[UUA-L:655] Obituary: Charles Hartshorne dies, leading philosopher of religi on

Deborah Weiner DWeiner at uua.org
Thu Oct 12 15:09:28 EDT 2000


Charles Hartshorne, one of the major American philosophers of the 20th
century and an emminent UU theologian and scientist, died at his home in
Austin, TX at the age of 103, on October 9, 2000.
 
Mr. Hartshorne, who was widely regarding as the leading American interpreter
of Alfred North Whitehead's thinking, was a specialist in metaphysics, which
seeks higher truths and attempts to explain the nature of being or reality.
He believed that the universe was not made up of things, but of related
events -- advancing a theory of interdependence -- that we are all part of a
larger, sacred life, bigger than all of us.
 
Hartshorne was born on June 5, 1987, and was the son of an Episcopal
minister, descended from Quakers.  He was educated at Haverford College and
Harvard University, and taught at the University of Chicago, Emory
University, and the University of Texas.  It was at Harvard, while working
toward his doctorate, that he was influence by Whitehead.  He once said,
"The reason I believe in God is because without God, I do not know what
truth is.  Without truth, what are we trying to do? The one thing we know
about ourselves is that we cannot know everything."  
 
Harshorne was also a scientist, specializing in ornithology.  His 1973 book,
called "Born to Sing," argued that some bird species warble partly for the
sheer pleasure of it. Additional books, on process theology, included
"Beyond Humanism" (1937), "The Divine Relativity" (1948), "The Logic of
Perfection" (1962), and "Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes" (1983).

 
Mr. Hartshorne, a Unitarian Universalist, continued to lecture into his
90's.  Recalling Mr. Hartshorne, the Rev. Dr. John A. Buehrens, UUA
President, spoke of his great admiration for Hartshorne's work, and his
pleasure at finding him among the congregants when he preached in Dallas,
Texas at a service at the First Unitarian Universalist Church three years
ago -- when Hartshorne was a century old.  
 
Mr. Hartshorne was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy, and is survived by his
daughter Emily Schwartz of Austin, TX, and two grandchildren.  A service in
Mr. Hartshorne's memory will be held at the First UU Church of Dallas at a
time to be announced.
 
 
Deborah J. Weiner 
Director of Electronic Communication 
Unitarian Universalist Association 
25 Beacon Street 
Boston, MA  02108 

dweiner at uua.org 
voice - direct:  617-948-6104 
FAX - 617-742-7025 

http://www.uua.org <http://www.uua.org/>  
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