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The Panentheism of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781-1832)

From Transcendental Philosophy to Metaphysics


Benedikt Paul Göcke

The book provides the first analysis of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause’s system of philosophy and his panentheism in English. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause has bequeathed to us a system of philosophy which is little recognised in contemporary philosophy. This is both surprising and unfortunate, because Krause’s philosophical system has much to offer: Through transcendental reflection on the nature of the human, Krause understands God as the one infinite and unconditioned reality, and the ultimate necessary condition of knowledge. God makes humanity, nature, and reason ultimately comprehensible as the essential categories of the divine Essence. God is thus the single, primary, object of science that is already logically presupposed even before His discovery. Science presupposes theology, and theology is best read as panentheism.

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11. Krause Importance for Philosophy of Religion

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11.  Krause Importance for Philosophy of Religion

Whether, from a systematic point of view, Krause’s panentheism is important depends on whether Krause’s system of philosophy can be seen as a source of inspiration or truth regarding the purpose of philosophy, its proper methods, and the current debates philosophers engage in. Because Krause’s panentheism is an all-embracing system of philosophy, and because any all-embracing system of philosophy, as a metaphysical theory of being, has to take account of the ultimate principle of reality, of the ways we understand us ourselves in and through science, and of our place in reality, the importance and plausibility of Krause’s philosophy can be measured by analysing how well it contributes to these tasks.

In this chapter, it is argued that Krause’s philosophy is a valuable partner for recent philosophy of religion and its discussion about God’s relation to the world. The next chapter argues that Krause’s conception of science as an organic system also is in line with the analysis of science as a system of systems that is currently discussed in analytic philosophy of science. The final chapter then shows that Krause’s panentheism entails panpsychism, which in recent years has become a highly respected position in the philosophy of mind. Before all this, however, let us start with a brief analysis of the scope and purpose of analytic philosophy, to show that Krause can be considered as an analytic philosopher that worked according to the same ideals of conceptual and argumentative clarity that any analytic philosopher aspires to.

11.1  Krause and analytic philosophy

The concept of analytic philosophy served in the period 1930 to 1950 both as the designation of the Cambridge School of Analysis, maintained by Russell, Moore, and Wittgenstein, and as the designation of the Logical Positivism found in the Vienna Circle.33 Since the 1950s, the concept of ← 155 | 156 → analytic philosophy has been used, beyond its original scope, to denote the world’s leading philosophical research programme, which, from its very beginning in Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein, and the Vienna Circle included contrary, if not contradictory, assumptions concerning the scope and nature of philosophy.34 To determine the concept of analytic philosophy more precisely, it is helpful to distinguish two central features which express the unity of analytic philosophy, despite its different philosophical positions, and which may be accepted as central by anyone seeing their work as within the paradigm of analytic philosophy.

The first feature is the assumption of a legitimate division between the genesis and the validity of a philosophical position, with a concomitant emphasis on the greater relevance of the validity of philosophical theses. By the concept of the genesis of a philosophical thesis is denoted the diachronic process which led to its development and formulation. The analysis of the genesis of a philosophical thesis makes it possible to explain why this thesis was developed by its representatives and for what reasons it was understood in which way. The concept of the validity of a philosophical thesis expresses its claim to truth or rational acceptability. The analysis of the validity of philosophical theses is therefore interested in the grounds which speak systematically for or against the truth or rational acceptability of a philosophical thesis.

Now, there is no logical connection between the genesis and the validity of a philosophical thesis because an understanding of the genesis of a philosophical thesis is neither sufficient nor necessary for the question of its validity, and the knowledge of the validity of a philosophical thesis does not imply any knowledge of its genesis. If, for example, there is an adequate historical explanation, tracing the developments and conditions that led ← 156 | 157 → Descartes to formulate substance dualism, then nothing follows from this explanation about the validity of substance dualism. And someone who investigates arguments for and against substance dualism can pursue this activity successfully, without knowing the historical development of this position.

Given this background, the first characteristic of analytical philosophy consists in its being primarily concerned with the truth or falsity of philosophical theses. It has to be informed of historical developments only in so far as it is necessary to arrive at a systematically clear formulation of a thesis.35 Frege has expressed this aptly: ‘The historical way of looking at things, which seeks to listen in on the becoming of things and, from this becoming, seeks to discern their essence, certainly has great justification; but it also has its limits. If nothing firm, eternal, persisted in the constant flux of all things, the recognizability of the world would come to an end, and everything would plunge into chaos. One imagines, so it appears, that concepts emerge in the individual soul like leaves on trees, and fancies that their being may be known by inquiring into their origin, and seeks to explain them psychologically, from the nature of the human soul. But this approach pulls everything into the subjective, and suspends truth, pursuing it to the end. Indeed, what is called the history of concepts is either a history of our knowledge of the concepts, or of the meaning of the words. One often only first succeeds in recognizing a concept in its purity, in peeling it out of the strange shells which conceal it from the mind’s eye, through great mental effort, which can last for centuries’ (Frege 1884: VII).

The second key feature of analytic philosophy is its emphasis on the greatest possible conceptual and argumentative clarity and transparency in the analysis of philosophical positions. In addition to its primary interest in the truth or falsity of philosophical theses, a second feature of analytical philosophy consists in its ascertaining this truth or falsity through at least three methodological stages. In the clarification of philosophical questions, the first priority of analytic philosophy is achieving the greatest possible ← 157 | 158 → conceptual precision. It tries to analyse the concepts which are decisive for the question, by providing necessary and sufficient conditions for the fulfillment of those concepts in a clear, comprehensible manner, or by showing why those concepts are primitive concepts that cannot be defined in further terms. And so, in principle, any person replicating the analysis ought to be in a position to state what is meant by these concepts, or what ought to be meant beyond the quirks of natural language.36

In this way, analytic philosophy is open to the greatest possible dialogue with critical responses. This makes possible discovery of errors in conceptual analysis. Based on conceptual analysis, analytic philosophy tries, in a second step, to formulate as precisely as possible philosophical theses which it understands as claims to truth, and therefore as factual or normative theses about reality and our perception of reality.37 Based on the clarification of the concepts involved, it attempts to clarify as clearly as possible what a particular philosophical thesis asserts about reality or our perception of reality, which other theses are sufficient for the thesis examined, and what the truth or falsehood of this thesis logically implies. In other words, it attempts, in the course of the precise formulation of a philosophical thesis, to state the necessary and sufficient conditions of the truth or falsity of this thesis.38

After conceptual analysis, and the clarification of the philosophical thesis to be examined, the work of the analytic philosopher turns to the core of analytic philosophy: the argument. The argument is the decisive instance of the work of the analytic philosopher for, in an argument, the reasons which speak for or against the truth and rational acceptability of a philosophical ← 158 | 159 → thesis are comprehensibly formulated, expressis verbis, in order to make possible, in addition to the desired conceptual precision, the greatest possible argumentative transparency, and therefore, again, maximal criticism in philosophical dialogue.

Next, in the analysis of the argument, premises are given as reasons for the truth of the conclusion, before the logical form of the argument is examined by analysing the logical consistency of the truth of the premises with the truth of the conclusion: the analysis of the validity of an argument examines whether, based on the assumption of the truth of the premises, it is reasonable to proceed to the truth of the conclusion. The analysis of the soundness of an argument further asks whether the premises are true, and how their truth may be epistemologically captured. In the case of a sound argument, therefore, it gives the reasons which speak for the truth of the premises and thus for the truth of the conclusion.

