According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Saturday, March 28, 2020

John Cobb - Whitehead's Process & Reality, Part II





After a lifetime of mathematics and developing the prodigious tome "Principia Mathematica" with Bertrand Russell, Whitehead went on to develop a holistic cosmology of interconnectedness, relationality, and the idea of process in his treatise, Process & Reality. This he did starting at the age of 63 and completing the project by age 68. Now that is what I call a PRODUCTIVE retirement! No pickleball, golf, or other time wasters; instead, a full, working production of process philosophy. Who'd of thought? Or, "What else is retirement for?" - re slater 


PART I - THE SPECULATIVE SCHEME

TABLE OF CONTENTS 


Chapter II. The Categoreal Scheme 18
  • I. Four Notions, namely, Actual Entity, Prehension, Nexus, the Ontological Principle; Descartes and Locke; Philosophy Explanatory of Abstraction, Not of Concreteness. 
  • II. The Four Sets of Categories; The Category of the Ultimate; Conjunction and Disjunction; Creativity, the Principle of Novelty, Creative Advance; Togetherness, Concrescence; Eight Categories of Existence; Twenty-Seven Categories of Explanation. 
  • III. Nine Categoreal Obligations. 
  • IV. Preliminary Notes; Complete Abstraction Self-Contradictory; Principles of Unrest and of Relativity; Actual Entities never Change; Perishing of Occasions and Their Objective Immortality; Final Causation and Efficient Causation; Multiplicities; Substance. 

hapter III. Some Derivative Notions 31
  • I. Primordial Nature of God; Relevance, the Divine Ordering; Consequent Nature of God; Creativity and Its Acquirement of Character; Creatures, Objective Immortality, Appetition, Novelty, Relevance; Appetition and Mentality, Conceptual Prehensions, Pure and Impure Prehensions; Synonyms and Analogies, namely, Conceptual Prehension, Appetition, Intuition, Physical Purpose, Vision, Envisagement. 
  • II. Social Order, Defining Characteristic, Substantial Form; Personal Order, Serial Inheritance, Enduring Object; Corpuscular Societies. 
  • III. Classic Notion of Time, Unique Seriality; Continuity of Becoming, Becoming of Continuity, Zeno; Atomism and Continuity; Corpuscular and Wave Theories of Light. 
  • IV. Consciousness, Thought, Sense-Perception are Unessential Elements in an Instance of Experience. 





STUDIES WITH JOHN B. COBB
Alfred North Whitehead, Process & Reality

Notes from Session 2

*Disclaimer. These are my notes from reading and listening to
John Cobb which may not truly reflect his learned positions or sentiments
built over a lifetime of study and interaction with historic material.


CHAPTER II - THE CATEGOREAL SCHEME

pg 18 - 20
Process of Organism ---> refers to ---> Process Philosophy

Whitehead - All things are sentient (sic, panpsychism)

Open & Relational Process Theology (ORPT) - All things are panexperiential
thus removing sentience from Whitehead's inorganic matter


1 - Actual Entities / Actual Occassion  (BEING)

- for myself, I think of this as "Being and Event" as used by French Philosopher Alain Baidou
  • Involves most elemental and relational realities
  • Creates:
  • gradations of complexity,
  • diversities of function, and
  • interdependencies
  • Consists of transitory connections and experiences
  • Are processes of concrescence (a growing together, an evolving en masse)

2 - Prehensions (EVENT)
  • The process of becoming (through vectoring),
  • Vectorin are the relational connections affecting process and event,
  • Creates future occasions for becoming

3 - Nexus or Nexi (EVENT)
  • An aggregate of Actual Events / Actual Occassions
  • Refers to networks of connected relationships
  • Bespeaks organisms as "complex societies"
  • Process: Complex Societies --> Transmuting --> Incoming & Outgoing Prehensions
  • An endless panentheistic cycle between reality and eternal objects; the former defining the other; the latter enhancing the former's perception.

