What is our Philosophy?
Philosophy is the womb of all the sciences. And like the paradigm shifts in science, the copernican revolution, darwin's evolution, the principle of relativity and quantum physics there are parallel paradigm shifts in philosophy. Out of all the sciences philosophy is most like physics.
Physics takes observations of nature and uses symbols to conceptually integrate them. Difference being where physics uses math, philosophy uses words. Where physics limits its observations to specific scientific measurements using mechanical instruments, philosophy uses the wealth of all forms of observation, knowledge, and experience. Where physics integrates mathematical theory, philosophy integrates all theory. Then a true theory of everything cannot be accomplished in physics but only in philosophy. Philosophy is the theory of all theory.
We all have a philosophy, as we all have inherited various ideas and theories about life. Philosophy refines and clarifies our concepts. Philosophy coordinates our ideas together resolving inconsistencies, incoherence. In studying philosophy we discover the many ways to see the world, our unconscious assumptions become conscious and so we gain awareness. Even Science has assumptions behind it inherited from the newton worldview which also inherited a philosophical background of of assumptions when it made the split from religion. Some religions start with a philosophy, like Buddhism, while others like Christianity start with beliefs about facts that then search for philosophical interpretation.
Because Christianity starts with beliefs and does't make it's philosophy explicit, it unconsciously inherits the dominate cultural assumptions. The strongest current being from ancient theologians who where inspired by the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. In fact the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle is still today the dominate worldview.
This is where Process Philosophy comes in. There is an ancient debate between philosophers about the fundamental reality of nature, it is being or becoming, static or changing, eternal or creative. There are not only many issues with the static view but the new physics begs a paradigm shift which has not yet been fully realized. If being is true then reality is illusion, if becoming is true, being is a realm of possibilities waiting to be creatively actualized in the flux of present reality. Everything is in constant motion from atoms to molecules to cells to organic life, life is a continual creative process. There is a long tradition of process philosophy starting before Plato with Heraclitus. We will be focusing on the vision written in response to the emergence of quantum mechanics and Einsteins principle of relativity realized in the magnum opus Process and Reality by Alfred North Whitehead.
Process Philosophy: 21 Lessons
Process Philosophy: Lecture Series
Philosophy studies and improves the concepts and methods in the abstract to make them more clear, more consistent, and more fully developed for their application. Philosophy develops the equipment to be used by Religion for the experimental process of human life.
It's not about the destination it's about the journey. Reality is not eternal and timeless, or made up of permanent substances or beings. Reality is change and growth, made up of creative events or becomings.
Process philosophy identifies reality with change and development. Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have posited true reality as "timeless", based on permanent substances, while processes are denied or subordinated to timeless substances. In opposition to the classical model of change as accidental or illusory, process philosophy regards change as the cornerstone of reality—the cornerstone of Being thought of as Becoming.
Philosophers who appeal to process rather than substance include Heraclitus, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, Charles Sanders Peirce, Alfred North Whitehead, William James, Alan Watts, Charles Hartshorne, Nicholas Rescher, and Gilles Deleuze. Process philosophy covers not just scientific intuitions and experiences, but can be used as a conceptual bridge to facilitate discussions among religion, philosophy, and science.
Thoughts are tools whose value is found in their practical application tested against experience.
Pragmatism considers thought an instrument or tool for prediction, problem solving and action, and rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. The philosophy of pragmatism “emphasizes the practical application of ideas by acting on them to actually test them in human experiences”.
Rather than belief in a unity of one underlying substance such as spirit, mind or matter. Pluralism is a belief in a multiplicity of events.
In metaphysics, pluralism is a doctrine that there is more than one reality, while monism holds that there is but one reality, that may have single objective ontology or plural ontology. In one form, it is a doctrine that many substances exist, in contrast with monism which holds existence to be a single substance, often either matter (materialism) or mind (idealism), and dualism believes two substances, such as matter and mind, to be necessary.
There is no one absolute perspective, there are many perspectives each with different contexts. Truth is a pragmatic hypothesis based on a process of continually integrating perspectives.
Perspectivism is the philosophical view that all ideations take place from particular perspectives, and that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made. This is often taken to imply that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively "true", but does not necessarily entail that all perspectives are equally valid. The term was coined by 19th century Friedrich Nietzsche.
Experience does not emerge out of matter or come from a cosmic being. Like evolution, experience goes all the way down in varying levels of intensity.
Panexperientialism is the view that if evolution of humans goes all the way down to subatomic particles, then human ‘experience’ by deduction must have originated at the subatomic level, which implies that not just humans but individual cells, individual molecules, individual atoms, and even individual subatomic particles, such as photons or electrons, incorporate a capacity for ‘feeling’ or degree of subjective interiority.
The term panexperientialism is one of the theory varieties that philosophers use to debate or explain how mind evolved from matter, along with dualism (mind and matter remain separate, a Rene Descartes theory), emergentism (mind ‘emerged’, over time, or at some point, in the process of evolution), materialism (nothing exists but mechanical matter and forces), and idealism (that mind, matter, and spirit are somehow mixed or only spirit exists).
Founder of Process Philosophy
Alfred North Whitehead
- An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge - 1919
- The Concept of Nature - 1920
- The Principle of Relativity with Applications to Physical Science - 1922
- Science and the Modern World. - 1925.
- Religion in the Making. - 1926.
- Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect. - 1927.
- The Function of Reason. - 1929.
- Process and Reality: - 1929. (Magnum Opus)
- Adventures of Ideas. - 1933.
- Nature and Life - 1934
- Modes of Thought. - 1938.