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Process Studies

Volume 48, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2019

Palmyre Oomen
Pages 198-218

Language about God in Whitehead's Philosophy
An Analysis and Evaluation of Whitehead's God-Talk

The way Whitehead speaks of God in his "philosophy of organism," and the evaluation thereof is the subject of this article. The background of this issue is the position—broadly shared in theology, and here represented by Aquinas—that one should not speak "carelessly" about God. Does Whitehead violate this rule, or does his language for God express God's otherness and relatedness to the world in a new, intriguing way? In order to answer this question, an introduction into Whitehead's philosophy is given, and especially into his category of existence, the "actual entity." For Whitehead, God is an actual entity, and so is the most trivial puff of existence. His perception of the similarity and greater dissimilarity between God and the worldly actual entities (and clusters thereof) is analyzed. In the main andfinal section of this article, these insights are used as tools to decrypt Whitehead's God-language. Here, I compare the status of Whitehead's and Aquinas's statements about God, discuss Whitehead's ideas concerning the analogical character of concrete language, and argue that in Whitehead's philosophy too there is no discourse about God without a shift or breakdown of the "ordinary" meaning of language

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