General Information

Second International Conference
Beyond Metaphysics?
Transcontinental Explorations in
Alfred North Whitehead's Late Thought

December 4-6, 2008
Claremont Graduate University

The Whitehead Research Project and the Society for the Study of Process Philosophies will hold a major international conference on December 4-6 at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. This event will bring together leading scholars from Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain and Great Britain) and the United States to engage Alfred North Whitehead's late work. The theme will bring participants to explore the question of whether Whitehead's system is completed with Process and Reality, or if instead his metaphysics only comes fully into view in his later works (esp. Adventures of Ideas and Modes of Thought). One could, for instance, argue that Modes of Thought captures his true metaphysics. The goal will be to recognize the differentiation of Whitehead's thought post Process and Reality and to learn to measure it on its own terms.

That such an initiative bears on the advancement of systematic philosophy is evident. An appraisal of the systematic (metaphysical or otherwise) status of the late works of Whitehead raises fascinating questions about the relationship between categoreal frameworks (like that which occurs in Process and Reality), and the experiential grounding and meaning of systematic generalizations (such as occurs in Adventures of Ideas, Modes of Thought, and other late texts and essays). Whitehead seems to have used his post-PR work to extend and test the synoptic adequacy of the system, and to revise, through such testing, the contours of the system itself. This speaks to the viability of systematic thinking, and hence systematic philosophy, in an age that has been suspicious of totalizing, foundational, or resolutely final metaphysical visions. That systematic thinking is legitimately comprehensive and holistic while also open to-and perhaps demanding of-ongoing revision, is perhaps one of the greatest legacies of process thought. This conference will explore these possibilities in depth through an international conversation of scholars with a wide variety of intellectual approaches to Whitehead.

Call For Student Papers

Conference Date:Thurs, 04 Dec 2008 thru Sat, 06 Dec 2008
Location:Claremont, California
Submissions Due:Thurs, 15 Oct 2008

The Whitehead Research Project, in conjunction with the Society for the Study of Process Philosophies, will be hosting “Beyond Metaphysics? Transcontinental Explorations in Alfred North Whitehead’s Late Thought". This international conference will bring together leading scholars from Europe and the United States, and will include a student session to engage with Whitehead’s late work. The theme will ask participants whether in fact Whitehead’s system is completed with Process and Reality or whether his metaphysics only comes fully into view in his later works (esp. Adventures of Ideas and Modes of Thought). The conference will be focused on and around the relationship between categoreal frameworks (such as occurs in Process and Reality), and the experiential grounding and meaning of systemic generalizations in Whitehead’s thought.

Submissions should be presentable in 15 minutes, and must make a philosophical contribution. Please include an abstract of no more than 250 words. All papers and abstracts should be sent to the organizer of the conference, Dr. Roland Faber, no later than October 15th. Submissions should be sent electronically to, and should include:

  1. Your paper (with no identifications of the author within the text)
  2. Abstract (also without identifications)
  3. A separate cover page with your name, paper title, institutional affiliation, telephone number, e-mail address and mailing address.

Call for Papers flyer available here in .pdf format. Please print and post.


Conference Schedule

Thursday, December 4th

6:30—8:00pm General Introduction: Roland Faber (WRP) & Marc Redfield (CGU)
Evening Lectures: J.R. Hustwit (Introduction & Response)
Vincent Colapietro - “Toward a Metaphysics of Expression”
Christoph Kann - “Renewing Speculation: The Systematic Aim of Whitehead’s Philosophic Cosmology”

8:15pm Reception

Friday, December 5th

9:00—10:30am Welcome & Introduction: Nichole Torbitzky
Double Lecture: Randy Ramal (Introduction & Response)
Joachim Klose - “Time and Temporality: From Whitehead to Quantum Physics”
Helmut Maassen - “Contingency and Whitehead’s Metaphysics of Experience”

10:30—11:00am Break

11:00—12:30pm Introduction: Jude Jones (SSPP)
Double Lecture: Max Johnson (Introduction & Response)
Roland Faber - “Immanence and Incompleteness: Whitehead’s Late Metaphysics”
Isabella Palin - “Solomon’s Dream, or the Question of Trust in the Efficacy of Fine Action”

