What is Process Metaphysics?


The universe/multiverse is not fundamentally material stuff. Materialism is dead. The nails of the coffin were hammered in with Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (among other discoveries). The universe is a web of interwoven processual activity.  The old way was to think of the world as made of “stuff” because this is what our visual and tactile inspection gives us…stuff.  But this stuff is really only an abstraction from something more basic and more real.  An atom or an electron, a house or a person, isn’t fundamentally a “thing” at the most basic metaphysical level. It’s actually a dynamic process.

At the metaphysical level, that process is internally related to itself and nonlocally connected to itself because it’s not hard, material stuff (nor is it “energetic stuff”). The world is “made” out of the final real “things:” Actual Occasions. At the most fundamental level, stuff doesn’t bang around into other stuff, like balls on a pool table. Rather, process metaphysics speculates that reality is really spaciotemporal occasions undergoing continual process. They are internally related rather than externally related.

We see a tree. What happens is that our brain and nervous system pulls a frame in the movie and freezes it. The tree that we see is an abstraction from a more fundamental and concrete process: The tree is actually dynamic and undergoing a process at the fundamental level. Soon it will fall away and dissolve into a myriad of other processes. Substitute any word for “tree” (such as desk, person, electron, star, quark, piece of toilet paper, etc.). Everything is process.

Process metaphysics is the articulation and study of this fundamental process of reality. It’s an amazing view of how the world changes, and how science, religion, social relations–everything–changes as a result of understanding a different way to conceive reality.