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Jonas, Whitehead, And The Problem Of Power

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Chapter Summary

Hans Jonas pays tribute to ?the great Alfred North Whitehead? at various points in his writing and regards the ?intellectual force and philosophical importance? of his philosophy as ?unequaled in our time?. Jonas was enthusiastic about Whitehead?s thought and what follows is an examination of the interplay between Jonas?s philosophy of power and his encounters with Whitehead. Jonas?s post-Holocaust theology is a response to the traditional view of God-as omnipotent lord of history, who could have intervened at Auschwitz, but instead, seems to have remained silent. For Whitehead, the fundamental relationship between subjects is that of ?feeling the feeling of others?. The overlap with Whitehead?s doctrine of internal relations and the persuasive power of God is rather remarkable. Would that Jonas had turned to Whitehead?s doctrine of internal relations and his conception of God?s power as persuasive and thereby reinforced his own considerable insights into the ontological reality of subjectivity.

Keywords: Alfred North Whitehead; God; Hans Jonas; human power



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