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By Charles Hartshorne

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Extra info for Aquinas to Whitehead: seven centuries of metaphysics of religion

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In Plato's Republic, deity is defined as "perfect," meaning possessed of a value or worth so great that no increase or improvement would be conceivable, and no de- Page 5 crease either, since the possibility of such corruption would be a defect. ) In the Timaeus, the concept of World Soul (the ''moving image of eternity") seems somehow exempt from the foregoing reasoning and to come only as close to unchanging perfection as possible while not quite attaining it. According to Cornford, the World Soul is Plato's real deity and is to be taken more seriously than the demiurge, the latter being a mythical figureor a mere abstraction, the rational element in the World Soul.

I agree with him and themwith qualifications. Gilson once wrote that Saint Thomas "never doubted" the axioms of his thinking. " In philosophy no axioms have standing unless and until the possibility has been seriously considered that they are at best merely plausible, rather than genuinely self-evident and certain. We have had too many illustrations of the risks of axiomatic assertion to dispense with caution at this point. I shall now give an example of a seemingly self-evident truth which for two thousand years escaped critical examination, but which proved quite vulnerable once it had been so examined.

It means that whereas traditional theology other Page 41 than Berkeleyan had to relate God to two sorts of entities, minds and mere bodies, process theology needs to consider only the first. Moreover, the relation is intelligible by the very principle that explains the relations of memory and perception to their data in created minds. We are influenced by the personal and impersonal past because we intuit them. We are influenced by God because we intuit God. ") In process philosophy we, or the created minds, influence God for the same reason, that is, God intuits, or, in Whitehead's phrase, "prehends" them.

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