12:30—2:00pm Lunch

2:00—3:45pm Triple Lecture: Daniel Pettus (Introduction & Response)
Dennis Soelch - “Beyond Metaphysics? - A Historiographical Approach to Whitehead’s Speculative Philosophy”
Sebastian Ulrich - “Critical Remarks to the Subjectivist Principle in Whitehead’s Meatphysics”
Jeremy Dunham - “Immanence, Imposition and Observation: Whitehead and the Laws of Nature’’

3:45—4:15pm Break

4:15—5:45pm Introduction: Helmut Maassen (Research in Germany)
Double Lecture: Rob Valenza (Introduction & Response)
Jude Jones - “Provocative Expression: Transitions In and From Metaphysics in Whitehead”
Michael Halewood - “On Value and Values in Later Whitehead (Or - Where did all the eternal objects go?)”

5:45—6:30pm Break & Snacks

6:30—8:00pm Introduction: Brian Henning (Whitehead Publication Project)
Evening Lectures: Philip Clayton (Introdution & Response)
Steven Shaviro - “Self-Enjoyment and Concern”
Stascha Rohmer - “The Self-evidence of Civilization”

8:00pm Dinner for participants

Saturday, December 6th

8:30—9:00am Introduction: J.R. Hustwit (Whitehead Research Interface)

9:00—10:30am Double Lecture: Leemon McHenry (Introduction and Response)
Regine Kather - “The Web of Life and the Constitution of Human Identity: Rethinking Nature as the Main Issue of Whitehead’s late Metaphysics”
Brian G. Henning - “Re-Centering Process Thought: Recovering Beauty in A.N. Whitehead’s Late Work”

10:30—11:00am Break

11:00—12:30pm Claremont Panel: Jude Jones (Moderator)
Panelists: John Cobb, Trisha Famisaran, Deena Lin, Clinton Combs

12:30—1:30pm Lunch

1:45pm International Board of Academic Advisors Meeting

Participants & Papers

Vincent Colapietro (Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA)
Title: "Toward a Metaphysics of Expression" [view/download PDF]
Vincent Colapietro is Liberal Arts Research Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University. His areas of specialization include American philosophy, semiotics, and Charles Sanders Peirce. His most recent book is Fateful Shapes of Human Freedom: John William Miller & The Crises of Modernity (2003). His most recent co-edited volume is John William Miller’s The Task of Criticism: Essays On Philosophy, History, & Community, edited with Joseph P. Fell & Michael J. McGandy (2005). His current projects include Psyches and Their Vicissitudes, an attempt to stage a mutual interrogation between pragmatism and psychoanalysis.

Jeremy Dunham (University of the West of England in U.K., CA)
Title: "Beyond Dogmatic Finality: Whitehead and the Laws of Nature" [view/download PDF]

Roland Faber (Claremont Graduate University, CA)
Title: "Immanence and Incompleteness: Whitehead's Late Metaphysics" [view/download PDF]
Roland Faber is the Founder of the Whitehead Research Project. He is Professor of Process Theology at Claremont School of Theology, and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Claremont Graduate University, also Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies. His fields of research and publication include Systematic Theology; Process Thought and Process Theology; Poststructuralism; Interreligious Discourse, especially Christianity & Buddhism; Comparative Philosophy of Religion; Philosophy, Theology, Spirituality, and Cosmology of the Renaissance; and Mysticism. He has published four books and edited two. Upcoming: God As Poet of the World: Exploring Process Theologies (2008).

Michael Halewood (University of London, GB)
Title: "On Value and Values in later Whitehead (Or - Where did all the eternal objects go?)" [view/download PDF]
Michael Halewood is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Essex, UK, where he is a member of the Centre for Theoretical Studies.  His main areas of interest are the work of A. N. Whitehead, philosophy and social theory, the materiality of subjectivity.  His recent publications include
Being a Sociologist and Becoming a Whiteheadian: Concrescing Methodological Tactics, in Theory, Culture and Society 24:4 (2008) and a collection of papers on Whitehead for Theory, Culture and Society

Brian G. Henning (Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA)
Title: "Re-Centering Process Thought: Recovering Beauty in A. N. Whitehead's Late Work " [view/download PDF]
Brian Henning is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Gonzaga University, the Associate Director of the Society for the Study of Process Philosophies, and Director of Research for the Whitehead Research Project. As Director of Research for the Whitehead Research Project he is facilitating the publication of Whitehead’s work by helping to collect published and unpublished works, secure rights, and edit texts. His scholarship and teaching focus on the interconnections among ethics, metaphysics, and aesthetics. Building on his first book, The Ethics of Creativity: Beauty, Morality, and Nature in a Processive Cosmos (2005), he is currently working on a book that defends a kalocentric, or beauty-centered, approach to global climate change.

