act

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.)

act I, 9, 23-25, 32, 44, 50, 84, 132
II, 407, 494; NC I, 20 (religious act), 32 (the central sphere of human existence is the central sphere of occurrence)
NC II, 372 (cannot be enclosed in a modal aspect), 472-473
NC III, 88
acting
action
activating I, 34
active I, 21
activity I, 6, 33-34, 56, 72
actual I, 6-7, 9-10, 13-14, 43, 72

NC I, 5 (philosophical thinking is an actual activity), 7 (actual logical function of thought can never be “an sich”)

actuality I, 7-9, 21, 35, 78, 133
II, 408; NC I, 5
occurs, occurrence NC I, 32 (acts which occur in the central sphere of occurrence must be distinguished from the historical aspect of cosmic time)

See the extensive discussion of issues relating to these terms in my article “Imagination, Image of God and Wisdom of God: Theosophical Themes in Dooyeweerd’s Philosophy,” (2006), particularly in Part 2: Imagination is an Act.

Human beings are an enkaptic intertwinement of different individuality structures: the physico-chemical, the biotic, the psychical and the act-structure. This fourth structure is what distinguishes us from other temporal creation. The temporal existence of humans is qualified by their act structure. The act-structure is “the immediate temporal expression of the human I-ness, which transcends the cosmic temporal order” (NC III, 88).

Our acts come out of our supratemporal center or heart. But these acts are expressed in our temporal functions.

All our acts [verrichtingen] come forth out of the soul (or spirit) but they function within the enkaptically structured whole of the human body. In our acts, under the leadership of normative points of view, we direct our self intentionally to states of affairs either in reality or in the world of our imagination. In the intentional character of the “acts” lies their “innerness” [innerlijkheid]. It is the performance (activity) which actualizes (realizes) the intention of the act (“32 Propositions on Anthropology”). (De leer van den mensch in de W.D.W., Corr. Bladen 5 (1942).

Thus, intentionality is related to the expression of our acts, but there are different ways that these acts are expressed, different directions of expression.

There are three different intentional directions of our acts: the knowing, the volitional and the imaginative directions (NC III, 88). These are three intertwined acts: They are not three separate “faculties.” They are united in our central selfhood. Already in a 1922 article, Dooyeweerd says that the unity of intuition, thinking and knowledge [schouwen, denken and kennen] is rooted in our cosmic selfhood (Verburg 36).

Acts presuppose our time-transcending selfhood:

The intermodal synthesis of meaning is a subjective cognitive act. […] As an actus it presupposes the trasnscendent super-temporal [tijd-transcendeerende] I-ness or selfhood which, according to the Archimedean point of our cosmonomic Idea, shares in the religious root of the whole of temporal reality.(NC II, 472).

Our supratemporal selfhood is more than its acts. It transcends all acts and functions. It is apostasy to seek our selfhood within the temporal .

It is human personality that operates in cognition; it is not one or more of its abstracted modal functions. In its religious root this personality transcends its temporal acts and modal functions. This holds good no matter whether the cosmological self-consciousness,in the cognitive activity, is directed in Christ to the true Origin of all things, to the sovereign Creator and Heavenly Father, or, in sinful apostasy, seeks itself and the Origin in the temporal. (NC II, 473).

Our acts come out of our supratemporal soul or spirit, but they function within the enkaptic structural whole of the body, by which man, under the guidance of normative viewpoints, intentionally [bedoelend] directs himself to states of affairs in reality or in our imagination, and then makes these states of affairs innerly his own [innerlijk eigen maakt] by relating them to his selfhood [ikheid]. The human act life reveals itself in the three basic directions of knowing, imagining and willing. (Reformatie en Scholastiek in de Wijsbegeerete, Vol. I, 137; cited by Verburg 266).

Within these three directions of knowing, willing and imagining, our acts can have any different structures of individuality.

The act of praying is typically qualified as an act of faith. The act of scientific or philosophical reflection is typically qualified by the theoretical-logical function of thought, the act of aesthetical imagination is typically qualified in the aesthetical aspect of experience (NC III, 88).

Acts are not aspects; they are ‘Erlebnisse’ that participate in all aspects (NC II, 112). But since Dooyeweerd specifically denies that feelings constitute a separate kind of act, such ‘Erlebnisse’ must not be understood in Gadamer’s sense of subjective feelings. Feelings are not acts, but rather modalities within every act (NC II, 112)

Perception, representation, and remembrance are acts, not modalities (NC II, 372). How do these acts fit with the three directions of knowing, imagining and willing? I believe that perception and remembrance are acts of knowing. Representation is an act of the imagination.

Our acts, when expressed in the temporal world, are able to form the plastic nature of the horizon of individuality structures. This forming is the basis of history. Acts occur in the supratemporal. Our selfhood is the central sphere of human existence; this is the central sphere of occurrence; that which occurs cannot be distinguished too sharply from historical aspect of time, which is only one of its temporal modalities of meaning (NC I, 32). [Incidentally, this would seem to have a bearing on McIntire’s problem with history as being trans-modal].

In our knowledge, we must positivize principles within the normative aspects of temporal reality.

Baader says that our actions take place from the center outwards to the periphery (Elementarbegriffe 559). The “actual” is what is related to these acts from out of our supratemporal center.

Baader makes a threefold distinction of act–imagination, will and deed (Betanzos 142). Elsewhere he refers to our knowing or thinking. Our ‘Gemüt [mind, heart] is at the same time “Center and Concept of thinking and acting” (Werke 1,104; Sauer 48). He speaks of our “bringing forth” [hervorbringungen] and our “production” [Erzeugnisse] as intuited innerly, thought, and willed. The inner intuition is the imagination. from out of our center. “Über den Begriff der Extasis (Verzücktheit) als Metastasis (Versetztheit),” Philosophische Schriften I, 311).

Revised Sept. 8/07
Revised June20/13 [typos]; Dec 13/16