing a blue jay call at noon), but from its existence one may infer only that it is actualized somehow. This is the reason why Hartshorne could say that he claimed to know so very little about God -- it was only the divine essence or character as somehow actualized that he claimed to know. He remarked that, "what we fail to know about the Eminent Actuality can scarcely be exaggerated" ("Mysticism" 469).

There is evidence that Hartshorne’s critique of classical theism and his vigorous defense of dipolar theism irrevocably changed the landscape of philosophical theology. It is not that Hartshorne has an army of followers; those who might be called Hartshorneans are more like a cadre. Moreover, Hartshorne’s most famous students could hardly be called his disciples (e.g., John B. Cobb, Jr., Schubert Ogden, William Alston, and Martin Gardner), and some are sharply critical of his views (e.g. Richard Rorty and Huston Smith). Nevertheless, Hartshorne convinced quite a few people from a variety of orientations to call into question the normative status of classical theism. A surprising number of Thomists now concede that the denial of real relations in God is not worth defending (Whitney 75-81). This is not to say that they have adopted neoclassical theism, but they recognize that some revision of Thomism is in order that brings it closer to this aspect of Hartshorne’s thinking. W. Norris Clarke can even speak of God as the "Supreme Receiver gathering in His consciousness all that creatures do" and responding accordingly and appropriately to it (Clarke 93). Thus, Clarke and some other Thomists now accept, in some sense, what Hartshorne referred to in 1963 as "divine openness to creaturely influence" (Wisdom, 92).

A group of Protestant Evangelicals use Hartshorne’s phraseology, "the openness of God," to express their belief in divine passivity. 1-Iartshorne wrote a foreword to Richard Rice’s dissertation, Charles Hartshorne’s Concept of Natural Theology, which unfortunately was never published. However, Rice’s 1980 book The Openness of God (later retitled: God’s Foreknowledge & Man’s Free Will) shows clear evidence of Hartshorne’s influence. William Hasker reports that Hartshorne’s The Divine Relativity convinced him that the relation from God to the creatures is as real as the relation of the creatures to God (Cobb and Pinnock 216-17). Stephen Franklin summarizes the situation succinctly in his review of Ronald Nash’s Process Theology, a book of readings highly critical of process thought. Franklin notes that, though the contributors to the volume are opposed to process thought as a framework for Christian theology, process thinkers have at least elicited agreement from them concerning the issues of God’s real relations to the world, divine passibility, and divine temporality. Franklin calls this a "major shift in the evangelical interpretation of deity -- a shift away from classical theism" (Franklin 135).15 This is not a debate confined to academic journals. Two recent issues of Christianity Today were devoted to "the openness debate" (see Hall and Sanders).

Divine Power and Theodicy

Although Hartshorne often discussed the problem of evil in connection with other issues, he devoted only one article to the topic ("New"). Nevertheless, his ideas about divine passivity and passibility are relevant to it. If God is open to creaturely influence then, in Hartshorne’s view the concept of divine power must be rethought. He argued that the traditional idea that God is able to unilaterally decide the events of the world is "not even coherent enough to be false" ("Philosophy" 86). Hartshorne’s alternative is that what happens can never be the result of the decisions of a single agent, even if the agent is God. God’s role as a cosmic ordering power does not entail the ability to determine every detail of the world order. Thus, the risk of tragedy or conflict is real and is a result of multiple freedom. It follows that any version of the problem of evil that presupposes that God has the power to create a world without risk is mistaken.

In the paper published here on Thomas and the three poets, he speaks of the "fundamental silliness" of the idea of a God who predetermines the creatures to be sinful and then punishes them for it everlastingly. He praises Omar Khayyám, and Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of Khayyám’s poem, for an elegant refutation of this idea. Here are two quatrains (numbers LXIX and LXX) from Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubayyat that illustrate Hartshorne’s point.

What! From his helpless Creature be repaid

Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay’d --

Sue for a Debt we never did contract,

And cannot answer -- Oh the sorry trade!

Nay but for terror of his wrathful Face,

I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;

Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but

Would kick so poor a Coward from the place.

It requires a theological fascism to justify this kind of arbitrary use of power by God; for the view to which Khayyám and Hartshorne object, in the divine case, at least, might makes right. This is the sort of deity Hartshorne described as a "tyrant" (cf. Omnipotence 691). Hartshorne denies that God in any sense inflicts suffering on others. On the contrary, God is affected by creaturely suffering -- in Whitehead’s words, which Hartshorne was fond of quoting, "God is the fellow-sufferer who understands" (351).

