Whitehead & Teilhard: Convergences, Divergences, Integrations
A conference co-sponsored by The Center for Process Studies, Center for Christogenesis and Connelly Chair of Villanova University September 21-23, 2023.
Conference Vision and Rationale
The respective work of Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) and Pierre Teilhard De Chardin (1881-1955) continue to inspire distinctive trajectories in modern process philosophy and theology. Although contemporaries for a time, both men were unable to benefit from each other’s vast visions of reality. Yet a shared indebtedness to Bergson’s temporal metaphysics and a commitment to incorporate new advances of the sciences—evolutionary biology and quantum and relativity theory in particular—would stimulate deeply resonant vectors in their thought. Nevertheless, Whitehead and Teilhard continue to be studied largely independent of each other’s contributions. The time has come to fill this scholarly lacuna with deliberate efforts aimed at creative mutual transformation. What results when Whitehead and Teilhard meet? What do they each offer the other such that a mutual deepening might take place? This conference draws together Whitehead and Teilhard scholars to advance the possibilities and relevance of process philosophy and theology through an integrative encounter between these two foundational figures.
Andrew M. Davis, PhD is an American process philosopher, theologian, and scholar of the cosmos. He is program director for the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of theology where he researches, writes, and organizes conferences on various aspects of process-relational thought. An advocate of metaphysics and meaning in a hospitable universe, he approaches philosophy as the endeavor to systematically think through what reality must be like because we are a part of it. He is an author, editor and co-editor of several books including Mind, Value, and Cosmos: On the Relational Nature of Ultimacy which was nominated for the International Society of Science and Religion’s 2022 Book Prize. Follow his work at https://www.andrewmdavis.info/.
Catherine Keller, PhD is George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology in The Graduate Division of Religion, Drew University. She works amidst the tangles of ecosocial, pluralist, feminist philosophy of religion and theology—and always as a process thinker. Her books include Face of the Deep; On the Mystery; Cloud of the Impossible; Political Theology of the Earth. She has co-edited several volumes of the Drew Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium, most recently Political Theology on Edge: Ruptures of Justice and Belief in the Anthropocene. Her latest monograph is Facing Apocalypse: Climate, Democracy and Other Last Chances.
Daniel Dombrowski, Phd is Professor of Philosophy at Seattle University. Among his twenty-two books are Rethinking the Ontological Argument: A Neoclassical Theistic Perspective; Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals; Process Philosophy and Political Liberalism: Rawls, Whitehead, Hartshorne; and most recently Process Mysticism. He is Editor of the journal Process Studies and is Past-President of the Metaphysical Society of America. Email: email@example.com
Donald Wayne Viney, Phd earned degrees in philosophy from Colorado State University (BA, 1977) and the University of Oklahoma (MA, 1979 and PhD, 1982). He is the first three-time recipient of the title of University Professor at Pittsburg State University (Kansas) having taught philosophy and religion at PSU from 1984 until 2022 before becoming Professor Emeritus. Professor Viney publishes mostly in the areas of the history of philosophy and the philosophy of religion with special interest in the works of Charles Hartshorne, Jules Lequyer, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He sits on the editorial boards of Process Studies, The American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, and The Midwest Quarterly. In his spare time, Viney performs and composes music. Samples of his publications and his music are available here.
Elaine Padilla, PhD is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Latinx/Latin American Studies. Padilla constructively interweaves current philosophical discourse with Christianity, Latin American and Latino/a religious thought, mysticism, ecology, gender, and race. She is the author of Divine Enjoyment: A Theology of Passion and Exuberance, and co-editor of a three-volume project with Peter C. Phan, Theology and Migration in World Christianity; Contemporary Issues of Migration and Theology; Theology of Migration in the Abrahamic Religions; and Christianities in Migration: The Global Perspective. She has also published numerous articles and chapters, and is currently drafting a manuscript provisionally titled, The Darkness of Being, in which she explores views on the soul and interiority with implications for race and gender.
Godehard Brüntrup, SJ, PhD is a German professor of philosophy and member of the Jesuit Order. He studied philosophy in Munich and later got his PhD (on mental causation) in Berlin in 1993. He also holds a degree in Catholic theology. He currently teaches metaphysics and philosophy of mind at the Munich School of Philosophy and St. Louis University. He is one of architects of the revival of panpsychism in analytic philosophy for which he began arguing in his introduction to the mind-body problem in Germany in 1993. This book had a significant impact on German theology where younger scholars began to explore the connections between theology, panpsychism, and panentheism. He is recent co-editor of Panentheism and Panpsychism: Philosophy of Religion Meets Philosophy of Mind.
