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Encyclopedia > Charles Hartshorne

Charles Hartshorne (June 5, 1897October 9, 2000) was a prominent philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. He developed the neoclassical idea of God and produced a modal proof of the existence of God that was a development of St. Anselm's Ontological Argument. Hartshorne is also noted for developing Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy into process theology. June 5 is the 156th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (157th in leap years), with 209 days remaining. ... 1897 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... October 9 is the 282nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (283rd in Leap years). ... This article is about the year 2000. ... Philosophy of religion is the rational study of the meaning and justification of fundamental religious claims, particularly about the nature and existence of God (or gods, or the divine). ... Metaphysics (Greek words meta = after/beyond and physics = nature) is a branch of philosophy concerned with the study of first principles and being (ontology). ... Neoclassicism (sometimes rendered as Neo-Classicism or Neo-classicism) is the name given to quite distinct movements in the visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture. ... God is the term used to denote the Supreme Being ascribed by monotheistic religions to be the creator, ruler and/or the sum total of, existence. ... The term modal may refer to: Modal, a textile made from spun Beechwood cellulose Modal logic Modal verbs Mode Musical mode This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Many arguments for the existence of God have been made over the years. ... Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 or 1034 – April 21, 1109), a widely influential medieval philosopher and theologian, held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. ... In theology and the philosophy of religion, an ontological argument for the existence of God is an argument that Gods existence can be proved a priori, that is, by intuition and reason alone. ... Alfred North Whitehead, OM (February 15, 1861, Ramsgate, Kent, UK – December 30, 1947, Cambridge, MA) was a British mathematician who evolved into a philosopher. ... Conventional Platonic metaphysics posits the real world of metaphysical reality as being timeless. ... Process theology (also known as Neoclassical theology) is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947). ...


Early Life and Education

Hartshorne (pronounced harts-horn) was born in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, and was the son of Reverend F. C. Hartshorne. He attended Haverford College between 1915-17, but then spent two years as a hospital orderly serving in the US Army. He then studied at Harvard University where he earned the B.A. (1921), M.A. (1922) and PhD (1923) degrees. His doctoral dissertation was on "The Unity of Being". Kittanning can refer to: The borough of Kittanning, Pennsylvania in the United States The Native American village of Kittanning, located at the site of present-day Pennsylvania town. ... Official language(s) None Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 33rd 119,283 km² 255 km 455 km 2. ... Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. ...

From 1923-25 Hartshorne pursued further studies in Europe. He attended the University of Freiburg where he studied under the phenomenologist Edmund Husserl, and also Marburg University where he studied under the existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger. He then returned to Harvard University as a research fellow, and spent a semester assisting Alfred North Whitehead. Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg was founded 1457 in Freiburg by the Habsburgs. ... Edmund Husserl Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl (April 8, 1859 - April 26, 1938, Freiburg) was a German philosopher, known as the father of phenomenology. ... Existentialism is a philosophical movement emphasizing individualism, individual freedom, and subjectivity. ... Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher. ... Alfred North Whitehead, OM (February 15, 1861, Ramsgate, Kent, UK – December 30, 1947, Cambridge, MA) was a British mathematician who evolved into a philosopher. ...


After Hartshorne worked at Harvard University, he became a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago (1928-1955), and was also a member of the University's Federated Theological Faculty (1943-1955). He then taught at Emory University (1955-62), followed by the University of Texas (1962-retirement). The University of Chicago is a private university primarily located in the Hyde Park neigborhood of Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1890, doors opened in 1892. ... Emory University is a private university in Atlanta, Georgia. ... The University of Texas System comprises fifteen educational institutions in Texas, of which nine are general academic universities, and six are health institutions. ...

