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Process Philosophy and Political Liberalism

Rawls, Whitehead, Hartshorne

Daniel A. Dombrowski

Hardback (Forthcoming)

Argues for political liberalism as a process-oriented view and process philosophy as a politically liberal view

  • Argues for the processual, historical qualities of Rawlsian political liberalism
  • Shows the inadequacies of certain illiberal political tendencies on both the political right and the political left
  • Explicates why the processual method of reflective equilibrium is crucial in a just society
  • Explores the implications of process liberalism for issues in animal rights and environmental ethics

Daniel A. Dombrowski brings together the thought of the 20th-century philosophy’s greatest political liberal, John Rawls, with the thought of the great process philosophers, Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne. He shows that political liberalism is intimately linked with process philosophy, renaming it ‘process liberalism’. He justifies this process liberalism in contrast to four potentially troublesome sources or influences: metaphysics, religion, right-wing politics and left-wing politics.

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1. Reflective Equilibrium as a Process

2. Political Liberalism and Process Thought

3. Politics and ‘The Comprehensive Question

4: Religion, Solitude-in-Solidarity, and the Bloodlands

5. Heidegger, Political Philosophy, and Disequilibrium

6. Organic Marxism and Process Liberalism

7. From Nonhuman Animals to the Environment


About the Author

Daniel A. Dombrowski is Professor of Philosophy at Seattle University. He is the author of 18 books and over a hundred articles in scholarly journals in philosophy, theology, classics and literature. His books include Whitehead’s Religious Thought: From Mechanism to Organism, From Force to Persuasion (SUNY, 2017), A History of the Concept of God: A Process Approach (SUNY, 2016), Rawlsian Explorations in Religion and Applied Philosophy (Penn State University Press, 2011), Contemporary Athletics and Ancient Greek Ideals (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Rethinking the Ontological Argument: A Neoclassical Theistic Response (Cambridge University Press, 2006).


The contemporary movement that traces its origins to Whitehead and Hartshorne is at a critical juncture. Some would align process thought with anti-liberal political philosophies that are starkly at odds with the basic commitments expressed by Whitehead and Hartshorne themselves. Dombrowski is a leading process thinker whose resistance against this anti-liberal shift should give pause to those who have abandoned liberalism in this ominous time of testing, in which pluralistic democracy is being challenged around the globe.

- Derek Malone-France, George Washington University

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