Ilia Delio, OSF, PhD is a Franciscan Sister of Washington, DC and American theologian specializing in the area of science and religion, with interests in evolution, physics and neuroscience and the import of these for theology. She currently holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University, and is the author of twenty books including The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution and the Power of Love, which received the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award and a third place Catholic Press Association Award for Faith and Science, and most recently The Not-Yet God: Carl, Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Relational Whole. She holds two honorary doctorates, one from St. Francis University in 2015, and one from Sacred Heart University in 2020
John Becker, PhD is a Lecturer of Religious Studies at California State University, Long Beach. In 2017, he received the International Process Network’s Young Scholar Award. He is a member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and a Research Fellow for The Institute for Postmodern Development of China, USA. His research interests include process thought, comparative theology (Buddhism-Christianity), religions and ecology, and religious pluralism. He is co-editor of Process Thought and Roman Catholicism.
John F. Haught, PhD is an American theologian. He is a Distinguished Research Professor at Georgetown University. He specializes in Roman Catholic systematic theology, with a particular interest in issues pertaining to physical cosmology, evolutionary biology, geology, and Christianity. He has authored numerous books and articles, including most recently The New Cosmic Story: Inside Our Awakening Universe; The Cosmic Vision of Teilhard de Chardin; and God after Einstein: What’s Really Going On in the Universe?
Kathleen Duffy, SJ, PhD, is Professor Emerita of Physics, Director of the Institute for Religion and Science at Chestnut Hill College, President of the American Teilhard Association, Associate Editor of Teilhard Studies, and serves on the Board of Cosmos and Creation. Kathleen is the recipient of the Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY, October 18, 2009; was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Catholic Witness, St. Hubert High School in 2005; and received the John Templeton Foundation Quality and Excellence in Teaching Award in 1998. Her current research interests concern the religious essays of Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, his spirituality, and the relationship of his synthesis to modern developments in science. She has published award-winning books including Teilhard’s Mysticism: Seeing the Inner Face of Evolution; Teilhard’s Struggle: Embracing the Work of Evolution; an edited volume of essays about Teilhard’s life and work entitled Rediscovering Teilhard’s Fire, as well as many book chapters and articles. Kathleen also guides evening, weekend, and week-long retreats on topics related to Teilhard’s life and work.
Matthew David Segall, PhD, is assistant professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. He is the author of Physics of the World-Soul: Whitehead’s Adventure in Cosmology and Crossing the Threshold: Etheric Imagination in the Post-Kantian Process Philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead. He is a multidisciplinary researcher focusing on applications of process philosophy across the natural and social sciences. He blogs regularly at footnotes2plato.com.
Paolo Gamberini, PhD was born in Ravenna (Italy) in 1960 and entered the Jesuit Order in 1983. He had his M.Phil in Milan at the Sacred Heart University. He studied Theology in Germany (Frankfurt/M and Tübingen). He received his doctorate at the Philosophisch-theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen working on the concept of Analogy in the Theology of Eberhard Jüngel. He has been working since 1985 in the Ecumenical movement especially with Anglicans and Lutherans. He has been attending in 1988, 1998 and 2008 the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury – England as a journalist for La Civiltà Cattolica. From 1992 to 2014 he has been teaching at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy (Naples), and since 2005 he has been Full Professor (professore straordinario). He has been Visiting Professors in many Jesuit Institutions in the US: Loyola University of Chicago, Holy Cross College (Worcester – MA), Boston College-STM and Jesuit School of Theology (Berkeley, CA). From August 2015 to June 2018 he has been Associate Professor at the University of San Francisco.
Robert Nicastro is a Ph.D. candidate in the Theology and Religious Studies program at Villanova University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts in Theology from Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland. His research focuses on the interrelationship of cosmology, theology, and philosophy, and the implications of a coherent metaphysical worldview for addressing issues of social and enhancement technologies.
Sheri Kling, PhD is an author, speaker, singer, and spiritual mentor who draws from wisdom and mystical traditions, relational worldviews, depth psychology, and the intersection of spirituality and science to help people find meaning, belonging, and transformation. She regularly delivers dynamic “Music & Message” presentations to groups, and offers courses, concerts, and spiritual retreats. Dr. Kling is director of Process & Faith and the John Cobb Legacy Fund and a faculty member of the Haden Institute. She sees her mission as midwifing wholeness in individuals, organizations, communities, and culture. She is the author A Process Spirituality: Christian and Transreligious Resources for Transformation.
Steve McIntosh, JD is an integral philosopher who has been greatly inspired by both Whitehead and Teilhard. He is author of the books: Developmental Politics, The Presence of the Infinite; Evolution’s Purpose and Integral Consciousness. He is also coauthor of Conscious Leadership, with John Mackey and Carter Phipps. McIntosh is president of the Institute for Cultural Evolution think tank, which is advancing a developmental approach to politics. His work has appeared in USA Today, Real Clear Politics, The Daily Beast, The Hill, Areo Magazine, and The Developmentalist. He has been interviewed on NPR, The Glenn Show, Rebel Wisdom, Oxford Review, and many other podcasts. His author website includes extensive excerpts and videos on each of his books. Follow his work at stevemcintosh.com