In sum, the defining characteristic of analytic philosophy consists in stressing the analysis of the validity of philosophical theses using the three-steps: conceptual analysis, thesis specification, argument analysis.

The vast majority of philosophy faculties’ research and teaching, as well as the greater part of philosophical work found in professional journals, anthologies, and monographs can be referred to as analytic philosophy. Despite the numerous different positions represented, analytic philosophy is united by the assumption that philosophical questions concern reality and our perception of reality, and may be treated rationally under the regulative ideal of truth.39 Although, until the middle of the last century, analytical ← 159 | 160 → philosophy was empirical, materialistic, or influenced by the linguistic turn, according to which philosophical problems are merely linguistic illusions, today it is no longer de facto true that the concept of analytic philosophy is used to characterize certain content positions, but a method, and a style, for approaching genuine philosophical questions.

Based on this understanding of analytic philosophy, one might well ask what is to be understood under the concept of non-analytic philosophy.40 The often-mentioned distinction between analytic and continental philosophy cannot be established either historically, geographically, or systematically, in a satisfactory way, and leads only to the formation of misplaced fronts. Therefore, it is more meaningful, not to compare analytic philosophy to a continental philosophy, but to a methodical ideal of intellectual activity, in which either no commitment to conceptual and argumentative clarity, precision and transparency is felt, or in which it is assumed that the analysis of the validity of philosophical theses is not a primary philosophical task.

Given this distinction between analytic and non-analytic philosophy, Krause has to be classified as an analytic philosopher, who so strongly emphasized conceptual and argumentative clarity that his writings are ironically often extremely difficult to understand. The language is often hard to explicate and even harder to translate, for Krause was interested in developing a purely scientific German that used only words of (putatively) Germanic origin, and not words incorporated from Latin, Greek, English or French. Through the development of a purely scientific language, Krause wished to enable philosophy to present its results and their logical consistency more precisely than before.41 ← 160 | 161 →

Krause, though, was thoroughly conscious that his way of proceeding would encounter resistance: ‘My scientific expressions might attract the attention of those who are used to the ruling usage. And they are ridiculed and derided as tasteless and pedantic by those who do not suspect the importance of a brief, correct, designation of the fundamental truths of science and life. But they are nevertheless understood by connoisseurs, and because they are beautifully pure in themselves, and at the same time educated and learned, they are also accepted’ (Krause 1890: 80).

11.2  Concepts of God in philosophy of religion

To see that Krause could be a source of insight and inspiration for recent philosophy of religion, it is necessary to briefly reflect on the present situation in analytic philosophy of religion, where the focal point of our analysis rests on the analysis of the concept of God and on the analysis of God’s relation to the world.

There is a variety of concepts of the divine in the Eastern and Western theological and philosophical traditions. To speak of a variety of concepts of God presupposes that ‘God’ is not used as a meaningless proper name, the reference of which is fixed in an initial act of baptism that causally relates our use of ‘God’ to the bearer of this name. In this case, the referent of ‘God’ would be fixed, once and for all, as a single reality. Consequently, to speak of a variety of concepts of God would be as meaningless as speaking of a variety of concepts of the proper name ‘John Doe’; the reference of which is causally fixed, once and for all, to refer to John Doe. Instead, speaking of a variety of concepts of God entails that ‘God’ is used ← 161 | 162 → as a role-concept that is open to different specifications that have to obey conditions of adequacy to be recognizable as concepts of God.42

The present discussion in analytic philosophy of religion suggests two necessary and sufficient conditions any concept of God has to satisfy.43 One necessary condition is: a concept of God has to be a concept of the single ultimate ground or principle of the existence and essence of the world (for short: ground of the world) that operates as the ultimate explanation of the fundamental metaphysical and transcendental characteristics of the world and our understanding of it.44

This needs clarification in three respects: first, as an account of the ultimate ground of the world a concept of God will provide answers to fundamental philosophical, theological, and, in principle, scientific questions about the origin, purpose, and future of the universe and our place in it. It will feature in answers to questions like ‘Why does the universe exist?’, ‘What is the underlying ontological structure of the universe?’, ‘What is the final goal of the universe?’, ‘What is right and what is wrong?’, ‘What shall ← 162 | 163 → we do?’, and ‘What will happen to us after death?’45 Second, a concept of God has to be a concept of the single ultimate ground of the world because a putative concept of the ultimate ground of the world that is based on ontologically distinct types of grounds still entails the need for a further and encompassing ultimate ground that explains why the distinct types of causes operate together in constituting the world. This further single ground would be the proper ultimate ground. For instance, if there were two grounds of the world, each of which is responsible for 50% of the world, then there would be the question how they manage to constitute 100% of the world. Either there would be no answer to this question because the two grounds constitute the deepest level of reality possible, or else the answer would refer to a single ultimate ground of the world that explains how the two previously mentioned grounds operate together. Only the second, but not the first would be a case in which a concept of God could be developed. Third, not every concept of the single ultimate ground of the world is a concept of God. If materialism or atheism is true, then materialism or atheism provides the ultimate explanation of the world, although most of us would be reluctant to say that the materialist or atheist explanations appeal to a concept of God. Therefore, although concepts of God are concepts of the ultimate ground of the world, this only provides a necessary and not a sufficient condition that any concept of God has to satisfy.

Any concept of God has to be a concept of that which is worthy of worship. As Hartshorne and Reese (2000: 7) say, ‘“God” is a name for the uniquely good, admirable, great, worship-eliciting being.’ The single ultimate ground of reality is worthy of worship if and only if it is absolutely holy. And it is absolutely holy if and only if it is perfect-to-the-highest-degree-possible. This needs clarification in three respects.

First, the term ‘God’ is primarily used in religious contexts. As Puntel (2008: 447) says, ‘“God” is originally not a philosophical concept, but a term arising in religions, and one with which many in part quite heterogeneous ← 163 | 164 → ideas have been and continue to be connected.’ Although ‘God’ is given different meanings in the various religious traditions, they all agree that if God exists, then God is the one who is worthy of worship, and if there is something that is worthy of worship, then it is properly referred to as ‘God’. Therefore, for conceptual reasons, a concept of God has to be a concept of that which is worthy of worship, else it would not be recognized as a concept of God. Second, that God is worthy of worship entails that God is absolutely holy because only what is absolutely holy is worthy of worship. To speak of absolute holiness presupposes a conceptual distinction between a sacred and a profane realm of being. Although the profane can be the object of fetishization, and can be adored with a feeling of awe and wonder, only what is absolutely holy can be worthy of worship in the proper sense. Third, what turns the single ultimate principle into a ground of the world that is worthy of worship and absolutely holy is its intrinsic nature. The intrinsic nature of the single ultimate ground of the world is absolutely holy if and only if it is perfect-to-the-highest-degree-possible and able to relate to us in a way that accounts for the meaningfulness of prayer and liturgy: although there are different accounts of what perfection-to-the-highest-degree-possible consists in, it is often understood to refer to a being that is metaphysically extraordinary regarding the mode of its existence: ‘Worship […] is not just an unusually high degree of respect or admiration; and the excellence of deity is not just an unusually high degree of merit. There is a difference in kind. God is “perfect,” and between the perfect and anything as little imperfect as you please is no merely finite, but an infinite, step. The superiority of deity to all others […] must be a superiority of principle, a definite conceptual divergence from every other being, actual or so much as possible’ (Hartshorne and Reese 2000: 7).46

If the ultimate ground of the world is worthy of worship, then it has to be such that it is able to recognize worship: it does not make sense to worship the single ultimate ground of reality in prayer and liturgy, if this ultimate ground cannot be aware of, or respond to our worship, in one way or the other: ‘To be conceptually appropriate for worship, an item must be able to be aware of us addressing it and to understand enough of our address for there to be a point to it’ (Leftow 2016: 70). If worthy of worship, however, ← 164 | 165 → it should be worshipped: a concept of God therefore is likely to have a deep existential and personal impact on our daily life, and is likely to force us to consider questions concerning the adequacy of liturgy and spirituality, as the ritual forms in which we express our worship.

