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By Charles Hartshorne
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Extra resources for Aquinas to Whitehead: seven centuries of metaphysics of religion
Gilson once wrote that we should all make our choice between Aquinas and Kant. He fails to show and could not show that these two thinkers exhaust the reasonable possibilities. They both share a concept of substance which the Buddhists had criticized effectively over a thousand Page 45 years before. They both define God in essentially the same way, by analogy, but with the requirement that there be no possibility of change, no unactualized but actualizable potentiality, in his reality. Of course, there must be analogical aspects in the idea, but is it analogy to turn things upside down, as one must do to have as what corresponds to knowing in God the very opposite of what it is in creatures?
In combination with the first point, the second makes sense only on the supposition that mind as such is purely actual, so that something else is needed to constitute potentiality. To some of us this seems a very odd idea of mind, with its sense of past and future, the former as already definite and beyond influence, the latter as in principle partly indeterminate but determinable and even now in process of Page 37 being further determined. What is potentiality but this determinable indeterminacy of the future?
What is mind apart from the process of experiencing the already determined past and evaluating and deciding options for the future? Mind is activity, thinking, feeling, remembering, planning, decidingand this activity is in principle both actuality and possibility. Does it really help to illuminate experiencing to suppose bits of mere stuff, or mere somethings, persisting through it? However, common sense and many philosophers point to what seems good evidence that insentient somethings exist. , rocks, gases, liquids, the earth; but these are aggregates of invisibly minute entities to which the criteria for absolute insentience do not apply.