It was left to David Ray Griffin and Barry Whitney to address the issues of theodicy more systematically from the perspective of process philosophy. Griffin notes that when his first book on theodicy was published, the solution of process theology to the problem of evil was largely ignored. However, in the years after that book, the process perspective was taken seriously enough to evoke numerous responses, calling for Griffin’s second book. By 1983, John Hick had included, in his justly influential introduction to the philosophy of religion, process theodicy as one of three main Christian responses to the problem of evil (Hick 41; Griffin, Evil 1). It should be noted, however, that there is nothing specifically Christian -- nothing that could not be used by Jews, Muslims or other monotheists -- about the philosophies of either Whitehead or Hartshorne. Rabbi Harold Kushner’s popular 1981 book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, though not written with Whitehead or Hartshorne in mind, is in its essentials a process theodicy (Griffin, Evil 229). It takes nothing away from the efforts of Griffin and Whitney to say that if process theodicy is here to stay it is due in no small measure to the theoretical groundwork laid in Hartshorne’s metaphysics.

This is not to say that process theism’s doctrine of divine power brings questions of theodicy to an end. There is lively debate on the extent, if any to which process thought is an advance on more traditional ways of thinking about omnipotence; for example, see the recent exchange between David Griffin and William Hasker in this journal (29:194-236). Moreover, there are unexplored questions about the problem of evil and the neoclassical concept of omniscience. For instance, why isn’t divine knowledge of what is highly probable more readily apparent to persons whose suffering and anguish it would greatly alleviate? Is God unable or unwilling to impart such knowledge to the creatures? Suffice it to say that the problems of theodicy are not likely to go away, even though process theism introduces a genuinely novel and conceptually sophisticated voice into this ancient controversy.

Hartshorne was troubled by the question why traditional religion seems to do so much for so many people of all social classes while his "rationalized philosophical religion" seems to do so little (Darkness 279). The sociologist Rodney Stark makes some headway in answering the first part of this question: traditional religion, by invoking supernatural power, can promise eternal life, reunion with the departed, a perfected soul, and unending bliss, all of which have obvious appeal and none of which can be offered by merely secular competitors (Stark 169). On the other hand, the popularity of Kushner’s book, and the solace that it has given many who have undergone profound personal loss (like Kushner himself), demonstrates the existential appeal and usefulness of process thought when properly and simply expressed. In other words, Hartshorne may have underestimated how much appeal his form of religious belief might have.

Evolution, God, and Mind 16

Hartshorne had more than a passing acquaintance with science, and with biology and evolutionary theory in particular -- I have already mentioned his work in the psychology of sensation and on the aesthetics of bird song. From an early age he was exposed to evolutionary theory (Darkness 67, 118). His father, an Episcopal clergyman, had as a young man paid careful attention to the debate between Thomas Huxley and William Gladstone on the scientific reliability of Genesis. The elder Hartshorne concluded that Huxley, who argued that Genesis is contrary to non-evolutionary science, "had all the best of the argument" (Darkness 192). A letter to his son just a few months after the Scopes trial outlines his views that the Christian fundamentalists’ war against science would be no more successful than their war against drink (Darkness 187). Thus, Charles Hartshorne was never tempted to see a conflict between evolutionary theory and belief in God. Nor did he spend time refuting a view of the Bible that he, following the weight of biblical scholarship, considered to have been discredited long ago. In a letter to the editor of the Austin American Statement (Wednesday 24 May 1989) he summarized, "To deny the truth of some verses of the Bible is one thing; to deny the existence of God is a vastly different thing. Some of us cheerfully do the first without in the least doing the second."

Equally foreign to Hartshorne’s philosophy is the claim of Richard Dawkins that, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist" (Dawkins 6). Of course, this was not Darwin’s view (Brown; Corey 6-17). Darwin saw himself as giving an explanation, by no means complete, of the variety and distribution of species around the globe; he argued for the superiority of his explanation over its competitors, including those that attempted to account for these facts by appeal to a divine intelligence. Thus, the triumph of evolutionary theory (whether in its Darwinian or neo-Darwinian forms) entails the falsity of one form of theism, taken as an empirical hypothesis. We have seen that Hartshorne has excellent reasons to deny that there is only one form of theism or even that the forms that have been the most prominent are the most coherent; we have also seen why he denies that the existence of God is a hypothesis falsifiable by experience. It is consistent with Hartshornean principles to thank Darwin for toppling another idol. Thus, the God whose existence Dawkins feels intellectually fulfilled in denying is not the God in whose existence Hartshorne was ever tempted to believe.17