Any concept of a being worthy of worship thus understood is a concept of God, because it would not be the greatest possible being if it was not also the single ultimate ground of the world. Therefore, being worthy of worship is a sufficient condition that logically renders any concept of the ultimate ground of the world into a concept of God. Any concept of such an ultimate ground of the world, even if it does not include ‘God’ explicitly, will be a concept of God.

These restrictions on any adequate concept of God leave open various candidates for an adequate concept of God. To assume that we are able to reflect in a meaningful way on the ultimate ground of the world and its relevance for our daily life, does not mean that the resulting account of the ultimate ground of the world has to be expressible straightforwardly in univocal terms. Nor does it mean that the essence, or being, of this ground is fully accessible by our intellectual capacities or the senses. Depending on what a particular concept of God entails the ultimate ground of the world to be like, it might well be that a reasonable and meaningful account of this ground needs to be formulated using dialectical, poetic, negative, or analogical expressions. It is precisely because God is supposed to be the single ultimate ground of the world that we should be open to the possibility that a concept of the ultimate ground of the world at least partly transcends our understanding and is more difficult to understand than concepts of finite objects accessible by the senses or the understanding.47

Every justification of a particular concept of God is eo ipso a justification of the instantiation of the corresponding concept of God, that is, every justification of a concept of God at the same time is an argument that God, as qualified in the justification of this concept, exists. The justification of a concept of God therefore blurs the distinction between conceptual ← 165 | 166 → specifications - answers to ‘What is x?’ - and answers to questions concerning the instantiation of the corresponding concept - answers to ‘Does x exist?’.

The reason is that any justification of a particular concept of God either is a consequence of what this justification holds true concerning the nature of reality or else is a consequence of further reflection on the concept of the single ultimate principle of the world that is perfect-to-the-highest-degree-possible and worthy of worship.

In the first case, the specific assumptions about the nature of the world are used to show the need for an ultimate ground of the world that accounts for the features mentioned in these assumptions. This ultimate ground is then argued to possess at least those qualities needed to account for the assumed features of reality. It follows that in this case the justification of a particular concept of God at the same time is an argument that God, as qualified in this justification, has to exist. For example, those who accept a broadly Aristotelian metaphysics, including its theory of causes, will judge that motion and causation in nature are fundamental features that, to avoid an infinite regress, can be explained only by a concept of the ultimate ground of the world as the unmoved mover or uncaused cause. On this metaphysics, given the adequacy of the explanans to the explanandum, the unmoved mover or uncaused cause has to exist, and, to use Aquinas’s phrase, ‘is what everybody calls God’.48

In the second case, the concept of a single ultimate ground of the world that is worthy of worship and perfect-to-the-highest-degree-possible is used as a starting point for further conceptual reflection. It is argued that for purely a priori reasons further analysis of this concept of God entails that God exists. For instance, Anselm from Canterbury famously suggested that the concept of a single perfect ultimate ground of the world that is worthy of worship can be rephrased as the concept of that than which a greater cannot be conceived. Based on this assumption, and his metaphysical theory that distinguished between existence in reality and existence in the mind, Anselm proceeded to argue that for purely conceptual reasons God has to exist in reality: if that than which a greater cannot be conceived does not exist in reality but only exists in the mind, it is not that than which a ← 166 | 167 → greater cannot be conceived – it would be greater if is existed in reality and not only in the mind.

Assuming that a worldview is a set of assumptions in the form of a unifying picture, or narrative, that shapes the way in which each one of us understands what is going in our lives and the world, we can draw an important conclusion concerning the justification of a concept of God:49 The philosophical, theological, and scientific assumptions and principles constitutive of our worldviews lead to, or at least implicitly fix particular concepts of God that are assumed to be instantiated. It follows that concepts of God can be understood as cyphers for particular worldviews. They are conceptual culminations of the philosophical, theological, and scientific principles underlying worldviews. So, in elaborating a particular concept of God we must be confident in our epistemological abilities, and be aware of a mutual systematic and hermeneutic dependence between our worldview and our justification of that concept of God.

As integral parts of our worldviews, philosophical, theological, and scientific justifications of particular concepts of God are based on different methodological approaches, presuppositions, and aims. The characteristic feature of philosophy, in dealing with questions concerning the ultimate ground of the world, consists in the assumption that, ideally, philosophy only takes into account premises, assumptions, and rules of argument that are justifiable by reason alone. They are ideally perceived to have an intersubjectively binding character that no reasonable person could reject.50 ← 167 | 168 → Thus understood, philosophy is the elaboration of an all-inclusive account of the ultimate ground of the world that figures as a crucial element in the corresponding philosophical theories, explaining the world and our place in it. It is important, however, to note that, philosophically, it does not matter what the ultimate ground of the world turns out to be on these arguments. Philosophical theories are not restricted, in any way, as regards the description of the ultimate ground of the world and in practice philosophy contains a large variety of accounts: materialism, idealism, dualism, and deism, for example, provide competing answers to ‘What is the ultimate ground of the world?’ Philosophical arguments therefore can be used to justify a particular concept of God if and only if: the corresponding arguments are based on intersubjectively compelling premises, and show that there is an ultimate ground of the world that accounts for the origin, purpose, and future of our universe, is perfect-to-the-highest-degree-possible and worthy of worship.51

Theology, at least confessional theology, is in a situation essentially different from philosophy. Confessional theologies already presuppose that there is a being worthy of worship and the respective religious confessions fix the parameters within which further reflection on the concept of God is acceptable. This needs two qualifications: first, the essential feature that distinguishes purely philosophical approaches to God from theological approaches consists in the fact that religious worldviews and their theologies accept the truth of claims about the history or fundamental structure of ← 168 | 169 → the world that are likely to transcend empirical verification and rationally binding intersubjective confirmation. For instance, Christianity is based on the confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, whereas Islam is based on the confession that Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah. Both of these confessions entail metaphysical claims, neither is likely to be empirically verified, and both lack philosophical justifications that are rationally intersubjectively compelling. Although there may be important religious claims about the history or structure of the world that at first are accepted on faith, and later on supported by empirical evidence or rational argument, the essential feature of religious confessions consists in the fact that there is no rationally compelling argument for their truth. They are based on faith and therefore, ideally, neither they nor their denial lead to contradictions with intersubjectively compelling and binding insights concerning the nature of reality. Therefore, any theological concept of God is based on claims that, although they do not contradict compelling insights provided by reason, cannot be shown to be true or false by reason alone.52 Second, many religious claims are understood as revealed truths concerning the nature of God. Nevertheless, they are open to a variety of theological and philosophical interpretations. They do not lead swiftly to a clear-cut concept of the ultimate ground of the world that is worthy of worship. As Craig (2009: 71) says in reference to the Christian Bible: ‘The concept of God is underdetermined by the biblical data.’ The task of confessional theology consequently is to establish a reflective equilibrium about its concept of God that is based on the central religious claims of the corresponding tradition and can be shown to be, at least, consistent with philosophical argument about the ultimate ground of reality.