4 - Ontological Principle of Purposeful Teleology (PURPOSE)
  • Actual entitites and actual occassions move teleologically towards purpose (sic, "becoming")
  • Reality creates eternal objects; eternal objects reflect reality

Summary
  • "Being" - Actualities form by interdependent relationships
  • "Event" - prehensive processes of occasions joining and disjoining from one another
  • "Teleology" - outcomes of concrescence towards more concrescence


SECTION II - THE CATEGORIES

pp 20 - 26

1 - Category of the Ultimate - How all the categories relate one with the other in their parts and together as a whole: existence, explanation, and obligations. Together they define creativity, relational commonality in vast interconnected communities of everlasting becoming, and all driving towards enhancement of the primordial occassion yearning for more expression. It is how the one and the many interact. Or, how the many enters into complex unity with itself always striving for creative advance of wellbeing, wholesome novelty, amid diverse disjunctions and conjunctions with itself.
The ultimate metaphysical principle is the advance from disjunction to conjunction, creating i) a novel entity other than the entities given in disjunction. The novel entity is at once ii) the togetherness of the many which it finds, and also iii) it is one among the disjunctive many which it leaves; iv) it is a novel entity, disjunctively among the many entities white it synthesizes. v) The many become one, and the are increased by one. vi) In their natures, entities are disjunctively many in process of passage into conjunctive unity. "This Category of the Ultimate" thus replaces Aristotole's category of "Primary Substance." - ANW
In this way "the production of novel togetherness" is the ultimate notion embodied in the term "concrescence." It begins with creativity (or, novelty) expanding towards "concrete togetherness" to form a concrescing "moment of becoming" restlessly evolving in everlasting agony of expression. - res

pp 20 - 22

2 - Eight Categories of Existence
  • 1 - Actual Entities / Actual Occassions / Final Realities / Res Verae
  • 2 - Prehensions
  • 3 - Nexi (plural of Nexus)
  • 4 - Subjective forms
  • 5 - Eternal Objects / Pure Potentials
  • 6 - Propositions
  • 7 - Multiplicities
  • 8 - Contrasts / Modes of Synthesis of Entities in one Prehension/ Patterned Entities

For the Greeks, "atomism" constituted their outlook on how the world might be broken down into its constituent elements, or elemental parts. This outlook would be deemed a materialistic, mechanical, or representational form of philosophy. The goal is to find the most indivisible element of a thing.

Ex 1. "molecule" --> "atom" --> "quantum particles" --> "dimensional vibrations of a string"

Ex 2. Force/Energy --> primary quark or string --> never static, always in motion, always relational

In the example are objects being broken downwards into greater and greater elemental forms until at last the most basic object becomes an interrelation of events within a wave-particle composite refusing further separation due to our inability of technology to explore any deeper. Which begs the question, at an "objects" deepest base can be found an "event"; and that throughout this downward journey of examination each object is part of a greater complex of events resulting in the end as event within itself. This is what Whitehead observes as the necessity to look at our world in terms of a process-based dynamism always evolving, changing, seeking, blowing up, discontinuing, coming together, continuing en masse, and so on.

This further means that there can be not "vacuous actualties" or events in that no one object can be isolated unto itself and expect that object to yet carry meaning. Meaning, or identity, is only found in relationship with other objects. And that all objects are a misnomer of term since all objects consist in themselves an embodied relationship of relationships. That all things are ever process while being in process with themselves and other causal relational "objects". There can therefore never exist an actuality in vacuous disunity with its enviroment. There are only, and always, non-vacuous actualities always in motion, always, in stages of becoming, always conjoined with its external environment which is also in fluid motion and restless flux of becoming.

Select Explanations of Categories of Existence from #1-8

1. Acutal Entities or Acutal Occasions - each are descriptions of the same process used to describe a process as the term fits the observation

Actual Occasions are always constituted by the past world from which they are formed. The entity is always in stages of becoming and is always in process with surround events as it morphs and concrescses towards another entity or occasion.

AE(1) --> AE(2) --> AE(3) --> ... --> AE(N)

where each "aarow" is an "event" [E(1) --> E(2) --> E(3) --> ... --> E (N)]

2. Prehension - The preceding moment of experience affecting a succeeding experience in the formation of an actual entity / occassion. "An actuality is prehended in the constructs of past prehensions." The entirety of this process is known as "concrescence."

No two actualities or events may occupy the same space at the same time. However, one actuality or event, may enter into, and participate with, the becoming of another actuality or event. All actualities or events evolve from a past world of actualities and events.

Process-Relational Panentheism Diagram

Question?

  • Theism - Ex Nihilo Creation out of nothing; God is separate from creation
  • Pantheism - creation is everlasting; God and creation area the same thing
  • Panentheism - Ex Continuum Creation out of something (chaos); God is integral with creation
  • Process Relational Panentheism - God as "One" with creation as "the many" each bound together with the other in the process of becoming; affecting and affectuating each other

God IS (as the Ultimate Actuality/Event) -->

                             Becoming of succeeding actualities / events = Creation -->

                                                              Evolves (evolution) in timeless becoming --> Concrescence


Causality must always be seen as a process. As such, we are always experiencing the causality of our immediate past which then affects our immediate present. In effect, we are prehended by our environment which influences us internally and externally by its external affects upon us.

