Process Philosophy: Via Idearum or Via Negativa?

In Michel Weber (ed.), After Whitehead: Rescher on Process Metaphysics. Frankfort: Ontos. pp. 223-266 (2004)
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Nicholas Rescher’s way of understanding process philosophy reflects the ambitions of his own philosophical project and commits him to a conceptually ideal interpretation of process. Process becomes a transcendental idea of reflection that can always be predicated of our knowledge of the world and of the world qua known, but not necessarily of reality an sich. Rescher’s own taxonomy of process thinking implies that it has other variants. While Rescher’s approach to process philosophy makes it intelligible and appealing to mainstream analytic philosophy, it leaves behind the more daring ideas of Bergson, James, and Whitehead, all of whom envisioned the primordial reality of process in a radical ontology of becoming. This variant of process thought can be construed as coherent and self-consistent, but not without relinquishing the correspondence theory of truth and embracing challenging ideas that bring us in close proximity to existentialism, apophatic theology, and Buddhism.

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Anderson Weekes
Fairfield University


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