Jude Jones (Fordham University, NY)
Title: "Provocative Expression: Transitions In and From Metaphysics in Whitehead's Later Work" [view/download PDF]
Jude Jones teaches philosophy at Fordham University and is director of the Society for the Study of Process Philosophies. Her main areas of interest are the application of process metaphysical models to transforming moral practices;  panpsychism and process models of consciousness; ongoing interests in the role of intensity in describing actuality in a process view. Her major work is Intensity: An Essay In Whiteheadian Cosmology (1998).

Christoph Kann (University of Düsseldorf, Germany)
Title: "Renewing Speculation: The Systematic Aim of Whitehead's Philosophic Cosmology" [view/download PDF]
Christoph Kann teaches Philosophy at Duesseldorf University. His field of research ranges from classical Greek Philosophy, Philosophy of the Middle Ages and Modern Philosophy, especially Analytical Philosophy of Language and Logic. He has published several books, inter alia:  Footnotes to Plato: History of Philosophy in A. N. Whitehead (2001); most recently on Thomas Manlevelt (14th Century). He is a founding member of the German Whitehead Society.

Regine Kather (University of Freiburg, Germany)
Title: "The Web of Life and the Constitution of Human Identity" [view/download PDF]
Regine Kather teaches Philosophy at Freiburg University. Her areas of research include the Philosophy of Natural Sciences, Anthropology and Intercultural Philosophy. She has been lecturing in  the USA, Croatia,  Slovenia, Romania, Japan, and India. She has published seven books, i.a. On Walter Benjamin’s Concept of language;  Orders of Reality: Philosophical Cosmology’s Critique of the Mechanistic Paradigm. She has also written several articles on Spinoza, Leibniz and Whitehead.

Joachim Klose (Educational Society, Dresden, Germany)
Title: "Time and Temporality: from Whitehead to quantum physics" [view/download PDF]
Joachim Klose is head of the Educational Society, Dresden. In this capacity, he covers broad areas of research, reaching from Political Science, Sociology to Philosophy and Theology. His major work so far has been on A. N. Whitehead The Structure of Time in Alfred North Whitehead’s Philosophy (2002).

Helmut Maassen (European Society for Process Thought, Geldern,Germany)
Title: "Contingency and Whitehead's Metaphysics of Experience" [view/download PDF]
Helmut Maassen is an independent scholar. He has taught Philosophy and Religion at several Colleges and Universities  (USA, Germany, India). His areas of research are Indian Philosophy (Gandhi, Ambedkar), Metaphysics, especially Leibniz, Spinoza, Peirce and Whitehead, Philosophy of Religion and Comparative Religion. He has published several books on Whitehead and Peirce. He is the Editor of the European Studies in Process Thought and is recently preparing a German edition of Herbert Wildon Carr’s Cogitans Cogitata. He is a founding member of the German Whitehead Society.

Isabella Palin (University of Leuven; Belgium)
Title: "Solomon's Dream, or the Question of Trust in the Efficacy of Fine Action" [view/download PDF]
Isabella Palin obtained her Master's degree in the History of Philosophy from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 1996, and is now a doctoral student in Philosophy at the Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte of the Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, Belgium. She is studying the theme of becoming in Alfred North Whitehead and Gilles Deleuze under the guidance of Prof. André Cloots and Prof. Isabelle Stengers. Isabella Palin is also a translator and language teacher. Recent Publication: The Meaning and Use of Abstraction in Whitehead. In Deleuze, Whitehead and the Transformation of Metaphysics (2005).