Our sensory experiences cannot include casuality (unless in its more obscure form). That is, we perceive moment-by-moment, whereas we "feel" the whole of our perceptions.

Ex. We listen to a symphony from note to note, expression to expression, section to section, in moments of expression. However, we "feel" a symphony throughout the entirety of its concert as each note prehends the notes ahead of it. Our senses comprehend the moment but our being comprehends the wholeness of our sensory absorptions.

In sum, a prehension begins the initial phase of the occassion. As example, the past world was prehended and absorbed into the present world. There then exists infinite prehensive moments of possibilities from which one prehensive moment became actuated. Another example, the mind prehends all of its neuronic structure before acting from one neuronic connection.

As evolution's mechanism is to the adaptation of life to survive regardless of environmental conditions. Though many claim evolution has no purpose, its overall drive is its purpose. A mechanism expressing life in every way possible and in every environment provided. Similarly, process philosophy's mechanism is that of life becoming in whatever form or fashion it may become. This too is succinctly its purpose. Like evolution, process philosophy has a teleology. That of becoming. And if expressed in theistic terms, than the God of creation has granted from His Being, or Essence, that which is Himself. A Being of becoming. Life Father, like Son, like creation. Nothing can exist as bare mechanism alone.

Further, creation's participation in the Divine drives itself towards holism, greater becoming, greater values of the mechanism expressed (not decreed, but expressed; there's a difference). Participation in and with the Divine provides as outcome fellowship, communion, and synergy between the parts with the whole, and the whole with its parts. All are one, living, dynamic or unity seeking concrescence.

Again, from a Processed-based Theological perspective,

God has:

  • prehended an actuality
  • introduced into creation the goal of being and becoming (or, being & event)
  • introduced an intensity of force to be as effective as possible
  • introduced the achievement/advancement of value for both past and future

Similarly, man is part of this same creative mechanism, or purpose. We are called to become as valuable as we can so that in the achievement of that goal we gain greater intensity towards becoming even more valuable as a prehended and prehending entity or occassion moving towards a concrescing future. In this way creation reflects God as God reflects creation in its essence.

  • Example 1 - We need to love ourselves but also to equally love others and let it grow
  • Example 2 - We may generate value beyond ourselves into humanity and creation


Platonism v Whitehead

Plato dealt in idealisms or idealistic forms of the cosmos; Whitehead was more interested in the forms themselves and not eternal idealisms. For Plato, eternal forms influenced worldly events; For Whitehead, actualities influenced eternal forms. He considered eternal objects unreal creative expressions of observed actualities. From these entities or occasion might larger lessons or ideas be drawn, but they are not real in themselves. Only the actualities are.

Considered another way, eternal objects cannot have an efficacy in the cosmos. Ontologically, modernity removed the idea of eternality and became even more secular in itself having lost its call forwards. The call forward is the concrescing lure towards something more. Something greater. Something better. This is the promise of the future for creation and evolving beings.

God as Caller --> Calls Forward --> A new occasion is begotten --> Call forward --> etc

As an aside, Heidegger said that "the Self calls Self forward" which showed both his atheism and background as a phenomenologist seen as a secular event. It also explained his attraction to Nazism. Whitehead, however, stated that authenticity demands that God calls creation forward; He, who is the Cosmic Caller calling everything forward that is and is becoming. In this way harmony of organism, balance, morality, value, etc, are not lost to unbecoming events.

pg 22

3. Nexi - Are "public matters of fact" meaning, every actuality is both complexity of organism as well as interrelated organism to a greater complexity of organism than itself. Whitehead thought of this as "facts" which relate to a "public" space. As example, wooden tables, the trees, our bodies, even the stars form societies of complex organism. As tables come from trees, and our bodies from star dust, so each is part of a greater complex of the whole. They are facts which have become public matters.

4. Subjective Forms - In contrast to nexi, there are also "private matters of fact" focusing on the actuality itself.

Past Occasion --> Is prehended ----> Shapes the Occasion --> Generates a new entity or occasion
                              and prehending                                                                                                          

This last stage cannot be repeated or share the same space of a past occasion. The form must always be unique, which parallels the thought of space-time novelty. Nothing is ever the same. Perhaps similar, but never the same. Example - a snowflake or an atom's interior space.

