This question is motivated by trying to find an answer for christo183's question: Why did Hartshorne believe in God?

Looking at the Wikipedia article referenced in that question, I found two passages about perfection that puzzled me:

First, there is a "self-contradictory notion of perfection". What precisely is that notion that is self-contradictory?

Hartshorne accepts that by definition God is perfect. However, Hartshorne maintains that classical Christian theism has held to a self-contradictory notion of perfection. He argues that the classical concept of God fails.

Second, Hartshorne's own notion of perfection is supposedly "rationally conceivable". What precisely is that notion that is rationally conceivable?

Hartshorne has also been an important figure in upholding natural theology, and in offering an understanding of God as a personal, dynamic being. It is accepted by many philosophers that Hartshorne made the idea of perfection rationally conceivable, and so his contribution to the ontological argument is deemed to be valuable for modern philosophical discussion.

I am currently reading Hartshorne's The Divine Relativity and I hope to find an answer there, but perhaps I won't.

In summary, the question is: How did Charles Hartshorne make the idea of perfection rationally conceivable?


Hartshorne, C. (1948). The divine relativity: A social conception of God (Vol. 109). Yale University Press. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.90364/page/n21

Wikipedia, "Charles Hartshorne" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hartshorne

  • 1
    I wonder if Hartshorne's 'The Logic of Perfection' ((LaSalle, Illinois.: The Open Court Publishing House, 1962) would provide a more direct route to answering your question. Just an idea. Best - Geoffrey – Geoffrey Thomas Oct 28 '18 at 18:32
  • @GeoffreyThomas That sounds promising. The more I look into this (after watching some old videos now on YouTube interviewing Hartshorne) this issue with perfection is very troubling for him. Thanks. – Frank Hubeny Oct 28 '18 at 18:54

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