Process Philosophy: A Survey of Basic Issues

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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. This is a thoughtful, well-written, and illuminating book. Highly recommended.”


“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.”

—Jude P. Dougherty, Catholic University of America

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.”

—Robert Francis Almeder, Georgia State University

Rescher (philosophy, U. of Pittsburgh) was first introduced to process philosophy in 1949, and devoted a book to it in 1977. This slim volume is a mature distillation by the philosopher, in which he takes to task the notion that this theory must always refer to the work of A.N. Whitehead, and argues for its broader theoretical history and applications, tracing aspects of it in the work of Heracleitus, Leibniz, Peirce, and William James. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822961284
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Rescher is Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh and chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. He is the author or editor of more than one hundred books, including Aporetics: Rational Deliberation in the Face of Inconsistency and Ignorance (On the Wider Implications of Deficient Knowledge).

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
1 The Promise of Process Philosophy 3
2 The Idea of Process 22
3 The Revolt against Process 33
4 Human Agency as Process 48
5 Cognitive Processes and Scientific Progress 59
6 The Cognitive Process and Metaphysical Realism 91
7 Process Philosophy and Historicist Relativism 107
8 Process Philosophy and Monadological Metaphysics 123
Notes 133
Name Index 143
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