Live Session Info
Dates: October 5, 2022 – November 2, 2022
Times: Wednesdays, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Pacific
While “process philosophy” is wider than the work of Alfred North Whitehead, the depth and dynamism of his thought principally inspire its modern expression. This five-part course introduces students and life-long learners to the central themes, contours, and ideas of Whitehead’s “philosophy of organism.”
Whitehead’s “philosophy of organism” is one of the most significant attempts in all of philosophy to think through what reality must be like because you are apart of it. His philosophical vision is at once vast, various, and prismatic. His wife Evelyn once used the wonderful metaphor of a prism to describe his thinking, saying: “It must be seen not from one side alone but from all sides, then from underneath and overhead. So seen, as one moves around it, the prism is full of changing lights and colours. To have seen it from one side only is to not have seen it.” The five sessions of this course aim to reveal the various sides, lights, and colors belonging to Whitehead’s process philosophy from the microscopic to the macroscopic, and in direct relation to your experience as an expression of the universe.
Session one surveys the basic thematic and historical dimensions of “process philosophy” as a current of philosophical thinking with both ancient antecedents and creative modern expressions. Session two dives into Whitehead’s analysis of human experience, clarifies the fundamentals of his “philosophy of organism,” and considers some of the challenges, problems or questions that often emerge from his theory. Session three clarifies the fundamental place of possibility, novelty and value in Whitehead’s philosophy, particularly in relation to human experience as an expression of both biological and cosmological evolution. Session four explores Whitehead’s understanding of the philosophical function of God, including the roles of the “primordial” and “consequent” natures, as well as other important philosophical principles. Session five concludes the course by considering Whitehead’s critiques of the theological tradition and the relevance and/or religious availability of “process panentheism” as a fruitful means of modeling the God-world relationship.