Natural science is a problematic source to rely on in the attempt to specify an adequate concept of God. The scope of natural science, by definition, is restricted to the natural order. So natural science cannot, in principle, answer questions that go beyond the natural order. It cannot deal with the ← 169 | 170 → transcendent and supernatural realm of being.53 There are, however, two cases in which natural scientific theories can be understood as leading to or as supporting concepts of God that cohere with the philosopher’s or theologian’s concept of God: first, natural science can be used to support a particular concept of God if the picture of the world expressed in natural scientific claims is probable based on the assumption of the adequacy of the suggested concept of God. That is, natural scientific findings might be more probable given this concept of God instead of that one and therefore may be said to support the first concept of God as being more adequate than the second one. If our best natural scientific theories suggest that reality possesses certain features, that cannot lightly be ignored by philosophers and theologians in their attempt to justify a particular concept of God. For instance, if our best natural scientific theories suggest that the universe is an evolving system in which the more complex is generated out of the less complex, then this insight should be taken into account in our attempts to develop an adequate concept of God.

Second, whenever there is a natural scientific phenomenon that cannot be explained in terms of current natural scientific theories, then it is at least in principle possible to explain this phenomenon by a particular concept of God. For instance, prior to the idea of evolution, the existence of the variety of biological species could not be explained by natural scientific theories. Instead, this variety was explained by reference to a concept of God as the immediate designer of the variety of species. The problem, however, with this kind of scientific support for a particular concept of God is that natural scientific endorsements often turn out to be false friends and lead to concepts of God known as the ‘God of the Gaps’.54 God-of-the-Gaps-concepts ← 170 | 171 → of God are replaced as soon as there is a plausible scientific explanation for what these concepts of God attempted to explain before the scientific explanation was available. For instance, the origin of species, although previously putatively explained through God’s immediate creative act, received a scientific explanation in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Therefore, when it comes to scientific justifications of a concept of God we should be cautious how much emphasis we put on them.

11.3  The adequacy of Krause’s concept of God

Because a concept of God is based on the distinction between the world and its perfect ultimate ground, there are, in principle, four models of how the relation between God and the world may be considered: (1) on theism, God and the world are essentially ontologically distinct;55 (2) on pantheism, God and the world are identified;56 (3) on theistic emergentism, God is completely within the world, and taken to be an entity the existence of which emerges from the development of the universe;57 and (4) on panentheism, the world is completely in God – the being of the world is supposed to be completely in God while not exhaustive of the divine being. Each of these ← 171 | 172 → models has been argued by philosophers, theologians, and scientists to be the right model of God’s relation to the world.58

In what follows, I argue that a panentheistic model of God and God’s relation to the world, as suggested by Krause, is a plausible and promising contribution the recent debate in analytic philosophy of religion. It is first shown that Krause’s concept of Orwesen is an adequate concept of God because according to Krause Orwesen is not only a perfect being but also worthy of worship. Next it is shown that the arguments for panentheism that are deployed in recent debates turn out to be the very same arguments Krause developed in his justification of panentheism. Then it is argued that Krause’s panentheism successfully solves some of the crucial problems that today are associated with panentheism. Finally, it is shown that Krause’s panentheism can account for a proper relationship between God and the world that is not subject to historical necessitarianism.

Krause’s concept of Orwesen is the concept of a perfect being because Orwesen, that is, God as such, is not subject to any opposition. Because being part of a relation of opposition is a necessary and sufficient condition for negation and denial, it follows that Orwesen as such is not subject to negation or denial, which is to say that God is pure positivity or, as Thomas Aquinas would have said, is pure actuality. Nothing is denied of Orwesen as such, which means that exclusion is excluded from God. Orwesen is literally perfect because identical to the fullness of His Being. Opposition, and therefore negation, according to Krause, are constitutive of Orwesen only in so far as they belong to the intrinsic nature of God Himself and, as such, are yet already united and overcome as opposition in and through Urwesen as the principle of unity and difference that Orwesen is in Himself.

Furthermore, Orwesen is worthy of worship because as the highest principle of science Orwesen is personal. That is, although ‘in more recent times, some philosophers have claimed that science does not make it possible to understand God as a personal essence, and therefore leads away from the knowledge of God, and, even more so, the further and more consistently it is developed’ (Krause 1828: 383–384), Krause’s panentheism is able to show, against this position, that God is personal. Krause’s argument for this, ← 172 | 173 → that his concept of God is not only the concept of a ‘cold’ and impersonal highest principle of science, but equally the concept of God as a person, is based on the premise that the sufficient condition for being a person consists in being aware of oneself. Because in the synthetical-descending part of science Krause has shown that God is essentially aware of Himself as Himself – he is entirely directed upon Himself and grasps Himself completely – Krause can conclude that ‘God is the infinite, unconditioned person, or personality’ (Krause 1828: 383). God Himself, that is, is not only conscious of Himself as the infinite and unconditioned Essence, but is also conscious of this knowledge of Himself: ‘God is conscious of His own knowledge. God is self-conscious of His own self-consciousness. God knows [weiß] the knowledge of His knowledge. God is self-conscious of the self-consciousness of his self-consciousness’ (Krause 1828: 382).

Further, as Himself the self-consciousness of self-consciousness, God is the one truth: ‘Truth [is] the one essentiality of knowledge or intuition […], by which the essentiality of the object itself is intuited, or, as one usually says, by which knowledge corresponds with the known. Now, God intuits Essence, as God is. That means: God intuits, in truth, Himself. God’s intuition is the truth. And, because this is part of the essence of Orwesen, so the statement: “God is the truth” is valid’ (Krause 1828: 383).