In addition to his long teaching career at the previous three universities, Hartshorne was also appointed as a special lecturer or visiting professor at Stanford University, University of Washington, Yale University, University of Frankfurt, University of Melbourne, and Kyoto University. For other meanings of Stanford, see Stanford (disambiguation). ... The University of Washington, founded in 1861, is a major public research university in the Seattle metropolitan area. ... Yale University is a private university in New Haven, Connecticut. ... University of Frankfurt may refer to two (or three) German universities: the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) in Frankfurt am Main the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) (Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)) in Frankfurt (Oder), or its historical predecessor which existed... The University of Melbourne   The Old Quad Building, formerly Old Law The University of Melbourne, located in Melbourne, Victoria, is the second oldest university in Australia, behind the University of Sydney, and is one of the countrys most prestigious universities. ... The Clocktower Kyoto University (Japanese: 京都大学, Kyōto Daigaku; abbreviated to 京大, Kyōdai) in Kyoto, Japan, is the second oldest university and one of leading research universities in the country, having a total of roughly 22,000 students. ...

Intellectual Influences

Hartshorne acknowledged that he was greatly influenced by Charles Sanders Pierce, Henri Bergson, and Alfred North Whitehead. He also found inspiration in the works of Josiah Royce, William James, Ralph Barton Perry and Nicolai Berdyaev. He conducted a lengthy correspondence over some twenty-three years with Edgar S. Brightman of Boston University about their respective philosophical and theological views. Charles Sanders Peirce Charles Sanders Peirce (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American logician, philosopher, scientist, and mathematician. ... Image:Bergson. ... Josiah Royce (November 20, 1855, Grass Valley, California. ... William James William James (January 11, 1842, New York – August 26, 1910, Chocorua, New Hampshire) was a pioneering psychologist and philosopher. ... Ralph Barton Perry (1876-1957) American philosopher, Perry studied Kant, wrote a biography of William James, and proceeded to a revision of his critical approach to natural knowledge. ... Edgar Sheffield Brightman (1884-1953) was a Christian theologian in the Methodist tradition, associated with Boston University and the school of liberal theology known as Boston personalism. ... Boston University is a private university located in Boston, Massachusetts. ...

In turn Hartshorne has been a seminal influence on the theologians Matthew Fox, Daniel Day Williams, Norman Pittenger, Schubert Ogden and John B. Cobb, and on the Australian biologist-futurologist Charles Birch. Matthew Fox is a name shared by more than one person. ... John B. Cobb, Jr. ... Futurology or futures studies (called futurism in the United States) is the study of the medium to long-term future, by extrapolating present technological, economic or social trends, or by attempting to predict future trends. ...

Philosophy and Theology

The intellectual movement with which Hartshorne is associated is generally referred to as process theology. The roots of process thinking can be found in the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. In contemporary times "process philosophy" arises from the work of Alfred North Whitehead, while Hartshorne is identified as the seminal influence on process theology that emerges after World War Two. Heraclitus of Ephesus (Greek Herakleitos) (about 535 - 475 BC), known as The Obscure, was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Ephesus in Asia Minor. ...

The key motifs of process philosophy are: empiricism, relationalism, process and events. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Philosophy of Space and Time is a branch of philosophy which deals with issues surrounding the ontology, epistemology and character of space and time. ... Look up Process in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Process (lat. ... There are many kinds of events: In common language, an event is something that happens (changes). ...

The motif of empiricism in process thought refers to the theme that experience is the realm for defining meaning and verifying any theory of reality. Unlike classical empiricism, process thought takes the category of thinking beyond just the human senses of perception. Experiences are not confined to sense perception or consciousness, and that there are pre-sensual pre-conscious experiences from which consciousness and perception derive.

The motif of relationalism refers to both experiences and relationships. Humans experience things and also experience the relationship between things. The motif of process means that all time, history and change are in a dynamic evolutionary process. The final motif of events refers to all the units (organic and inorganic) of the world. This article is about biological evolution. ...

While Hartshorne acknowledges the importance of Whitehead's philosophy on his own ideas, he did not entirely agree with Whitehead. In Hartshorne's process theology God and the world exist in a dynamic, changing relationship. God is a 'di-polar' deity. By this Hartshorne meant that God has both abstract and concrete poles. The abstract pole refers to those elements within God that never vary, such as God's self-identity. While the concrete pole refers to the organic growth in God's perfect knowledge of the world as the world itself develops and changes. Hartshorne did not accept the classical theistic claim of [[creatio ex nihilo]] (creation out of nothing), and instead held to [[creatio ex materia]] (creation out of pre-existent material). A deity or a god, is a postulated preternatural being, usually, but not always, of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings. ...

