Orville Jenkins's Reviews > Process-Relational Philosophy: An Introduction to Alfred North Whitehead

Process-Relational Philosophy by C. Robert Mesle
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read October 10, 2019.

This was a delightful and informative discussion of the Process-Relational, or Neoclassical, Philosophy that has developed during the 20th century due to the groundbreaking revision of traditional western abstract metaphysics, so influential in the post-Reformation linear-analytical thought. The foundation of the philosophy and this presentation is Alfred North Whitehead, but Mesle includes references to other prominent Process Philosophers of the 20th century and points out some of their variations.

Whitehead developed a revision of the classical Platonic-Aristotelian-Thomist western philosophy concept to recast God as a dynamic God. Slight corrections in some classical constructions of reality enabled this metaphysic to account for a full interaction of God with the whole of the physical universe. Whitehead conceived of God not in terms of Being but in terms of Becoming.

With this focus on event and relationships and a reality always in motion, Process Philosophy accommodates our modern scientific understanding of a universe that is dynamic, not static. The dynamics of quantum physics are seen as indicative of a living nad interactive God, rather than an abstract aloof principle.

This was especially true in the west, for the eastern churches maintained more of the eastern, Jewish concept of an active living God who fully interacted with the creation, and creation was an expression of God and his creativity. Eastern concepts of philosophy tended to be more integrated and holistic, relational in focus. Mesle aptly covers the primary distinctions and lays out the benefits Whitehead’s refreshing thought brings to our reflection on ultimate structures of reality.

Others develop more specifically Christian theistic forms of Process-Relational theologies, which more adequately reflected and accounted for an interactive, living God. Mesle explains well the traditional problems and hurdles Christian formal theologians tried to deal with and how the Process approach handles these problems, or in many cases solves the puzzle left by previous Scholastic concepts stuck in a static mode of thought.

The interactive concept of reality presented by Process-Relational philosophy has provided Christian theologians with metaphysical mechanisms to account for God both terms of the dynamic forces we observe and experience in our lives on earth around us teeming with life and the dynamic vision of the creator God in the biblical writings, portraying God as living and interactive with the physical universe.

The working concept for all Reality is becoming: change and processes of change. The static concepts of God brought over from the ancient pre-Christian Greek philosophers had long hampered the formal reflection of theology in the early centuries of the Gentile Christian movement. This process-relational concept of becoming is more compatible with the majority of cultural worldviews around the world, which are primariluy concrete-relational in understanding of reality.
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Reading Progress

September 26, 2019 – Started Reading
September 29, 2019 – Finished Reading
October 10, 2019 – Started Reading
October 10, 2019 – Finished Reading
October 22, 2019 – Shelved

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