Alvin Plantinga, explaining the vehemence with which atheists like Dawkins use evolution as a weapon against theism, says that, "For the nontheist, evolution is the only game in town; it is an essential part of any reasonably complex nontheistic way of thinking . . ." (Plantinga 18-19). Had Plantinga said that evolution is an essential part of any reasonably complex contemporary way of thinking -- theistic or nontheistic -- he would have expressed Hartshorne’s view. For Hartshorne the question was never whether to accept evolution but only how to conceive of God’s relation to a world where evolution occurs. We have already hinted at part of Hartshorne’s answer. Divine intelligence is not needed as an empirical hypothesis to explain order within the universe or on a localized level. Evolution, as Darwin and Wallace originally conceived it, accounts for the emergence of certain kinds of order within the universe, whose existence and order are presupposed. The order of the universe is a metaphysical problem, not a scientific one. The logic of the matter does nor change with the neo-Darwinian synthesis. Evolution presupposes, without explaining, order on a cosmic scale. Hartshorne proposes his version of the design argument -- not as a scientific hypothesis but as a metaphysical one -- to account for cosmic order.

The obvious questions for Hartshorne are why cosmic order needs explaining and why, if it is to be explained, divine activity is the explanation. These questions take one to the core of process metaphysics. For Hartshorne (also Whitehead) the universe is composed of momentary centers of activity -- active singulars (Hartshorne) or actual entities (Whitehead) -- organically or internally related to their immediate predecessors by bonds of "feeling" or prehension and existing at varying levels of organizational and developmental complexity. In Whitehead’s pithy phrase: "The many become one, and are increased by one" (21). Hartshorne is even more succinct: "To be is to create" (Creative 1). The activity of dynamic singulars is in part a self-creativity and in part a partial creation of others. Each responds to (prehends) a world of dynamic singulars that have already come to be and each helps create the world to which subsequent dynamic singulars will respond. Order on a localized level, within the universe, is explained by the activity of localized dynamic singulars. All localized order, however, presupposes a cosmic order that none of the dynamic singulars, individually or in concert, creates. Therefore, order on a cosmic scale can only be explained by an ordering power whose influence is universal or cosmic in scope.

Consistent with his metaphysic of dynamic singulars internally related to each other, Hartshorne conceives the cosmic ordering power as internally related to everything over which its power holds sway -- that is to say everything in the universe. Hence, the cosmic ordering power is an all-inclusive ordering power, taking within itself every creative transformation or change that occurs within the universe. The best analogy for such a being, Hartshorne maintains, is a cosmic mind that remembers -- and hence values -- all that occurs. A cosmic ordering power that is aware of all that occurs has two of the traditional attributes of God: world-creativity and omniscience. Other elements of Hartshorne’s cumulative argument for God’s existence provide reasons for thinking that the cosmic ordering power has other attributes traditionally ascribed to God (see Viney, 1985).

Implicit in Hartshorne’s account of God’s relation to the universe of dynamic singulars is that cosmic order is not deterministic. If localized individuals are to retain their character as partly self-creative, then God’s creativity is not the complete explanation of their activity (which is their "being"). God’s role as cosmic ordering power, according to Hartshorne, is to define the limits within which localized creative activity occurs. In the paper on Darwin, published here, he praises Darwin’s famous contemporary Charles Kingsley, an Anglican clergyman, for hitting upon the positive religious significance of evolution (see also Omnipotence 73, 80). Kingsley in his 1863 book for children, The Water-Babies, put these words into the mouth of Mother Carey, a personification of nature: "[A]nyone can make things, if they will take time and trouble enough; but it is not everyone who, like me, can make things make themselves" (231). Something like this idea was expressed before and after Kingsley, by three Frenchmen. In the 1850s, Jules Lequyer spoke of "God, who created me creator of myself" (Euvres 70), and again, in a more cryptic fashion: "God is TO MAKE MAKE" (Euvres 397). In 1920 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French priest-paleontologist wrote (so far as I know, without knowledge of either Lequyer or Kingsley), "Properly speaking, God does not make. He makes things make themselves" (28). Henri Bergson, in 1932, maintained that the philosopher who takes the experience of the mystics seriously must come to the conclusion that God undertakes to "create creators" (255). Whitehead spoke of an actual entity as a "self-creating creature" and of God as "the actual entity from which each temporal concrescence receives that initial aim from which its self-causation starts" (85, 244). This is the tradition of thinking about God with which Hartshorne identified himself. He reports, in "God as Composer-Director," that before meeting Whitehead, he wrote a paper at Harvard titled "The Self its own Maker."