11.4  The importance of Krause’s arguments for panentheism

Second, Krause’s panentheistic system of science is based on the same arguments that are still in used today. On the one hand, it is argued that we must not identify the world with the ultimate ground of the world but keep in mind the direction of constitution: the world is what it is in virtue of God’s being what God is. This direction of dependency determines the direction of ultimate explanation: from God to the world. To be able to provide an explanation of the world in terms of an ultimate ground, therefore, prima facie presupposes to draw a distinction between the world and its ultimate ground that enables a distinction between the explanandum, the existence and essence of the world, and the explanans, the highest principle of the world. Without this distinction, the ultimate ground of the world could not be used as part of an ultimate explanation of reality. On the other hand, although there is a distinction between God, as the ultimate principle of ← 173 | 174 → the world, and the world itself, a distinction that is needed for ultimate explanation, there cannot be a substantial distinction between them for a variety of reasons. That is to say, if God is strictly the perfect single ultimate ground of the existence and of the essence of the world, then every property of the world, each and every of its essentialities, as it were, has to be an essentiality of God, which is to say that there is nothing in the world that is not what it is in virtue of the highest principle being what it is. But these features can only be grounded in God if they belong to the nature of the divine Being itself, which, as a consequence, is identified with its essentialities. All the essentialities of the world therefore must be united in the essence of God in a way beyond contradiction, or else God is not the single ultimate ground of the existence and essence of the world.59 But, then there cannot be a substantial distinction between the ultimate ground of the world, and the world itself, because it is not possible for the highest principle to be related to the world in a way that bestows existence to the world as something external and ontologically distinct from its ultimate ground. It is not possible that there is a substantial distinction between God, on the one side, and the world, on the other, that allows us to address God as something external to the existence or essence of the world: God could only be thus related if He was not the ultimate ground of reality and there was a higher principle uniting God and the world. Therefore, although the logic of explanation in a first step presupposes that there is a distinction between the single ultimate ground of the world and the world itself, a distinction that is mirrored by the distinction between explanans and explanandum, this distinction is ontologically abrogated in a second step because the single ultimate ground of the world cannot be in opposition to what He is ground of.

In effect, all of this is due to the peculiar logic of what it means to be the single ultimate ground of the world: to be, at the same time, distinct and yet ← 174 | 175 → not distinct from reality. However, out of the four models of the relation between God and the world, only the panentheistic thesis integrates both aspects: by not identifying God with the world – there is a distinction between the world and God, in so far as God is considered to be that in virtue of which the world exists and is what it is – and by locating the ontological place of the world firmly in God himself – there cannot be a substantial distinction between God and the world. As Biernacki (2013: 2) says: ‘Panentheism is especially rich as a concept, because, unlike a variety of other theisms, it affords the possibility of a permeability between God and the world, a dynamic that offers God in matter and God as transcending matter.’

Second, a related argument points to the fact that, considered as such, the highest principle of the world is unlimited and unconditioned. This is often expressed by using the Hegelian phrase that God is ‘truly infinite’: If God, however, is truly infinite, then God cannot be limited by anything that is substantially ontologically distinct from Him. If there was something that is distinct from the single ultimate ground of the world, then this ground could, after all, not be the single ultimate ground of the world: it would not be the ground of whatever it is that is distinct from it. It would be bounded and conditioned by this other entity. Therefore, the world cannot be distinct from God because in this case the ‘true infinity’ of God would be limited by the existence of finite reality and God could no longer be conceived as the ultimate principle.60

All of this is already contained in Krause’s panentheism. In fact, through the distinction between Orwesen and Urwesen Krause is able to state the relation ← 175 | 176 → between the ultimate ground of the world and the world in a clear-cut way. On the one hand, Krause has shown that in so far as we consider God to be Orwesen, that is, to be God as such, then God is pure selfhood and wholeness, that is, God is the one infinite and unconditioned being that is not part of any opposition and distinction and therefore both cannot be opposed to the world and is the one primordial being that in the unity of its being is identical to any essentiality of the world. On the other, in so far as we consider Orwesen in Himself, that is, in so far as we consider the intrinsic constitution of Orwesen, we find both opposition between those elements that constitute the world – selfhood and wholeness, reason and nature – as well as the principle in virtue of which reason and nature are distinct and united in such a way that they constitute the world, where this principle is called Urwesen. Urwesen is God if we consider God to be separated from the world as the ground in virtue of which the world exists and is what it is. God as such includes the world, God in Himself as the principle in virtue of which the world exists can be distinguished from the world, which is to say that depending on how we conceptualise the highest principle of the world, it either is the one infinite and unconditioned Being or shows itself as in itself being both the world and its principle (think of one of those pictures that, depending on how you look at them, turn out to represent something different, like the duck-rabbit or the Rubin Vase).

Through the distinction between Orwesen and Urwesen Krause provides a solution to what could be referred to as the paradox of panentheism: ‘[The claim] that God is more than simply an emergent quality of the world and that the world is somehow more than simply a part of God, is the core of what may be called the panentheistic paradox. God both is and is not the world. God and the world are united, yet distinct. It is here that we plainly see the pregnant yet unclear implications of the simple “en” that connects the “pan” to “theism”, the “in” that connects God to world. Is speaking of the world in God (and God in the world) to speak merely of the co-presence of God and world (what may be called “weak panentheism”), or is it to speak in a real sense of the identity of God and world, albeit in terms of part and whole (strong panentheism)? Is the world simply in God or of God? Does panentheism imply that the world is God?’ (Peterson 2001: 399).

The distinction between Orwesen and Urwesen, also enables Krause to refute Polkinghorne’s objection against panentheism, when Polkinghorne argues: ‘Panentheism’s defect is its denial of the true otherness of the world ← 176 | 177 → from God’ (Polkinghorne 2004: 95). Since there is nothing except Orwesen, Orwesen cannot stand in a relation of opposition to the world as this would cancel the true infinity of Orwesen. Krause can, however, declare that the world is distinct from God in so far as God is understood to be Urwesen. In other words, the Absolute as such cannot be distinct from the world. The Absolute in itself has to be distinguished from the world as the principle of the unity of its essentialities. The world is an inner structure of God and is eternally determined by its essence to be that which it is: the unificatory union of nature, reason, and humanity.61

11.5  The interaction between God and the world on Krause’s panentheism

Two themes are of particular interest: whether panentheism is able to specify, apart from the grandeur of the intuition that the world is ‘in’ God, a clear-cut account of what this means and whether there is a mutual influence between the world and God. Let us start with reflection on the preposition ‘in’. As Clayton (2004: 252) argues: ‘Already the etymology of the term “pan-en-theism” suggests that the little pronoun “in” linking “all” and “God” must bear the brunt of the interpretive burden. Can it hold up under the pressure?’62 Taken at face value, the interpretative burden is not due ← 177 | 178 → to this very preposition ‘in’, and is therefore not a special problem only of panentheism, but is due to the fact that none of the prepositions, used in a philosophical or scientific context, has a clear-cut meaning. That is to say, a similar request could be brought against every attempt at determining the relation of God to the world: if it is claimed that God is the world, then the objection would target the identity and ask what it then means that God is the world. If the world is thought as outside God, then the objection would be the following: what does that then mean, that the world is outside God? The demand to clarify what any of these prepositions, used in the current context, means is therefore, strictly speaking, only another formulation of the problem of knowing the relation of God to the world. If the objection strengthens the assumption that there is, in principle, no appropriate sense of ‘in’, ‘is’ or ‘outside’, then only the impossibility of knowing the relation between God and the world is claimed.

However, despite this general problem, there is a whole variety of particular interpretations of ‘in’ suggested in the recent debates: ‘Thomas Oord of Western Nazarene University has put together a list of the various meanings of “in” that seem to be entailed by [panentheistic positions]. His list is illustrative. The world is “in” God because: 1. That is its literal location, 2. God energizes the world, 3. God experiences or “prehends” the world […] 4. God ensouls the world, 5. God plays with the world […] 6. God “enfields” the world, 7. God gives space to the world, […] 8. God encompasses or contains the world […], 9. God binds up the world by giving the divine self to the world, 10. God provides the ground of emergences in, or the emergence of, the world […], 11. God befriends the world […] 12. All things are contained “in Christ” […] 13. God graces the world’ (Clayton 2004: 253).

