Existence and Actuality: Conversations with Charles Hartshorne

by John B. Cobb, Jr. and Franklin I. Gamwell (eds.)

John B. Cobb, Jr. is Ingraham Professor of Theology, School of Theology at Claremont, California, and Avery Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate School. Franklin I. Gamwell. is Dean and Associate Professor of Ethics and Society at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.

Published by the University of Chicago Press . Chicago and London, 1984. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) These chapters present a criticsl discussion among eminent philosophers, theologians, and Hartshorne himself on Hartshorne’s method, his logic, his theism and his metaphysics. Both proponents and critics of this honored philosopher contribute essays to this volume, and Hartshorne writes extensive response to each writer.


  • Preface

    Charles Hartshorne has become the most forceful and convincing interpreter of Whitehead, and to him belongs principal credit for shaping the influence of process philosophy upon contemporary philosophical theology.

  • Introduction: How I Got That Way by Charles Hartshorne

    How philosophers think about religion may well depend largely on how they have encountered it in childhood and youth. Believing this, Hartshorne tells us a bit of the genealogy that makes up his genes and the background that provides the grounds of his theology.

  • Chapter 1: Methodology in the Metaphysics of Charles Hartshorne by Eugene H. Peters

    For Charles Hartshorne, a metaphysical statement is a unique form of statement. It is to be distinguished from empirical (that is, factual) assertions, which if true at all are true contingently. Metaphysical statements, if true, are true not contingently but necessarily.

  • Chapter 2: The Experience of God: Critical Reflections on Hartshorne’s Theory of Analogy by Schubert M. Ogden

    If we now understand religion and morality as forms of life and experience that are quite different from that of science, the same can also be said of our understanding of philosophy and metaphysics.

  • Chapter 3: On the Language of Theology Hartshorne and Quine by R. M. Martin

    Martin criticizes Hartshorne’s methodology through a rigorous use of Symbolic Logic. He holds that Hartshorne does not develop an adequate concept of aesthetics in relation to metaphysics, and that his distinction between existence and actuality is hopelessly unclear. Hartshorne rebuts him point by point.

  • Chapter 4: Hartshorne and Aquinas: A Via Media by William P. Alston

    The author disagrees in part with Hartshorne’s neoclassicism and his anti-Thomistic views. Hartshorne replies that becoming as sheer growth, increase without loss, is the concrete reality and the secret of both being and becoming.

  • Chapter 5: Some Aspects of Hartshorne’s Treatment of Anselm by John E. Smith

    Does logic reflect the nature of reality, or is it a merely formal structure governing the use of language’? In short, are we to have no more than “logic without ontology’’? Smith believes that Hartshorne takes too lightly the view that logic marks out the domain of the “necessary,” while the “real” coincides with the domain of fact. The problem with this juxtaposition is that the “real’’ and the necessary are mutually exclusive.

  • Chapter 6: Nature, God, and Man by Paul Weiss

    The originality of Hartshorne’s discussions about the nature of God, and particularly his daring and novel defense of the ontological argument, have led some to overlook the fact that, as he himself says, his primary interest lies elsewhere. Weise indicates the way he believes Whitehead’s and Hartshorne’s views should be altered, and how they could be extended and filled out — while maintaining their characteristic thrust and flavor.

  • Chapter 7: Hartshorne and Peirce: Individuals and Continuity by Manley Thompson

    A brief exploration of Peirce’s use of continuity in his account of individual existence as well as a review of this account in the light of Professor Hartshorne’s criticisms.

  • Chapter 8: Overcoming Reductionism by John B. Cobb, Jr.

    Hartshorne’s concern is more with the question of what anything must be to be at all, than with determining which entities in the universe have which characteristics. On the whole Cobb has accepted and adopted Whitehead’s cosmology, though much in his thought is distinctively his own.

  • Chapter 9: The Place of the Brain in an Ocean of Feelings by George Wolf

    Wolf looks at Hartshorne’s philosophy from the perspective of a psychologist. He suggests tht we monitor spontaneous, complex events in individual atoms and transduce these events into a form that can readily be perceived. Suppose it turned out that people regularly sense something aesthetically or emotionally familiar in the atomic patterns but not in the control patterns. This would not by itself be convincing evidence that there is sentience present. But it would raise interesting questions for further inquiry.