Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Reading Process and Reality (02)

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology (Gifford Lectures 1927-28, Corrected Edition), ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, New York: The Free Press, 1978.

Philosophy and Religion
Philosophy frees itself from the taint of ineffectiveness by its close relations with religion and with science, natural and sociological. It attains its chief importance by fusing the two, namely, religion and science, into one rational scheme of thought. Religion should connect the rational generality of philosophy with the emotions and purposes springing out of existence in a particular society, in a particular epoch, and conditioned by particular antecedents. Religion is the translation of general ideas into particular thoughts, particular emotions, and particular purposes; it is directed to the end of stretching individual interest beyond its self-defeating particularity. Philosophy finds religion, and modifies it; and conversely religion is among the data of experience which philosophy must weave into its own scheme. Religion is an ultimate craving to infuse into the insistent particularity of emotion that non-temporal generality which primarily belongs to conceptual thought alone. In the higher organisms the differences of tempo between the mere emotions and the conceptual experiences produce a life-tedium, unless this supreme fusion has been effected. The two sides of the organism require a reconcilation in which emotional experiences illustrate a conceptual justification, and conceptual experiences find an emotional illustration. (15-16)