To this list of different interpretations of ‘in’, Krause adds a further interpretation: ‘Following present linguistic usage, I use “in” here […] of finite essences and essentialities, and mean by it that the higher whole is this finite thing, as its part, in such a way that this finite thing, as a part, is the same, according to its essentialities, as the higher whole it is part of. However, as a part, it is limited in so far as its limits are the limits of the higher whole, ← 178 | 179 → as a higher whole, but do not exhaust the limits of this higher whole as such. […] Of course, all the words in our ordinary language [Volkssprache] which designate relations between things are first derived from space, as “in”, “beside”, “on”, “below”, “beside”, “out”. Or, rather, in the ordinary pre-scientific consciousness they are mostly understood only from space. But all these words must be understood in an abstract way, and taken in a way that transcends their use in relation to sense, when they are used in connection with philosophy. It is, therefore, not permitted to distort these words of the philosopher, as if he were speaking of spatial relations, if he also uses these words, to denote the relation of the finite to the infinite’ (Krause 1869: 307–08).

So Krause explicitly argues that the ‘in’ in panentheism is not to be understood in any spatial way, but instead should be understood as a relation that can be addressed as a relation of grounding or logical determination according to which the part is what it is in virtue of the fact that the whole is what it is, without the part being exhaustive of the full determination of the whole as a whole. That is, when A is in B, then A is a part of B in virtue of A’s possession of all the relevant properties (essentialities) that define B, as B, without being identical to B as such. Because, in the contemporary discussion, only the name ‘panentheism’ was taken from the work of Krause, without adopting Krause’s further insights and arguments, the error could creep in that ‘panentheism’ carries a spatial metaphor in the name. As Peterson (2001: 399) wrongly asserts: ‘It is noteworthy that panentheism implies in its very name what may called a locative or spatial metaphor. That is, God and world are conceived as occupying different, spatial locations, with one being inside the other.’

Krause clarifies his definition of ‘in’ by the example of the Sun, which is in nature and by the example of the ego, which is in God: ‘So, we say some finite natural entity, e.g. the sun, might be in nature. This contains the following compound thoughts: the sun is a finite entity. It is a part of a higher whole, nature. In its essentialities, the sun is similar to nature. But the sun is bounded. And the limits separate the sun from the whole of nature, but also unite it with it. Further, this limit is only the limit of this sun. The whole of nature, as a whole, is not also bounded or circumscribed by the limit of the sun. All this is what we want to say when we assert that the sun is in nature’ (Krause 1828: 307). The second example concerns the ← 179 | 180 → ego and its relation to God: ‘Similarly, if it is asserted that the ego, or any finite rational being, is in God, then this claim means the following: God is also the ego, also all the egos, but only as a part. Not the whole of God is a finite ego or all the finite egos. It is further thought that the ego is of the essentiality of Essence, so that the ego is a also a self-same and whole essence, as God is, but finite and limited, not infinite and unconditioned like God’ (Krause 1828: 307–08).

That the world and, through it, every finite essence is in Orwesen therefore means nothing over and above what Krause’s panentheism has already established: that the world is determined through the essentiality of Orwesen. Nature, reason, humanity, and everything found in reason, nature, and humanity, is determined through the essentiality of Orwesen. In more detail, because Orwesen is the unity of that which Orwesen is, and that which Orwesen is is the unity of the formal and material categories selfhood, wholeness, directedness, and comprehension, as well as the infinite combinations of these categories, it follows that the world, and everything found in the world, is in Orwesen because everything is a finite realisation of the infinite unity of the essentiality of Orwesen.

Let us turn to the second topic that is frequently discussed amongst panentheists today and see what Krause has to say about it: whether there is a mutual influence between the world and God. Many panentheists indeed assume that panentheism implies that God is influenced by the world. One might argue, along with Müller, as follows: ‘In very crude outline, one could say that “panentheism” stands for the thesis “everything is in God”, and is thus different, on the one hand, from pantheism in the sense of “God is everything”, understood as a God-world identity, and on the other, from theism in the sense of a radical difference between the divine and the world […]. Panentheism, in contrast, implies something like the denial of the lack of consequences of the world and the finite for God as such. The world-transcending self-identity of God does not rule out a determination of God through the universe’ (Müller 2010: 744). Furthermore, Gregersen also argues that it is a characteristic of panentheistic positions to assume a reciprocal relationship between God and the world: ‘What constitutes the common aspiration of the [different] versions of panentheism? I suggest that they all share the intuition of a living two-way relation between God and world, within the inclusive reality of God […] The real demarcation ← 180 | 181 → line between panentheism and classical philosophical theism is neither the immanence of God nor the use of the metaphor of the world’s being “in” God. The real difference […] is that [on theism] the natures and activities of the creatures do not have a real feedback on God. There is, in other words, no return from the world into God’ (Gregersen 2004: 22–24).

Krause’s panentheism can formulate the answer to the question of the interrelationship between God and the world by recourse to the two different concepts of God: Orwesen and Urwesen. The world has no influence on Orwesen, that is to say, on God as such. For any influence on Orwesen would imply, qua influence of one thing on another, that Orwesen stands in a relation of opposition to the world. Otherwise, the world could not exert any influence on God as such. This would count against the true infinity of Orwesen. Urwesen, in contrast to this, is united with the world as the principle in virtue of which it exists and is also opposed to the world. Thereby Urwesen is in a relation of opposition to the world that is necessary for the reciprocal interaction and for the influence of the world on God. Since Orwesen is the unity of what Orwesen is as such and in itself, however, this means that although Orwesen is not in direct causal interaction with the world, Orwesen is nevertheless logically influenced and determined and is what it is in virtue of the freedom found realized in the world.

In order to understand this in more detail, two of Krause’s premises must be briefly explained. On the one hand, Krause holds that the freedom of every finite entity is nothing but an expression of the absolute freedom of Orwesen: free beings are free because they are in God and God is free. As Krause (1892a: 125) specifies: ‘The freedom that I have is God’s freedom. My freedom is a primordial [urendlicher], inner part of the one free Essence. In my finitude it is similar (essentially the same, but a difference in the boundaries) to God’s freedom, that is, it is a primordial freedom which God has “allowed” (lent) to Himself, as being, within Himself, I. By God’s essentiality and actions, therefore, Essence is not limited in itself but resembles itself in its inner infinite form (essential sameness) and is itself self-affirming for itself.’

On the other hand, for Krause, although Orwesen is not subject to the flow of time, time is the form of the inner life of God, considered a such, and therefore the intrinsic constitution of Orwesen, that is, the nature of the Absolute in itself, with its separation and union of Urwesen and the world, ← 181 | 182 → is the temporal explication of what God, as such, is. That is, the relation between Urwesen and the world, which is realized in time, is what Orwesen is timelessly as such. It follows that, while Orwesen cannot change, and eternally is what it is, that what Orwesen is eternally is what it is in virtue of its intrinsic and temporal constitution that, of course, is influenced by the free decisions of free creatures. Free choices, in other words, determine what the Absolute as such eternally is, and because everything is in the Absolute, another way to spell this out in the dialectic of temporal freedom and eternal determination is to say that the Absolute freely determines what it yet always already will have been. The course of the world, as a consequence, is not determined and not knowable by God as such. There is, in other words, no necessity of a particular historical development of the world: ‘What is not yet, in so far as it is not yet, cannot be known. So, everything that emerges from the absolute freedom of God, that is not yet, is therefore also not yet known as such. […] For that which is to happen in the future only by God’s freedom [and hence a fortiori by the freedom of finite beings], is not yet something as such, and also, therefore, not yet knowable’ (Krause 1892a: 160).

