analogy

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.)

analogy II, 420
analogical

Because all temporal reality is a differentiation of supratemporal reality, there are correspondences and relations among these particulars. There are correspondences because all diversity comes from out of the same unity. For Dooyeweerd, analogies are based on ontological realities. As van Peursen says, analogies are not just linguistic jokes. Dooyeweerd’s idea is therefore opposed to modern text theory, postmodernism and cultural relativism (C.A. van Peursen: ‘Dooyeweerd en de wetenschappelijke discussie,’ in Dooyeweerd Herdacht, 86).

These analogies can be seen in the modal horizon of our experience. Each aspect has analogies with all the other aspects; these internal analogies are referred to as moments–either retrocipatory or anticipatory.

Dooyeweerd: says that the kernel-meaning of the aspect controls or directs the analogical [retrocipatory] and anticipatory moments of meaning. Analogical meaning-moments point to the meaning of the earlier law-spheres. The anticipatory point towards the meaning of later law-spheres (“De Theorie van de Bronnen van het Stellig Recht in het licht der Wetsidee,” in Mensch en Maatschappij). And he says,

The nuclear moment, however, cannot display its own modal sense except in close liaison with a series of other moments. These latter are by nature partially analogical, i.e., they recall the nuclear moments of all the aspects which have an anterior place in the temporal order of aspects. Partially also they are of the nature of anticipations, which recall the nuclear moments of all the aspects which have a later place in that order. “Introduction to a Transcendental Criticism of Philosophic Thought” Evangelical Quarterly XIX (1) Jan 1947, p. 43.

In this article and earlier writings, such as the WdW, Dooyeweerd restricted the term ‘analogical’ to the retrocipatory moments. But later he used the word ‘analogical’ to refer to references to both earlier and later law-spheres.

The whole idea of analogical moments depends on the idea of their continuity and temporal succession. Vollenhoven denied that the aspects have this kind of temporal before and after. Therefore, on Vollenhoven’s viewpoint, we cannot really have this idea of retrocipation and anticipation.

If retrocipations are truly to earlier moments of time, then they are a kind of remembering, an anamnesis. Remembrance is one kind of act (NC II, 372). Dooyeweerd describes our naive experience as being made up entirely of these retrocipatory moments. he describes pre-theoretical experience as composed solely of retrocipatory analogies. This experience is made possible by our supratemporal selfhood, which stands above the flow of time, and is able to form a unity of these passing functions. Dooyeweerd says that we have a sense of time only because eternity is set in our heart (‘Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën,’ Philosophia Reformata I, (1936) 65-83, (and IV) (1939), 1-2).

And if anticipations are truly a looking towards future moments, then they have an eschatological moment of anticipating the future. And indeed, that is what Dooyeweerd says.

For the same reason the Idea of the universality of each of the aspects within its own sphere cannot be conceived in a purely eschatological sense; it should also be related to our sinful cosmos. (NC II, 337).

The universality in its own sphere is the relation of all analogical moments to the kernel meaning. It has an eschatological sense, although also more than an eschatological sense.

Dooyeweerd does not go into this in detail, but I believe that the principle of analogy also applies to things within reality. This is why we as humans can share similar individuality structures with other temporal reality, although our act-structure exceeds all other individuality structures.

Dooyeweerd suggests that he was the first to raise the issue of the analogical relations among the various modalities, and the use of these analogies in different branches of science (NC II, 55). To be sure, Dooyeweerd has expanded the ideas of analogy. But he does not acknowledge the previous ideas of Herder, St. Martin, and Baader. Baader refers to Herder’s emphasis on ‘the grand law of analogy’ (Werke XI, 71). And Baader cites St. Martin who refers to the grand law of analogy that ranges across the world (Werke XI, 127-128; Susini 100). See the discussion of Herder in the note on realms.

Baader says, ‘Everything reveals the grand process of analogy’ (Werke 11, 127-128). Analogy is the universal key unlocking the one model in the universe (Weltalter 56, 66). ‘Everything acts by analogy’ (Werke 11, 77). And ‘Everything produces itself in nature by analogy’ (Werke 11, 98).

