Orville Jenkins's Reviews > Zero Fallacy: and Other Essays in Neoclassical Philosophy

Zero Fallacy by Charles Hartshorne
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This series of essays provides an deeply thoughtful summary and survey of the themes and concerns addressed by Charles Hartshorne over the course of his career as a thinker, writer, teacher. Hartshorne is considered the premier thinker and formulator of Neoclassical Philosophy, also known as Process-Relational Philosophy or Theology.

He is known for refining and developing the Neo-Classical Process Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. His philosophy is a theistic metaphysical concept that accounts for the whole of reality and takes into consideration the developing insights from science over the 20th century.

Hartshorne’s philosophical writings have provided the foundation for recent theologians to make corrections to the classical concepts troubling philosophers and theologians, especially in the West, since the time of Plato, 400 years before the time of Christ.

Hartshorne directly addressed the problem of accounting for a Creator God interactive with his universe, accounting of the Hebrew and eastern concept of a dynamic living reality, not a static, abstract principle so long revered in the history of Christian philosophy from its Gentile Mediterranean foundations developing soon after the demise of the Jewish Christian movement in the last half of the 1st century CE.

I was impressed with how readable these essays are, though they probe the deepest questions of reality. His voluminous encyclopedic knowledge of the history of philosophy and Christian theology is astounding, and his easy consideration of all and varied writers in western history is impressive, to understate the case.

He handles details of each question in a deft manner. He is amazingly apt at roundly criticizing the erroneous conclusions and misjudgements of any philosopher, while still strongly affirming the valid claims of one and sundry to show how a small correction or insight from our later knowledge can align great thinkers from different eras. He is familiar with the philosophers of every nation in modern times and every movement school of philosophy and freely interacts with their ideas here.

Hartshorne is gracious, too, in noting the details of nature and science and the astronomical universe we have access to that was not available to the greats of the past, like Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and even the early Rationalists of the later medieval and modern age in Europe, Copernicus, Newton, Descartes and such. Often a basic insight now available in elementary or middle school science texts is enough to correct a conclusion of an earlier philosopher or scientist of the past.

This book was refreshing and entertaining, but even more so, encouraging and satisfying. Hartshorne deals with and accounts for all the major questions and considerations plaguing the inconsistencies and niggling details where a concrete-relational biblical concept of God conflicts with the rationalized abstractions that have so strongly framed western thought since the scholastic period on into the modern era.

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Reading Progress

September 30, 2019 – Started Reading
October 9, 2019 – Finished Reading
October 17, 2019 – Shelved

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