Stascha Rohmer (Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, and Madrid, Spain)
Title: "The Self-evidence of Civilisation" [view/download PDF]
Stascha Rohmer taught Philosophy at Humboldt University, Berlin. At present  he is a European Research Scholar at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científícas , Madrid (Spain). He has edited and translated Ortega y Gassetts’ Writings on Metaphysics and Lebens-Philosophy and Whitehead’s Modes of Thought; two books have been published by him so far:  Whitehead’s Synthesis of Creativity and Rationality and Love  - Future of an Emotion. He is currently working on a book on Hegel and Whitehead.

Steve Shaviro (Wayne State University, Detroit)
Title: "Self-Enjoyment and Concern" [view/download PDF]
Steven Shaviro is the DeRoy Professor of English at Wayne State University. He is the author of The Cinematic Body (1993), Doom Patrols: A Theoretical Fiction About Postmodernism (1997), and Connected, Or, What it Means to Live in the Network Society (2003), as well as numerous essays about film, video and new media, science fiction, cultural theory, and contemporary American popular culture. His new book, Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aestetics is forthcoming from MIT Press in 2009.

Dennis Soelch (University of Duesseldorf, Germany)
Title: "A Historiographical Approach to Whitehead's Speculative Philosophy" [view/download PDF]

Sebastian Ulrich (University of Eichstätt, Germany )
Title: "Critical Remarks to the Subjectivist Principle in Whitehead's Metaphysics" [view/download PDF]
Sebastian Ullrich teaches Philosophy at the University of Eichstätt. He has taught on Classical Philosophy, Fichte and Hegel. His Master’s thesis was on Whitehead, Creativity and Anticipation as fundamental terms in Whitehead’s Concept of Process. He has just finished his PhD thesis on The Function of Philosophical Knowledge in Ernst Cassirer’s Metaphysics of Symbolism. He is a founding member of the German Whitehead Society.



Registration Fee: Entire Conference ($125) | Daily Rate ($50/day)

Registration provides the following: participation in the non-public portions of the conference, the opportunity to engage in the discussions of the panelists, snacks and lunch each day, and a conference packet with a copy of each of the papers written by the panelists.

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Organizers & Sponsors

Whitehead Research Project
The Whitehead Research Project (WRP) is dedicated to the research of, and scholarship on, the texts, philosophy and life of Alfred North Whitehead. It explores and analyzes the relevance of Whitehead's thought in dialogue with contemporary philosophies in order to unfold his philosophy of organism and its consequences for our time and in relation to emerging philosophical thought. Of particular interest is the investigation into the emergence of Whitehead's philosophy in the context of British and American pragmatism, its complicated relation to Continental philosophy and the analytic tradition, the relevance of his thought in the discourse of post-modern paradigms of deconstruction and post-structuralism, and its creative impulse for developing process philosophies. Additionally, following Whitehead's own inclination to reach beyond European modes of thought, WRP seeks to extend its horizon of research by fostering similar conversations with strains of Indian and East Asian thought, thereby exhibiting de facto mutual influence–e.g., with the Kyoto School of Buddhist philosophy. [visit website]

Society for the Study of Process Philosophies
Founded in 1966, SSPP was one of the first satellite organizations of the American Philosophical Association. The Society is a group of scholars in philosophy and related fields with a specialty or interest in process thought. The Society holds periodic meetings in conjunction with each of the divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association, as well as at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. [visit website]

Hocking-Cabot Fund for Systematic Philosophy
The HCF supports this conference in its efforts to advance contemporary study and discussion of Systematic Philosophy as championed for posterity by Richard Hocking.

Logistics & Contact Information

Conference Location
The conference will be held in Albrecht Auditorium (in Stauffer Hall) on the campus of Claremont Graduate University. Click here for a map of and directions to campus, a google map, or a mapquest map.

Hotel Information
Either of the following hotels should be able to nicely accommodate most any of your needs: The Doubletree Hotel Claremont or the Hotel Claremont & Tennis Club. The Doubletree is within walking distance of campus, but both are equally recommended. Shuttle service to and from the airport is available, and service to and from CGU will be provided for conference registrants.

Offline Contact Information
Whitehead Research Project
Attn: Beyond Metaphysics? Conference
1325 North College Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711
Phone: (909) 621-5330
Fax: (909) 621-2760

Our office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST.

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