Quantcast Anthony Flood "My Philosophical Workshop"


Philosophy against Misosophy



Essays by Me

Essays by Others

My Philosophical Workshop

Where Panentheism, Revisionism,

and Anarchocapitalism Coalesce


I hope to achieve several purposes by means of this site.  The primary one is to explore and promote three areas of revisionism or “re-visioning,” each of which I elaborate upon in the footnotes:

Although I will promote their thought by writing essays of synthesis, for the immediate future I will mainly promote their writings in the hope that in some measure the insights they have stimulated in me will inspire my visitors.  I especially would like to create conditions for a kind of intellectual cross-pollenation.  That is, I hope that the visitor drawn to one denizen of my philosophical pantheon will not only find something worthwhile, but also unexpectedly discover another exciting thinker who is potentially relevant to his or her current interests. Such unplanned discovery has been one of the chief joys of my life.  I am pleased to occasion their occurrence in others, although how that happens is, of course, beyond my control. 

This site has two other purposes.  The second is to pay tribute to other thinkers who shaped my thinking over the years, even if I can no longer follow them in their basic positions.  This diverse group includes Francis Herbert Bradley, Brand Blanshard, Eric Voegelin, Bernard Lonergan, and James Sadowsky.  When I cannot make available here the best of their shorter writings, almost all of them buried in journals, unanthologized or accessible only in expensive collected works editions, I will link to them.  In their different ways Bradley, Blanshard, and Voegelin asked questions I continue to ask, while Sadowsky, with whose libertarianism I am very much in accord, practiced a high standard of philosophical argumentation and style that I hope to emulate one day.

The third purpose is to record my ongoing exploration of the aesthetic philosophy of Susanne Langer.  Langer studied under Whitehead, but took her philosophical lead from Ernst Cassirer.  The prospect of grappling with her theory of symbolic form and contrasting it with Whitehead’s excites me, even though I have no idea how her thought will cohere with, or modify, my basic philosophical stance.

In sum, this site is a workshop where my tools are either organized onto racks and into shelves or lying about indeterminately related to an emerging project.  Among the latter will be essays by others that I feel compelled to post without a sure notion of their relationship to any architectonic.  This work-in-progress is shot through with dependency on the creative efforts of others.  If mine consists wholly in their successful synthesis I shall be satisfied.

Anthony Flood

October 9, 2005

[Modifed December 2, 2005]


[1] The supreme reality is creative experience; the supreme actuality, God.  To be is to receive influence from many in the past, to decide creatively upon a response to them in the present, and then to influence others in the determination of one possible future as the next actual present.  This is a deeply libertarian metaphysics (albeit no one else has to my knowledge described process metaphysics that way).  Creative experience characterizes not only human beings, but also every individual actuality, from the subatomic fundamental to the one divine actuality.  God is unique in his influencing, and being influenced by, all others; knowing because feeling them all; therefore sympathetic to all (Whitehead’s "fellow sufferer who understands"); incessantly providing each with its best possible aim at every juncture; unable to coerce them to decide upon it; therefore, supremely good morally (acting to achieve the best [intense, harmonious, yet contrasting] experience for the divine self through aiming at the best for the nondivine selves); unindictable for any evil, the gist of which being (ever possible) collision among agents with divergent subjective aims. Without God's providential persuasion to certain initial aims, however, there would be nothing but collision among trivial, finite actualities and their mutually checkmating self-creativity; and therefore no emergence of enduring individuals or of the world they would comprise. God is the final and permanent repository of all values and the intrinsic meaning or “point” of all striving for harmonious (yet contrastively interesting) and fulfilling esthetic experience.  To the achievement of such experience morality is ordered. As Hartshorne put it, the meaning of life is to be found in the service of God.

[2] To the degree that human beings permit each other to control the entire product of their labor, rather than scheme to confiscate it from each other (whether democratically or through more frankly criminal methods), to that degree they can only co-operate (competition being a special case of cooperation) to meet all of their common challenges, including that of neutralizing violent non-coopera-tors. 

The genuine alternative to modern politics lies not in modern socialism (peering from behind masks like “redistribution, “democracy,” or "sustainable development,” all failed and refuted), but rather in anarchism, that is, a Stateless social order (not the absence of such order, which “anarchy” connotes). 

And so I invite (1) libertarians to appraise a possible metaphysical home for our common outlook, one more congenial, in my opinion, than are the Aristotelian and Kantian derivatives to which so many of them are attracted; and (2) process thinkers to entertain a political (or rather, anti-political) possibility that is (again in my view) more consonant with the libertarian essence of reality than are the socialist programs for which so many of them have a penchant.

[3] This is the area of research that, to the degree that it is pursued effectively, blurs the line of demarcation between the theoretical and the practical.  For the exposure of the aggressor can strip him of his legitimacy, thereby hampering his pursuit of ends.  That is, exposure can harm his interests, to which he will not be indifferent.  Since I intend to harm the interests of certain perpetrators of injustice, my contribution to their exposure on this site is by no means purely coincidental.  Every radical, “right” or “left,” understands that he or she is in the interest-harming business and that the probability of retaliation varies with the radical’s rate of success.  But to choose between interest-harming and acquiescing in rights-violation is, or should be, an ethical “no brainer.”

By “official lies” I mean especially those lies (false-hoods communicated with the intention of deceiving or of covering up the deception) that have helped mesmerize millions into spilling theirs and their families’ blood and treasure in wars that benefit a few puppet-masters, often themselves drunk on their de-ranged myths.  As Rothbard never tired of warning, the worst thing a State can do is not to tax you, or to regulate your business or diet, or to censor what you read, listen to, or watch.  No, the worst thing the State can do is conscript its serfs for the purpose of invading another State’s territory to confiscate its resources and murder and otherwise violate its serfs. 

The injustices the liars commit against those who expose them are also a central part of the story.  I therefore note with pleasure that the Barnes tradition of truth-telling not only continued with the key figure of Research Area II, Murray N. Rothbard, but continues today with that of Research Area I, David Ray Griffin, with his withering exposure of the egregiously phony casus belli, the horrific events of 9/11. 

For reasons similar to those for which I pay my in-adequate homage to Harry Elmer Barnes I pay it also to the nineteenth-century English historian John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, First Baron Acton, who penned the famous (albeit often misquoted) aphorism on the corrupting tendency of power.  Unlike in the case of Barnes, however, the power ranged against Lord Acton issued not from academia, but from ecclesia.  Acton was not only Catholic in Protestant England, but a liberal Catholic during the reign of illiberal Popes.  He strenuously opposed the First Vatican Council’s definition of Papal Infallibility (which seemed to presuppose conciliar infallibility) as offensive not only to reason and liberty, but also to the truth of Christ as his beloved Church preached Him.  Acton would not abide that discrepancy between ideal and practice, and fought it with great courage and learning.  He was nevertheless a man of conflicting tendencies who could not turn his back on an institution led by men who did not hesitate to turn theirs on him.  Acton practiced historical revisionism before we had a word for it.