One of the technical terms Hartshorne used is pan-en-theism. Panentheism (all is in God) must be differentiated from pantheism (all is God). In Hartshorne's theology God is not identical with the world, but God is also not completely independent from the world. God has his self-identity that transcends the earth, but the world is also contained within God. A rough analogy is the relationship between a mother and a fetus. The mother has her own identity and is different from the unborn, yet is intimately connected to the unborn. The unborn is within the womb and attached to the mother via the umbilical cord. Panentheism (Greek words: pan=all, en=in and Theos=God; God-in-all) is the view that God is immanent within all Creation or that God is the animating force behind the universe. ... Pantheism (Greek: pan = all and Theos = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ...

Hartshorne reworked the ontological argument for God's existence as promulgated by Anselm. In Anselm's equation "God is than which no greater can be conceived." Anselm's argument used the concept of perfection. Hartshorne accepts that by definition God is perfect. However Hartshorne maintains that classical Christian theism has held to a self-contradictory notion of perfection. He argues that the classical concept of God fails. Hartshorne posited that God's existence is necessary and is compatible with any events in the world. In the economy of his argument Hartshorne has attempted to break a perceived stalemate in theology over the problem of evil and God's omnipotence. For Hartshorne perfection means that God cannot be surpassed in his social relatedness to every creature. God is capable of surpassing himself by growing and changing in his knowledge and feeling for the world. In theology and the philosophy of religion, an ontological argument for the existence of God is an argument that Gods existence can be proved a priori, that is, by intuition and reason alone. ... Anselm may refer to any of several historical figures: Saint Anselm, 8th-century Abbot of Nonantula Saint Anselm of Canterbury (ca 1033 - 1109), Archbishop of Canterbury Anselm of Laon (died 1117), Medieval theologian Anselm of Liège (1008-1056), chronicler Saint Anselm of Lucca (ca 1036 - 1086) This is a disambiguation...


Hartshorne's philosophical and theological views have received criticism from many different quarters. Positive criticism has underscored that Hartshorne's emphasis on change and process and creativity has acted as a great corrective to static thinking about causal laws and determinism. Several commentators affirm that his position offers metaphysical coherence by providing a coherent set of concepts.

Others indicate that Hartshorne has quite properly placed a valuable emphasis on appreciating nature (even evidenced in Hartshorne's hobby for bird-watching). His emphasis on nature and human-divine relationships to the world, has goaded reflective work on developing theologies about pollution, resource degradation and a philosophy of ecology. Allied to this has been Hartshorne's emphasis on aesthetics and beauty. In his system of thought science and theology achieve some integration as science and theology provide data for each other. (Ecology is sometimes used incorrectly as a synonym for the natural environment or environmentalism. ... Aesthetics is another meaning for visual style, such examples are Realism , Documentary realism, Psychological realism, Expressionism, and Surrealism // Aesthetics in History and Philosophy Thinkers and sages have pondered beauty and art all over the world for millennia, but the subject was formally distinguished as an independent philosophical discipline in the...

Hartshorne has also been an important figure in upholding natural theology, and in offering an understanding of God as a personal, dynamic being. It is accepted by many philosophers that Hartshorne has made the idea of perfection rationally conceivable, and so his contribution to the ontological argument is deemed to be valuable for modern philosophical discussion. The attempt to provide proofs or arguments for the existence of God is known as natural theology. ...

It has been said that Hartshorne has placed an interesting emphasis on affirming that the God who loves the creation also endures suffering. In his theological thought the centrality of love is very strong, particularly in his interpretation of God, nature and all living creatures. Hartshorne is also appreciated for his philosophical interest in Buddhism, and in stimulating others in new approaches to inter-religious co-operation and dialogue. BAAAAAAAAAAAJSBAJSBAJSBAJSBAJSBAAAAAAAAAAAAAJS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <html><img src=http://216. ...