Krause’s panentheism can explain the extent to which an interaction between God and world is possible, and thereby can at the same time account for another dictum of modern panentheism, namely that ‘God requires a world, but not the world. By contrast, what the world requires is not simply a God but the one and only possible God, the Worshipful One. Thus God in his eternal necessity is alone and unrivalled among individuals’ (Hartshorne 1967: 64f). As should be clear by now, this insight is already an entailment of Krause’s system of philosophy: in Krause’s panentheism the fact that there is a world is constitutive of the intrinsic nature of God as such, while at the same time, due to the freedom bestowed to the development of the world as such, it is not fixed how the history of the world will turn out be. So, God requires a world, but not the world as it factually developed. Krause’s panentheism is consistent with the possibility that a world other than the actual world could have been real. For, if the free beings existing in the world had decided differently, the world-course would have been de facto different. If the course of the world had been a different one, then Orwesen, as the unconditioned and infinite essence, would, indeed, always already have been different in what it is in its self-consciousness. ← 182 | 183 →

11.6  Summary

That the world is in God, means for Krause that God is and determines everything in His being and knowledge, as the one infinite principle of science, that is, as the unity of the formal and material categories of all being and knowing. No finite essence is identical with Orwesen, neither the world or any essence in the world, but Orwesen is in itself each finite essence. For each finite essence is determined in its being and its being recognized through the essentialities of Essence. Krause can justify his concept of God as a plausible concept of God and his system of philosophy provides arguments for panentheism that are almost indistinguishable from the arguments deployed today. Furthermore, Krause can account for the relation between God and the world in a way that is on the highest level of reflection concerning these matters, and therefore is a valuable source of insight for recent debates in the philosophy of religion. ← 183 | 184 →

33 See Beaney (2013: 12–14): ‘It was with respect to the Cambridge School that the term “analytic philosophy” was first used […] The most important event in the development of analytic philosophy in its second phase, though, was the establishment of the Vienna Circle. […] The movement of logical positivism […] proved to be far more influential than the Cambridge School of Analysis.’ See also Beaney (2013a: 44): ‘Talk of “logical analysis”, and the obvious influence of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus on the ideas of the logical positivists, clearly connected logical positivism to the Cambridge School of Analysis, and this connection was obvious to those who visited Europe from elsewhere.’

34 See Beaney (2013: 3): ‘Over the course of the twentieth century analytic philosophy developed into the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world, and it is now steadily growing in the non-English-speaking world.’

35 See Beaney (2013: 58): ‘Philosophical doctrines, positions, and problems can indeed be regarded as independent of their articulation by any particular person – but only up to a point, or within local contexts, contexts that embed shared presuppositions or where a “meeting of minds” can be relied upon.’

36 See Parsons (2013: 247–48): ‘Analytic philosophy is a genre or style of philosophy […] that advocates rigorous forms of logical or conceptual analysis as the central method of philosophy. […] [Analytic philosophers share] a commitment to the rigorous examination of philosophical problems in the light of tools and methods drawn from formal logic, set theory, and the natural sciences.’

37 See Russell (1900: 8): ‘That all sound philosophy should begin with an analysis of propositions, is a truth too evident, perhaps, to demand a proof.’

38 That the genesis of the philosophical thesis to be examined may be derived from very different sources of knowledge, such as tradition, intuition, and inspiration, is a self-evident fact within the framework of analytical philosophy. But this does not imply anything about the validity of the corresponding thesis.

39 See Beaney (2013: 26): ‘The analytic philosopher might then be characterized as someone who knows how to use these tools [of conceptual and argumentative analysis], through training in modern logic and study of the work of their predecessors. Each analytic philosopher may have different aims, ambitions, backgrounds, concerns, motivations, presuppositions, and projects, and they may use these tools in different ways to make different constructions, criticisms, evaluations, and syntheses; but there is a common repertoire of analytic techniques and a rich fund of instructive examples to be draw upon; and it is these that form the methodological basis of analytic philosophy. As analytic philosophy has developed and ramified, so has its toolbox been enlarged and the examples of practice (both good and bad) expanded.’ See also Löffler (2007: 375): ‘Analytical philosophizing is a style of philosophizing and not a bundle of particular positions. It is, therefore, nothing to which theologians and Christian philosophers have to have fear or excessive reserves about – but also nothing that carries an intrinsic quality guarantee.’

40 Prominent authors such as Russell and Stump count, for example, Leibniz and Thomas Aquinas as historical practitioners of analytic philosophy. See also Beaney (2013: 10): ‘But if Leibniz so counts [as an analytic philosopher for Russell], then how far back can we go? To Descartes? To Ockham, Buridan, and other medieval logicians? To Aristotle or even Plato?’

41 It is perhaps only a contingent fact of history that Krause has not yet been granted any success. For example, Frege’s Begriffsschrift, which putatively served the same purpose, was successfully taken up by contemporary philosophy. Cf. Frege (1998: xi): ‘I believe I make the relation of my Begriffschrift to ordinary language [Sprache des Lebens] clearest when I compare it with that of the microscope to the eye. The latter has a great superiority over the miscroscope in the scope of its applicability, by the flexibility by which it is able to adapt itself to different circumstances. Considered as optical apparatus, it shows many imperfections which usually remain unobserved, just in consequence of its intimate connection with the life of the mind [geistigen Leben]. However, as soon as scientific aims place greater emphasis on the sharpness of the resolution [Unterscheidung], the eye reveals itself as insufficient. The microscope, on the other hand, is most perfectly adapted for just such purposes, even if, however, thereby thoroughly useless for all others.’

42 This use of the term ‘God’ is what I take Fischer to mean when he says, ‘I assume that the term “God” is a descriptive expression used to mark a certain role, rather than a proper name’ (Fischer 1989: 87). Prima facie it seems that one could also say that ‘God’ is indeed a proper name whose referent is fixed on one entity, but that there are many models of what this entity is like. In this case, though, one already assumes that ‘God’ refers to a single entity and therefore assumes that ‘God exists’ is true no matter what. If one understands ‘God’ as a role concept that has to satisfy conditions of adequacy, this problem does not arise: maybe there is no single entity that satisfies the necessary and sufficient conditions to be adequately referred to as ‘God’.

43 For further discussion see, for instance, Schärtl (2016), Buckareff/Nagasawa (2016), Schellenberg (2016), and Nozick (1989: 200). According to Schellenberg (2016: 166), ‘the basic claim religion in the twenty-first century should be seen as calling us to consider is that there is a reality ultimate in three ways: metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically.’

44 I prefer to speak of the ‘ultimate ground’ or ‘ultimate principle’ instead of the ‘ultimate cause’ because the concept of a cause is often assumed to be synonymic with the concept of an efficient cause that is part of the natural order of the universe. The concept of a ground of reality allows to include concepts of the ultimate foundation of reality that go beyond its being a mere efficient cause. Cf. Drees (2016).