Process metaphysics, whether it is Hartshorne’s or Whitehead’s, repudiates both physicalism (or materialism) and dualism. The shared doctrine of physicalism and dualism is that some metaphysically basic parts of the universe -- let us use the neutral term "monads" -- are wholly insentient, wholly lacking in mind-like qualities. Hartshorne denies this. Every monad is a psychophysical whole -- in this philosophy. no res vera is entirely devoid of a psychic (i.e., mind-like) quality. Hartshorne called this view psychicalism.18 In earlier writings he used the word panpsychism to express this idea, but he came to believe that this term too easily lends itself to confusing his theory with simple animism that attributes to every real thing -- chairs or rocks, for instance -- feeling or consciousness. Hartshorne reasons that, "Feeling can be everywhere even though many things do not feel, somewhat as vibration can be everywhere even though chairs do not vibrate (only their micro-constituents do)" (Zero 134). The criterion by which Hartshorne distinguishes what does and does not have feeling is, "what acts as one feels as one." A plant may seem to meet this criterion, but Hartshorne argues that it is the cells of the plant that are most active. As he says in "God as Composer-Director": "Even a tree’s growth is shorthand for the self-multiplication of its cells. Animals with central nervous systems are the only many-celled individuals we perceive that act integrally and even they do not do so in deep sleep." With Leibniz, Hartshorne maintains that some organisms are governed by a "dominant entelechy" that serves as a center of perception and activity (Monadology # 70); other organisms, and all inorganic wholes (e.g. chemical compounds and minerals), have insufficient organizational complexity to act or feel "as one.

Hartshorne tenaciously defended psychicalism throughout his career, even as he realized that his was the minority position, as it remains to this day. But when did majorities ever intimidate Hartshorne, especially when he saw evidence of genius on his side? As he says in the paper on Troland: "I regard this as an elite minority and am not abashed by the majority on this point. For I fail to find careful reasoning on the majority side and there is much careful reasoning on my side, from Leibniz to Troland, Whitehead, Wright, and some others." One may accuse Hartshorne of boasting, but there is no gainsaying that recent discussions in the philosophy of mind often ignore the very figures that Hartshorne holds to have developed the most intelligible form of the doctrine; in short, panpsychism is discussed but psychicalism is not (e.g. Nagel 181-95; Chalmers 293-99; McGinn 95-101). Griffin is a refreshing exception to the rule (Unsnarling 92-98).

In the final analysis Hartshorne uses an organic model to express God’s relation to the world. He appropriates and updates Plato’s World-Soul analogy.19 For Hartshorne, God is related to the universe in a manner that is similar to the way that a person is related to the cells of his or her body. Hartshorne insists that, "A body is, in the human case, no merely single thing, but a vast society of society of perhaps two hundred thousand kinds of cells. The mind-body relation is then emphatically a one-many relation, not a one-one relation" ("Postscript" 317). Our own feelings cannot be entirely separated from the feelings of the cells: "Hurt my cells and you hurt me" ("Postscript" 317). In a somewhat similar fashion, God is affected by what affects us. One difference between God and all non-divine individuals is that God knows each "cell" of the divine body in a perfectly distinct fashion whereas others experience their cells en masse, much as one sees the green of the grass but not each blade. This vagueness in the perceptions of our own bodies is the reason, according to Hartshorne, that the mind-body relationship is often mistaken as a relationship between two fundamentally different substances. Hartshorne also argues that the divine body unlike a merely localized body has no external environment. All of the "parts" of God are internal to the divine body. The experiences of the creatures, and whatever values they have, become immortalized in the memory of God. Yet, no creature can surpass God since each element of the divine body has a beginning and an end, but God is without beginning or end. Thus, Hartshorne refers to God as the "self-surpassing surpasser of all" (Divine Relativity 20).

The idea of divine embodiment is not entirely foreign to traditional ways of thinking. Paul is reported to have quoted the Stoic poets, "In him we live, move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28) and Christians speak of being members of the body of Christ. Defenses of the idea that the universe is God’s body occur both with (McFague) and without (Jantzen) knowledge of Hartshorne’s ideas. However, those who follow Hartshorne in much of his critique of classical theism often part ways with him on the World-Soul analogy. There is a widespread belief that it should be possible for God to exist without a universe. In the paper published here, "God as Composer-Director," Hartshorne attempts to address this concern (cf. Viney, "Varieties" 214-30). His arguments are considerable, but there is no question that this aspect of Hartshorne’s neoclassical theism has not gained many adherents.