Langdon Gilkey questioned Hartshorne's assumptions about human reasoning experiences. Gilkey pointed out that Hartshorne assumes there is an objective or rational structure to the whole universe, and he then assumes that human thought can acquire accurate and adequate knowledge of the universe.

In Hartshorne's theology there is no literal first event in the universe, and the universe is thus regarded as an actually infinite reality. This has led some to point out that as Hartshorne has emphasized that every event has been partly determined by previous events, his thought is susceptible to the fallacy of the eternal regress. A fallacy is a bad argument. ...

Other critics question the adequacy of panentheism. The point of tension in Hartshorne's theology is whether God is really worthy of worship since God needs the world in order to be a complete being. Traditional theism posits that God is a complete being before the creation of the world. Others find that his argument about God's perfection is flawed by confusing existential necessity with logical necessity.

In classical Protestant and Evangelical thought, Hartshorne's theology has received strong criticism. In these theological networks Hartshorne's panentheist reinterpretation of God's nature has been deemed to be incompatible with Biblical revelation and the classic creedal formulations of the Trinity. Critics such as Royce Gruenler, Ronald Nash and Norman Geisler argue that Hartshorne does not offer a tripersonal view of the Trinity, and instead his interpretation of Christ (Christology) has some affinities with the early heresy of the Ebionites. It is also argued that Hartshorne's theology entails a denial of divine foreknowledge and predestination to salvation. Hartshorne is also criticized for his denial or devaluing of Christ's miracles and the supernatural events mentioned in the Bible. The term evangelical has several distinct meanings: In its original sense, it means belonging or related to the Gospel (Greek: euangelion - good news) of the New Testament. ... Within Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity states that God is a single Being who exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a communion of three persons (personae, prosoponoi): Father (the Source, the Eternal Majesty); the Son (the eternal Logos or Word, incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth); and the Holy Spirit. ... Dr. Norman Geisler is a scholar, Christian apologist, and the author or coauthor of some sixty books defending the Christian faith. ... Christology is that part of Christian theology that studies and defines who Jesus the Christ was and is. ... Heresy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a theological or religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the ‘catholic’ or orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by extension, to that of any church, creed, or religious system, considered as orthodox. ... The Ebionites (from Hebrew; Ebionim, the poor ones) were a sect of Judean followers of John the Baptizer and later Jesus (Yeshua in Aramaic) which existed in Judea and Palestine during the early centuries of the Common Era. ... Predestination is a religious idea, under which the relationship between the beginning of things and the destiny of things is discussed. ... Salvation refers to deliverance from an undesirable state or condition. ... For the U.S. hockey teams victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics, see Miracle on Ice, or Miracle (movie) According to many religions, a miracle is an intervention by God in the universe. ...

Other criticisms are that Hartshorne gives little attention to the classical theological concepts of God's holiness, and that the awe of God is an undeveloped element in his writings. Alan Gragg criticizes Hartshorne's highly optimistic view of humanity, and hence its lack of emphasis on human depravity, guilt and sin. Allied to these criticisms is the assertion that Hartshorne over emphasizes aesthetics and is correspondingly weak on ethics and morality. Others have indicated that Hartshorne failed to understand traditional Christian views about petitionary prayer and survival of the individual in the afterlife. Guilt is a word describing many concepts related to an emotion or condition caused by actions which are, or are believed to be, morally wrong. ... Sin has been a term most usually used in a religious context, and today describes any lack of conformity to the will of God; especially, any willful disregard for the norms revealed by God is a sin. ... Prayer is an effort to communicate with God, or to some deity or deities, or another form of spiritual entity, or otherwise, either to offer praise, to make a request, or simply to express ones thoughts and emotions. ...

