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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 76, Issue 3, Summer 2002

Lewis S. Ford
Pages 491-502
DOI: 10.5840/acpq200276312

Can Thomas and Whitehead Complement Each Other?

Two essays relating Thomas and Whitehead have recently appeared. Coming To Be by James W. Felt, S.J., modifies Thomas by replacing his substantial form with Whitehead’s notion of subjective aim, the essencein-the-making introduced by God to guide the occasion’s act of coming into being. Felt also substitutes subjective aim for matter as the means of individuation. This is one of Whitehead’s individuating principles, although a case can be made that matter (the multiplicity of past actualities as proximate matter) is another. “God and Creativity” by Stephen T. Franklin develops a reconciliation of these two ultimates by conceiving of God as the source of creativity, and seeing creativity in terms of the Thomistic esse. In my reflections on this project I explore four alternatives with respect to the source of creativity: (a) creativity as derived from the past; (b) creativity as inherent in the present; (c) God as the source of transitional creativity (Franklin); (d) God as the source of concrescent creativity (Ford). The last two differ with respect to being’s relation to becoming. Does being undergird becoming, or does becoming bring about being, such that apart from it there would be no being? Our theory of creation depends upon this question.

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