45 Cf. Wildman (2009: 614): ‘The words “ultimate” and “ultimacy” suggest finality, and thus the phrase “ultimate realities” denotes our bold attempts to express what is most profound and definitive about the whole of reality.’ Cf. also Wildman (2009: 625): ‘ultimate realities are the most basic ontological condition of reality.’

46 Cf., for instance, Findlay (1955: 52/53), Leftow (2016: 68–70), and Pike (1970: 149–150)

47 Cf. Göcke (2016) for an analysis of the different traditions to speak of the ultimate ground of reality and for an argument that we should rely on the means of paraconsistent logic to describe the nature of this ground.

48 Cf. Kretzmann (2007) for an analysis of Aristotelian and Thomistic arguments for the existence of God.

49 As Kim et al. (2012: 205) argue, ‘our worldview forms the context within which we base our understanding of reality, knowledge, morality, and life’s meaning and purpose. Our worldview has a profound impact on how we decide what is real versus unreal, what is right versus wrong, and what is important versus unimportant. It shapes our culture and expresses itself in all institutions including the arts, religion, education, media, and business.’ Cf. Sire 1997, Walsh and Middleton 1984, Apostel and Van der Veken (1991: 29–30) specify the following essential questions related to the analysis of worldviews: ‘(a) What is? Ontology (model of being), (b) Where does it all come from? Explanation (model of the past); (c) Where are we going? Prediction (model of the future); (d) What is good and evil? Axiology (theory of values), (e) How should we act? Praxeology (theory of action)’ (trans. in Aerts et al. 1994, 25, quoted from Vidal (2012: 309)).

50 Despite this ideal methodological self-image, however, this ideal is not, and maybe can never be met with in reality. As van Inwagen (2006: 39) says: ‘Only one thing can be said against this standard of philosophical success: if it were adapted, almost no arguments for any substantive philosophical thesis would count as a success […] If there were an argument, an argument for a substantial philosophical thesis, that was a success by this standard, there would be a substantive philosophical thesis such that every philosopher who rejected it was either uninformed […] or irrational or mad. Are there any?’ The reason is that the central concepts of philosophy and of sound philosophical argumentation are not very clear and are themselves subject to critical discussion: There is, for instance, no clear-cut concept of reasonable discourse on which philosophers agree and no unanimity concerning the scope and power of reason – which explains why reasonable people of equal intellectual power very often tend to disagree on very fundamental conceptual questions concerning major philosophical concepts like causation, reason, and the self.

51 For different formalisations of these arguments, and their corresponding problems, cf. Ricken (1998) and Sobel (2004).

52 This supposes cognitivism about religious assertions: The claims of faith are either true or false and are intended to be descriptions of reality. For an analysis of religious claims and their relation to reason cf. Howard-Snyder (2013), Smith (1998), Swinburne (2005), Audi (2008) and Audi (2013).

53 Cf. Mautner (1996: 416) for a characterisation of the supernatural and natural realms of being: ‘Supernatural beings exist above or beyond nature, where “nature” is to be understood in a wide sense, to take in all of space and time and everything existing within that framework, i.e. the whole of the physical universe.’

54 For further discussion of the God of the Gaps, cf. Larmer (2002). According to Larmer (2002: 129), ‘although the phrase “God of the gaps” is widely and disparagingly used, and is understood by those employing it to refer to reasoning that is clearly fallacious, there has been little rigorous examination of this presumed fallacy. Exactly wherein the fallacy lies and whether those who defend the claim of divine intervention in the course of nature are really guilty of such reasoning gets little discussion. Equally, it seems to be assumed, rather than argued, that theologians in the past have typically been guilty of this fallacy and that the progress of scientific understanding has steadily undermined any prospect of justifying claims of divine intervention within the course of nature.’

55 Theism is the default position in the philosophy of religion, particularly in analytic philosophy of religion. The adequacy of theism is argued for, for instance, by Swinburne (2016), Leftow (2015) and Craig (2008). Cf. also Hick (2010) for a discussion of the theistic concept of God of analytic philosophy of religion.

56 Cf. Forrest (2016), Pfeifer (2016), and Levine (1994) for recent attempts to justify a pantheistic concept of God. Cf. also Hartshorne (2000a) und Hartshorne (1987) for an analysis of pantheism. Although Spinoza is often referred to as a pantheist he could also be classified as a panentheist. Despite his assertion that ‘There can be, or be conceived, no other substance but God’ he also held that ‘Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God’ (Spinoza 2002: 224).

57 It is difficult to find someone arguing explicitly for the position of emergent theism. According to Thomas (2016), Alexander (1920) can be understood as arguing for emergent theism.

58 For a critical analysis of these problems see, for instance, Schärtl/Tapp/Wegener (2016), Buckareff/Nagasawa (2016a), Diller/Kasher (2016), and Towne (2005).

59 Cf. Pseudo-Dionysius (1987: 1000b): ‘What has actually to be said about the Cause of everything is this: Since it is the Cause of all beings, we should posit and ascribe to it all the affirmations we make in regards to beings, and more appropriately, we should negate all these affirmations, since it surpasses all being. Now we should not conclude that the negations are simply the opposites of the affirmations, but rather that the cause of all is considerably prior to this, beyond privations, beyond every denial, beyond every assertion.’

60 Cf. Turner (2011: 296–297): ‘If we are to speak of the divine infinity, it seems necessary to distinguish between infinity understood as the simple negation of the finite such as yields its corresponding contradictory, namely, that of the infinite understood as endlessness – whether of mathematical or of temporal seriality – and the infinity that is yielded by the negation of the negation between the finite and the infinite as so understood in mathematics. Logically, the difference consists in that, in the case of “ordinary” negation, the notion of infinity amounts to the negation of serial finiteness, an endlessly extruded series each of whose parts is finite, because mutually exclusive, each being a “this” rather than a “that.” In the case of the divine being, however, we have to speak of an infinity that transcends that known by force of “ordinary” negation of the finite, because the negation required is the negation of that “ordinary” negation itself. As such, this “transcendent” notion of the infinite is such as to exclude all exclusion.’

61 The following thought of Dieter Henrich could therefore also have come from Krause himself: ‘The all-one [All-Eine] is that self-sufficient one which originally differentiated itself into everything or which, by its essence, is originally differentiated into everything. This self-differentiation is the property which has replaced the original difference between unity and the many [der Einheit und den Vielen]. The correlation between unity as form and the multiplicity of the contents is characteristic of the normal image of a world. In it too, the many are related to one another in their form, as the many are always presupposed. On the other hand, the all-one is determined by self-differentiation. The many are included in it, as the all-one, and therefore with it from the fundamentally equal constitution [von der grundsätzlich gleichen Verfassung]. It follows directly from this that the plurality of many included in the All-One must similarly be assigned the property of self-differentiation’ (Henrich 2007: 269f.).

62 Cf. Gregersen (2004: 19): ‘As such panentheism attempts to steer a middle course between an acosmic theism, which separates God and World (G/W), and a pantheism which identifies God with the universe as a whole (G=W). Positively speaking, panentheists want to balance divine transcendence and immanence by preserving aspects of the former’s claim of God’s self-identity while embracing the latter’s intimacy between God and Universe.’