Dooyeweerd says that our concepts refer only to retrocipatory moments. Ideas include anticipatory moments. Baader also distinguishes between concept and Idea. Because of analogy, he finds that even our concepts inter-relate. He says that our concepts refer to one another because our concepts all relate to the Central Unity. Baader says that our concepts do not build a row, but a circle; you can start wherever you want, as long as you go through to the Center. This idea is in contrast to linear thought that regards one individual thought as merely arrayed next to another thought and not understood. Baader says that if the concept cannot be shown to relate to the center, it is meaningless (Begründung 109; Werke 15, 160). When it is brought back to the Center, each concept leads and points to other concepts as either retrocipatory or anticipatory:

Da die wahrhafte Gnosis keine Reihe von Begriffen, sondern einen Kreis derselben bildet, so kommt es weniger darauf an, von welchem dieser Begriffe aus man im Vortrage der Wissenschaft anhebt, wohl aber darauf, daß man jeden derselben bis ins Zentrum durchführt, aus welchem dieser Begriff notwendig sodann auf all anderen regressiv oder antizipierend wieder weiset und führt, welche Durchführung darum allein als die systematische in der Tat und im Wesen sich erweist. (Werke 8, 11, cited by Sauer 27)

[Because true gnosis is a circle and not a row of concepts, it matters little from which concept we begin our theory; it is more important that each concept must be related to the Center, from which this concept then necessarily points to other concepts in a regressive (retrocipatory) or anticipatory way; this relation to the Center therefore shows itself in act and essence as the only systematic relation].

and elsewhere Baader says,

True gnosis is a circle, which one does not really grasp little by little but rather all at once. Here, one thing always leads to every other, and whoever has understood one thing well will soon have grasped the whole. There is no cause for wonder, then, when, in part, one concept constantly refers back to another and also when, while holding on to one concept, we have to anticipate others. For it is precisely therein that the systematic character of gnosis manifests itself, since every single concept leads to and points to the Center and the Center in turn, to all other concepts (Werke 14, 160; translated by Betanzos 80).

Sauer refers to this idea of retrocipating and anticipating concepts in Baader as a ‘double heuristic principle.’ The retrocipating concept is a kind of anamnesis–a looking back, a remembering of what has already come. This remembering is by turning within. Sauer uses the phrase ‘rückfragende sich er-innern’ (a questioning back by going within); this is a play on the word ‘erinnern’, which means ‘to remember’ and ‘er-innern’–to go within (Werke 4, 105; Sauer 65). It is our selfhood that allows us to remember; remembering is a making present [Vergegenwärtigung] (Werke IV, 105). Baader says that consciousness is the work of memory [Gedächtnis]. Time is measured in our soul (Gemüth) not by succession of ideas, but by consciousness. It is only because of the permanence of our selfhood that we can experience change and the passing of time. Not to measure time is the situation of dreams (Weltalter 90, 91). Baader praised Fichte for describing ‘the mechanics or instinctive operation of the human mind in its struggle for awareness (preservation of consciousness) within the temporal flow of what is transient’ (Werke 3, 244; translated by Betanzos 41).

Sauer says that, in contrast to retrocipation, which looks to the past in memory, anticipation seeks the coherence and reintegration that will occur in the future (Sauer 123). When we anticipate the future, we attempt to shorten time (Elementarbegriffe 555). Time is ‘the winter of eternity.’ As good gardeners, we can bring forth passing blooms of eternity, anticipating paradise. We anticipate outwardly what we already anticipate inwardly (Weltalter 242).

This ontological basis for analogy is also evident in Baader–analogy is related to the idea of diversity coming from an original unity. Although the modalities are independent or sovereign, they have a relation to each other because they all come from one supratemporal unity. Unity exists behind multiplicity; because of this, the truth in one sphere cannot contradict truth in any other. All are subject to the same law and truth. Because there is one plan in the cosmos, there are correspondences; analogy permits us to pass from one domain to another. ‘Every living being is, as one, at the same time many’ (Werke 1, 145, 196; cited by Betanzos 84).

For Baader, analogies are anthropomorphic. This is because things do not ‘exist’ except insofar as they are related to Man; we should therefore explain things by our self and not our self by things around us. St. Martin frequently refers to Böhme’s idea that we must explain things through Man and not Man through things (Werke 11, 233; 12, 88, 264, 371-372).

There is a pre-established harmony between Man and nature, microcosm and macrocosm. To interpret nature, we start with ourselves and use a method of analogy. Sensible or material nature is only a symbol or a copy of our interior or spiritual nature. Likewise, we can speak of sacred things because the spiritual finds its symbol in the sensible (Werke XI, 11, 72, 75, 78, 88, 127; Susini 106-110). In analogy, we animate nature; we consider it as a living person. That is why we can feel ourselves in each thing; each thing finds its source in us; we vivify all things with our feeling. Without us everything around us would be only a dead shell without life and without inner spirit (Werke 11, 41, 78; Weltalter 49).

An example of analogy is taken from mathematics. Baader says, ‘We begin with one and we end with the One (the Totality)’ (Werke 3, 319; cited by Sauer 134). When we refer to the Totality as ‘One’, we should not think that the Totality is a number. We are using the word in an analogical sense, by an idea that points towards the Center. Even the idea of the Center should not be seen as a mathematical point, but rather as the ‘productive inner One in contrast to the external, phenomenal many’ (Werke 12, 211; cited by Betanzos 113).

Revised May 17/05; Dec 23/16

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