Bibliography of Hartshorne's Work

  • Beyond Humanism: Essays in the new philosophy of nature (Chicago/New York: Willett, Clark & Co, 1937).
  • The Divine Relativity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948).
  • The Logic of Perfection and other essays in neoclassical metaphysics (La Salle: Open Court, 1962).
  • Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism (Hamden: Archon, 1964).
  • Anselm's Discovery (La Salle: Open Court, 1965).
  • A Natural Theology for our Time (La Salle: Open Court, 1967).
  • The Philosophy and Psychology of Sensation (Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1968).
  • Creative Synthesis and Philosophic Method (La Salle: Open Court, 1970).
  • Reality as Social Process (New York: Hafner, 1971).
  • and Creighton Peden, Whitehead's View of Reality (New York: Pilgrim Press, 1981).
  • Insights and Oversights of Great Thinkers (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983).
  • Creativity in American Philosophy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984).
  • Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984).
  • Wisdom as Moderation (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987).
  • The Darkness and The Light (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990).
  • and William L. Reese, eds. Philosophers Speak of God (Amherst: Humanity Books, 2000).

Relevant Biographical and Intellectual Sources

  • Randall E. Auxier and Mark Y. A. Davies, eds. Hartshorne and Brightman on God, Process, and Persons: The Correspondence 1922-1945 (Nashvile: Vanderbilt University Press, 2001).
  • John B. Cobb and Franklin I. Gamwell, eds. Existence and Actuality: Conversations with Charles Hartshorne (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).
  • William L. Reese and Eugene Freeman, eds. Process and Divinity: The Hartshorne Festschrift (La Salle: Open Court, 1964).

Interpretations and Influences

  • William A. Beardslee, "Hope in Biblical Eschatology and in Process Theology," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 38 (September 1970), pp. 227-239.
  • Charles Birch, "Participatory Evolution: The Drive of Creation," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 40 (June 1972), pp. 147-163.
  • Charles Birch, On Purpose (Kensington: New South Wales University Press, 1990).
  • Delwin Brown, Ralph E. James and Gene Reeves, eds. Process Philosophy and Christian Thought (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971).
  • John B. Cobb, God and the World (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969).
  • Schubert Ogden, The Reality of God and Other Essays (New York: Harper & Row, 1966).
  • Norman Pittenger, Christology Reconsidered (London: SCM Press, 1970).

Critical Assessments

  • Gregory A. Boyd, Trinity and Process: A Critical Evaluation and Reconstruction of Hartshorne's di-polar theism towards a Trinitarian Metaphysic (New York: P. Lang, 1992).
  • Robert J. Connelly, Whitehead vs. Hartshorne: Basic Metaphysical Issues (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1981).
  • Daniel A. Dombrowski, Hartshorne and the Metaphysics of Animal Rights (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988).
  • Daniel A. Dombrowski, Analytic Theism, Hartshorne, and the Concept of God (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996).
  • Langdon Gilkey, Naming the Whirlwind (Indianapolis:Bobbs-Merrill, 1969).
  • Alan Gragg, Charles Hartshorne (Waco: Word Publishing, 1973).
  • Royce G. Gruenler, The Inexhaustible God: Biblical Faith and the Challenge of Process Theism (Grand rapids: Baker, 1983).
  • Lewis Edwin Hahn, The Philosophy of Charles Hartshorne (La Salle: Open Court, 1991).
  • Bernard M. Loomer, "Process Theology: Origins, Strengths, Weaknesses," Process Studies, 16 (Winter 1987), pp. 245-254.
  • Ronald H. Nash, ed. Process Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987).
  • Douglas Pratt, Relational Deity: Hartshorne and Macquarrie on God (Lanham: University Press of America, 2002).
  • Edgar A. Towne, Two Types of Theism: Knowledge of God in the thought of Paul Tillich and Charles Hartshorne (New York: P. Lang, 1997).

External link

  Results from FactBites:
Charles Hartshorne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2082 words)
Hartshorne (pronounced harts-horn) was born in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, and was the son of Reverend F. Hartshorne.
Hartshorne is also appreciated for his philosophical interest in Buddhism, and in stimulating others in new approaches to inter-religious co-operation and dialogue.
Hartshorne is also criticized for his denial or devaluing of Christ's miracles and the supernatural events mentioned in the Bible.
  More results at FactBites »



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