Schubert Ogden maintains that the theistic metaphysics of Whitehead and Hartshorne is one of "the most significant intellectual achievements of the twentieth century . . . which in its scope and depth easily rivals the so-called philosophia perennis" (Reality 56). It is certainly a product of creative metaphysical thinking of the first order and it is a counter-example to the claim that progress in metaphysics is impossible. Some choose to understand the progress in terms of nearness to the truth. I make only a more modest claim. The progress that Hartshorne’s thinking represents is the progress of expanding one’s thinking about what is theologically thinkable. More generally. what Hartshorne accomplished, even when others do not agree with his form of theism, is to hold the prism of the human intellect up to the divine light, the better to display the full spectrum of responsible thinking about God.

The editors of Process Studies wish to thank Dr. Emily Hartshorne Schwartz for her generous support in the publication of the works printed here. Her invitation to me in June 2001 to help prepare her father’s philosophical papers to be shipped to the Center for Process Studies in Claremont made it possible for me to examine the variations in the manuscripts, the better to make balanced editorial decisions. It was an honor to be her guest in Austin, Texas and it is an honor to be guest editor for this special focus issue of Process Studies and thereby contribute in some measure to Hartshorne’s legacy.



1. I am indebted to Grier Jefferis, longtime friend and nonacademic poet-philosopher, for commenting on an earlier version of this paper that helped me see the need for important revisions.

2. Hartshorne’s first publication was in 1916 and a couple of his works appeared in 2000, the year of his death. The bibliography in the Library of Living Philosophers volume stops in 1991 and lists 482 philosophical articles and reviews (Hahn 735-64). The revised and updated bibliography published here consolidates under single entries the articles and reviews that were published in more than one place. For this reason, the new list seems shorter than its predecessor; however, it contains 51 new items.

3. Aspects of Hartshorne’s thought not dealt with here include: the revision of Peirce’s categories; the analysis of experience into personal and impersonal memory; the theory of beauty (as a mean between the double extremes of order-disorder and complexity-simplicity); the primacy of asymmetrical relations in logic and ontology; the impossibility of negative facts; the defense of indeterminism; the analysis of causation as sets of necessary conditions for the occurrence of an effect; the pragmatic theory of eternal truths; the critique of enlightened self-interest; arguments against pacifism; the objective nature of dreams.

4. Hartshorne says that he never intended to become a Peirce scholar. Yet, his articles, not counting book reviews, on Peirce could fill a small volume, similar to his book of essays on Whitehead. There are eleven Peirce articles listed in the bibliography published here: see items 5, 66, 70, 149, 188, 244, 331, 390, 405, 438, and 466.

5. Of course, Whitehead was British, but his metaphysical works were written on the far side of the Atlantic. Moreover, it is Whitehead’s work with Bertrand Russell on the Principia Mathematica for which he is best known in Great Britain. Hartshorne says that philosophical cultural lag has always been marked in Britain ("Analysis" 112). The most egregious example recently is the handsomely illustrated Oxford history of "Western Philosophy" (Kenny) wherein the names of Peirce, William James, John Dewey Josiah Royce, G. H. Mead, and George Santayana do not appear. Whitehead comes in for brief notice as co-author of the Principia.

6. Jules Lequyer (1814-62) (also Lequier) might have remained unknown to English speaking readers without Hartshorne. He learned of Lequyer in Paris in 1948 when Jean Wahl pointed out to him the similarities in their thought. Thereafter, Lequyer’s name appeared frequently in his writings; Philosophers Speak of God provided a first glimpse of Lequyer’s prose in translation. Harvey Brimmer, Hartshorne’s student at Emory wrote the article on Lequyer for Edwards’ Encyclopedia of Philosophy and attached two lengthy appendices to his dissertation with substantial portions of Lequyer in English translation. My own translations of and writings about Lequyer had their origin in the reading of Hartshorne (Translation and Jules Lequyer’s Abel and Abel).