5 - Eternal Objects - not discussed; refer to text

6 - Propostions - not discussed; refer to text

7 - Multiplicities - not discussed; refer to text

8 - Contrasts - refers to intensity of occasion. As the past is renacted into the present, so too the whole becomes more unified from what it was. This then creates an intensity of affected entity towards the evolving future occasion. This goes back to the idea that we always think our future will be better than our past however true or untrue that may be in a freewill, self-expressing, inderterminate universe.

"Among the eight categories of existence, actual entities and eternal objects stand out with a certain extreme finality. The other types of existence have a certain intermediate character. The eighth category includes an indefinite progression of categories, as we proceed from 'contrasts' to 'contrasts of contrasts,' and on to indefinitely higher grades of contrasts." - ANW

From contrasts come modes of synthesis: A + B = AB

Example: Beliefs (A) + Contrasted Input (B) --> produce --> Synthesis (AB)

* B = new, perhaps enriching meaning

Contrasts are stimuli for thought, increased sensibility, increased sensitivity, and increase openness among other things.


3 - Twenty-Seven Categories of Explanation

  • 01 - The actual world is a process in the becoming of actual entities
  • 02 - The actual entity is the real concrescence of many potentials
  • 03- Concrescence involves many processes:
  • novel prehensions
  • nexi
  • propositions
  • multiplicities
  • contrasts
  • but there are no novel eternal objects
  • 04- For every entity lies the potential for concrescence / becoming
  • 05 - No two actual entities originate from an identical universe
  • 06 - There lies a multiplicity of mode but only one modal outcome
  • 07 - Eternal objects may be postscriptively described as pure potentials without birthing actual entities
  • 08 - An actual entity requires an internal object and an external process
  • 09 - The combination of object and process creates a unique actual entity
  • 10 - An actual entity's concrete elements are a result of a concrescence of prehensions.
  • 11 - Every prehension has a prehending subject, a prehended datum, and an resulting subject
  • 12 - Prehensions may be either positive or negative re operative or inoperative datum
  • 13 - Subjective forms may be many things: emotions, valuations, purposes, adversions, aversions, consciousness, etc
  • 14 - A nexus consists of two or more actual entities related by a prehension of the other
  • 15 - A proposition is the unity of actual entities in their potential for forming a nexus with each other; further, propositions may be partially defined by their relatedness to an eternal object
  • 16 - A multiplicity consists of many entities unified by several features: Specific reference to its community of entities small or complex or voided by having no community at all
  • 17 - A complex datum has unity if it is a pertinently linked community of entities
  • 18 - The ontological principle of process must have efficiency, finality, and causation.
  • 19 - Fundamental types of entities are i) actual entities, and ii) eternal objects; all others express either or both of those types
  • 20 - Function refers to determination of the entities into the nexus of some actual world
  • 21 - An entity is actual if it has significance for itself which functions to its own determination. It requires self-identity and self-diversity.
  • 22 - Process function has different roles in self-formation without losing self-identity: self-creation, coherent transformation. Thus, "becoming" is the transformation of incoherence into coherence.
  • 23 - Self-functioning is the internal constitution of an actual entity. It brings to itself immediacy so that it is the subject of its own immediacy.
  • 24 - Objectification occurs with a functioning entity provides to another the act of self-creation. Eternal objects ingress upon the actual entity [while actual entities express an eternal object]
  • 25 - The final phase of concrescence of an entity "satisfies" its self-creation: determinative, objective, and either a positive or negative prehension
  • 26 - Every object of concrescence is towards "final satisfaction"
  • 27 - Concrescence has several phases wherein new prehensions arise by integration with antecedent prehensions. In this way the flow of panexperientialism is passed from one entity to another, and from one event to another, each leading towards one determinate integral satisfaction [never "final" but always progressing forwards from prehension to concrescence to actuality


SECTION III - THE CATEGORIES

pp 26 - 28

4 - Nine Categoreal Obligations

  1. The Category of Subjective Unity
  2. The Category of Objective Identity
  3. The Category of Objective Diversity
  4. The Category of Conceptual Valuation
  5. The Category of Conceptual Reversion
  6. The Category of Transmutation
  7. The Category of Subjective Harmony
  8. The Category of Subjective Intensity
  9. The Category of Freedom and Determination

9 - Freedom and Determination - an actual occasion is i) internally determined in its purpose towards concrescence but, ii) is externally free to re-determine its choice or direction.

"The concrescence of each individual actual entity is
internally determined and is externally free." - ANW



SECTION IV - SUMMARY

pp 28 - 30

*Skipped by John Cobb. Starts Chapter 3 which will be carried on in our discussion in Part III.


All is original. Every moment of becoming is perpetually
birthing a new creativity that is novel and becoming - res