Six Sessions Covering the Core Concepts
in Whitehead's Magnum Opus
In this six-week course Jay McDaniel will guide students through important passages in Process and Reality, and, along with way, give everyone a basic understanding of sixteen key ideas. Each week he will invite participants to turn to particular passages and offer his understanding of their meaning, followed by open discussion.
Attend the Live Class Sessions
or Work At Your Own Pace
The process movement is a worldwide phenomenon, consisting of people from many walks of life: teachers, parents, artists, farmers, accountants, and poets. You may be among them. We are all interested in not only comprehending concepts but practicing process thought by living with respect and care for the community of life. We all want to think globally and act locally for the common good of the world and our local communities. We all seek wholeness, strength of beauty and richness of experience, in our relationships with other people, the natural world, the heavens above, and ourselves. We all seek what the Cobb Institute calls spiritual integration.
The process movement is partly, but not exclusively, inspired by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and a rich but dense book of his called Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology. Its difficulty is well-known, and the purpose of this six-week course is to work through important passages in the text, and, along with way, give everyone a basic understanding of sixteen key ideas: process, creativity, concrescence, subjective immediacy, transition, the principle of relativity, the ontological principle, the reformed subjectivist principle, objective immortality, actual occasions, eternal objects, prehension, subjective form, nexus, eternal objects, contrasts, and God.
“If we want a society in which the sense of belonging is strong, people are concerned for one another, and there is strong commitment to the common good, we need a metaphysics that shows that we are in fact part of larger societies and have no existence apart from our relations to others.”
We will move slowly, as if we were taking a relaxed walk in a neighborhood, proceeding passage by passage, for six weeks. At the end of the walk participants will have a sense of the overall gestalt (organized whole) of Whitehead’s cosmology, and they will be comfortable with some of the technical vocabulary. They will have confidence in their own understanding of this key text.
The primary text for the course will be Process and Reality. Thus, as we enjoy the walk, it is important that everyone have a copy of the book at their side online, so that together we can turn to texts. Supplementary texts will be the Whitehead Video series in Open Horizons, which goes through much of this material and the Whitehead Word Book by John Cobb. Participants are encouraged to watch the video series at their leisure as the course unfolds. (Links to all three will be provided.)
About the Professor
Jay McDaniel is one of the influential scholars and active promoters of process-relational thought in the world. He is the Willis Holmes Professor of Religious Studies at Hendrix College in Arkansas, and offers daily reflections on a variety of topics on his website Open Horizons. Active in the development of process thought in China, he is a consultant to the China Project of the Center for Process Studies, a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, and a board member of the Cobb Institute.
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