In this major study, Nicholas Rescher examines the historical origins of the domestic movement known as "process philosophy," exploring in depth its contribution to an understanding of nature and human nature. Process Philosophy is a carefully researched and much-needed review by one of the foremost philosophers in North America. This well-crafted volume will be a valuable contribution to the literature.
Process Philosophy surveys the basic issues and controversies surrounding the philosophical approach known as “process philosophy.” Process philosophy views temporality, activity, and change as the cardinal factors for our understanding of the real—process has priority over product, both ontologically and epistemically. Rescher examines the movement’s historical origins, reflecting a major line of thought in the work of such philosophers as Heracleitus, Leibniz, Bergson, Peirce, William James, and especially A. N. Whitehead. Reacting against the tendency to associate process philosophy too closely with this last-named thinker, Rescher writes, “Indeed, one cardinal task for the partisans of process at this particular juncture of philosophical history is to prevent the idea of ‘process philosophy’ from being marginalized through a limitation of its bearing to the work and influence of any one single individual or group.” This book will appeal to both students and professors of philosophy. Those teachers who have not been trained in process philosophy will welcome this new text by one one of North America’s foremost philosophers as a perspicuous and informative introduction.
Nicholas Rescher's Process Philosophy is fascinating reading, and makes a fine case for process philosophy, a subject in dramatic need of explication and application. As a positive reconstruction of process philosophy at its best, the book is a veritable tour de force. No one can read the book without coming to an appreciation of the force and relevance of process philosophy for contemporary philosophical discourse.
What emerges from Rescher's work is a picture of process philosophy that is very "broad church" but one that does not admit eternal verities, such as unchanging Platonic universals. Rescher's process philosophy shades off into such areas as philosophy of action, philosophy of science, and philosophy of technology. . . . This is a thoughtful, well-written, and illuminating book. Highly recommended.
Nicholas Rescher is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh and co-chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has served as president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association, the Leibniz Society of North America, the Charles S. Peirce Society, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the Metaphysical Society of America. Rescher is the author or editor of more than one hundred books, including Ignorance (On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge), Philosophical Inquiries: An Introduction to Problems of Philosophy, and A Journey through Philosophy in 101 Anecdotes.