absolutize

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

absolute NC I, 10 (Only the true Origin is absolute and self-sufficient)
absolutization I, 16, 26
II, 417
NC I, 175; NC II, 248, 331 (apparent success is made possible by sphere universality)
absolutize I, 23, 26, 35, 53, 55, 58 (of the law), 62 (meaning), 63 (moral, in “homo noumenon”), 64, 69, 71 (thought), 74 (of the normative), 77 (of nous), 86
II, 491; NC I, 13 (absolutizes logical function of thought), 31 (idolatrous absolutizing of the temporal), 46 (in improper theoretical synthesis), 49 (Kant’s religious absolutizing of morality)NC II, 579 (absolutizes the theoretical meaning-synthesis), 491
deified I, 16, 30, 86

NC I, 13 (deified thought, the noesis noeseos, the intellectus archetypus in a purely logical sense)

elevate I, 12, 24 (logic), 27 (life), 37 (noumenon), 52 (Idealism), 57 (reason), 68 (thought)
II, 416
hypostasis I, 29, 76 (of the law in rationalism), 85-86, 132
II, 493, 497
hypostatize I, 55
II, 496; NC II, 562 (self-destructive hypostatizing), 572 (turns truth into falsehood)
idol I, 64, 86 (idol-Ideas)
idolatrous I, 24

“The Secularization of Science” (idolatry)

-isms I, 26, 28, 85

We absolutize an aspect of reality when we try to elevate that aspect of meaning to the totality of meaning. This is the source of all -isms in theoretical thought. In naturalistic thought, guided by the faith in the self-sufficiency of natural science, the theoretical self-consciousness is dispersed in its pre-logical ‘Gegenstände’(NC II, 328). Idealism focuses on subjective, temporal theoretical activity, identifying itself with normative subject-functions.

Absolutization of meaning is also called hypostasis, or hypostatization of meaning. Hypostasis means a “standing under.” We may contrast this “standing under” an elevated aspect of reality to the standing in the truth, the true enstasis. Hypo-stasis therefore always involves an apo-stasis or apostasy in the turning away from a true enstasis. It is a turning from standing in the truth to the standing in falsehood or a lie.

In absolutization, there is “a depreciation of an abstract complex of functions of the created cosmos over against an other abstracted and deified complex.” (NC I, 175). Absolutization of an aspect of meaning is also making an idol of that aspect (NC II, 323).

Absolutization is related to a disregard for the three transcendental Ideas of Origin, Totality and temporal coherence:

Through sin the power of man was turned away from its religious fulness; instantly the striving after its absolutization came into existence, the disregard for its temporal meaning-coherence, root and Origin.(NC II, 248)

It is important to note that Dooyeweerd says that absolutization is only possible because of the law of concentration of temporal reality in the religious center of human existence”

That is also why human existence, in its religious center, is subject to a law of religious concentration, which has not been abrogated by the fall. All the power of the devil is based on this law of concentration in human existence, because without this law idolatry would be impossible. Sin is a privation, a lie, a nothingness, but the power of sin is something positive, which is dependent on the created goodness of reality. (“The Secularization of Science,” tr. R.D. Knudsen, International Reformed Bulletin, IX (July 1966, p. 5, cited by Steen, p. 74 ft. 46).

Dooyeweerd says that sin is not merely privatio, not something merely negative, but a positive, guilty apostasy insofar as it reveals its power, derived from creation itself (NC II, 33).

Franz von Baader speaks of this kind of absolutization. He says that the denial of our true Center results in an absolutization of the temporal (“Vergötterung oder Verewigung der Schein-Zeit”) (Zeit 23). The negation of God always results in idolatry or the absolutization of the temporal (Werke I, 21). This is what the Bible refers to as the denying “Spirit of Lies,” and the “Murderer in the Beginning.” It is the original lie of Lucifer, the proton pseudos (Zeit, 25, 41 ft. 21). Dooyeweerd also refers to this proton pseudos or “radical lie” (NC II, 561-563). Dooyeweerd says that this absolutizing is the source of the many –isms of thought, such as psychologism, historicism, etc. (NC, I, 46).

Baader says that all dualism is caused in the root of the temporal being, by the wish to remain in one’s own center (Zeit 34, ft. 14). He says that these antithetical principles are at the bottom of our knowledge (theology, physiology, natural philosophy); these dualisms may be open or hidden (Werke 5,254; Sauer 128). Any attempt to absolutize the periphery (the temporal), or to attempt the coordination of points on the periphery without their subordination to the Center will results in a polar dualism or antinomy (Weltalter, 331).

These areas of knowledge did not specifically refer to psychology, which only became a separate discipline some time towards the end of the 19th century, Prior to that time, Baader could only refer to the absolutization of our feelings and our senses. Baader objects to such an elevation of feeling by philosophers such as Jacobi. Our feelings, imagination and concepts are functions and not substantial beings (als erstarrt gedacht) (Werke II, 223; cited by Sauer 46). My sensory functions must not be abstracted from my own self (Werke 12, 104; 11, 364; cited by Sauer 32).

Baader also says that our sensory functions are not the same as our thinking functions; nor are the senses the source and origin of our thinking. Both functions are part of a total process of living (Werke V, 53; cited by Sauer 31). The “factors” must not be seen as hypostatized or mummified (Werke 2,223; Sauer 46). Like Dooyeweerd, Baader says that our capacities and faculties in the temporal region are not to be regarded as separate beings (or “whats”) (Fermenta V, 23).

Dooyeweerd says that absolutization tries to do away with meaning (II, 296). In other words, absolutization it tries to be self-sufficient. But it is the transcendental ground of our being that makes possible this apparent idolization of the temporal:

Even the idolatrous absolutizing of the temporal cannot be explained from the temporal horizon of human existence…This act of concentration presupposes a supra-temporal starting-point in our consciousness. (NC I, 31)

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