7. Hartshorne also applies the theory of temporal modality to the logic of future contingents. For the usual dichotomy of "will be" and "will not be" for future tense propositions, Hartshorne substitutes the trichotomy. "will be," "will not be," and "may or may not be" ("The Meaning"). George Shields demonstrates how, using standard notation for quantification theory Hartshorne’s intuitions can be fleshed out in terms of a rudimentary object-language whose non-logical vocabulary or ontology consists of future possibilities, and the occurrence of an event relative to some time ("Fate and Logic"). The result is a diagram similar to the familiar square of opposition, where "will be" and "will not be" correspond to contraries tall, none) and "may or may not be" corresponds to the conjunction of the subcontraries (some are, some are not). A theological implication of Hartshorne’s theory is that there can be no eternal knowledge of temporal events since there exists no eternal set of facts or propositions about such facts to be known. Rather, God knows the extent to which the future is open ("may or may not be") and the extent to which it is closed ("will or will not be") (see Shields and Viney).

8. In Hartshorne’s earlier discussions (Creative Synthesis 271-72 and "Metaphysical and Empirical" 183), the zeros were interpreted as nonexistence (cf. Viney, "The Varieties of Theism" 212-13). The price for this interpretation is that the table no longer represents the views of those who believe that God or the world are impossible or have no modal status. On the other hand, whether the zeros mean impossibility or lacking modal status, there are more options than are explicitly represented on the table. If the zeros mean impossibility then eight additional viewpoints are required to account for the ambiguity of C-alone or c-alone options. For example, C-alone is ambiguous between "the modality of God’s existence is contingent and God exists" and "the modality of God’s existence is contingent and God does not exist" -- the former describes the theism of John Hick whereas the latter describes the atheism of J. L. Mackie. If the zeros mean lacking modal status then it is arguable that any view with a zero, excepting O.o, is unacceptable in the sense that it makes an arbitrary distinction between modal terms as applied to God and the world. Yet, even accepting this principle, O.o is a name for four distinct options, where God and/or the world exist or fail to exist. For example, Roselin was a theist who apparently accepted O.o, for he was a nominalist; but Quine, an atheist, also accepted O.o, for he denied de re modality

9. Hartshorne gives a quasi-formal proof of this in The Divine Relativity (13-14). George W. Shields makes the formalism explicit ("God, Modality, and Incoherence").

10. Hartshorne’s earliest discussions of Thomism are m his reviews of books by Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain ("Review of Etienne" and "Reviews"). Philosopher’s Speak of God includes excerpts from and critical comments on Thomas’ Summa Theologica (119-133). Also of note is the Aquinas lecture (Aquinas to Whitehead) as well as his responses to William Alston (Cobb and Gamwell 98-102) and W. Norris Clarke (Sia 269-79).

11. Huston Smith, an advocate of the via negativa, does say that persons who achieve the realization that they are not finally real -- that God is what is finally real -- understand that, "in the last analysis God is not the kind of God who loves them, for at this level there is no ‘them’ to be loved" (Smith 52). In denying that love is an attribute of the Godhead, Smith places the emphasis on the final reality of the Godhead in comparison with the lesser reality of the individual self. As I interpret Smith, the Godhead includes within itself the truth of "God is love" while transcending that truth infinitely. For a lively exchange between the perspectives of process thought and the "primordial tradition" see Griffin and Smith (1989).

12. The only true essences or non-emergent universals, in Hartshorne’s view, are metaphysical -- ones that cannot fail of exemplification (see Creative chapter IV).

13. I leave Hartshorne’s non-inclusive language intact. In later years, beginning with Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes, he strongly advocated inclusive language. For his views on this see especially the discussion of the paper published here, "God as Composer-Director, Enjoyer, and, in a Sense, Player of the Cosmic Drama."

14. Hartshorne was self-consciously building on Fritz Rothschild’s description of the God of Abraham Heschel as "the most moved mover" (Heschel 24).

15. John Sanders’ historical overview provides compelling evidence to support Franklin’s claim that evangelicals have traditionally leaned towards classical theism (Pinnock et al. 94f).

16. Griffin provides the most extensive discussion of the creation-evolution controversy from the standpoint of process theism, although he doesn’t treat of this aspect of Hartshorne’s thought (Religion and Scientific Naturalism 241-310).

17. Here, Ogden’s complaint against Antony Flew is apropos: "My sole concern is to do something about the widespread irresponsibility of arbitrarily excluding from consideration some of the most evidently pertinent contributions to the theistic discussion" ("God and Philosophy" 179).

18. Griffin’s preferred expression is panexperientialism. Hartshorne said that he had no objection to this term and saw advantages in it (Kane and Phillips 181).

19. For particularly lucid discussions of Plato’s analogy and Hartshorne’s use of it see Dombrowski (35-38, 65-75, 93-113).


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