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.)


NC I, 32 (Only because we have a supratemporal concentration point are we in a position to gain a veritable notion of time. Beings that are entirely lost in time lack a notion of time), 39 (distinctions made by animals are not of a logical nature)

NC II, 114, 376 (animal manner of perceiving), 378 (animal perception), 381 (contrast of animal expression and symbol), 477 (animal awareness of sensations is fundamentally different form human experience), 480 (ex-statically absorbed by their temporal existence), 539 (their undergoing of sense impressions)

NC III, 58

instinct II, 418
psychically qualified

For a more detailed discussion of Dooyeweerd’s view of animals, see my article “Imagination, Image of God and Wisdom of God: Theosophical Themes in Dooyeweerd’s Philosophy,” (2006), especially Appendix B: Dooyeweerd’s view of Animals.

The animal realm is one of the realms that we experience in the subject-object relation. The other realms are the inorganic and the biotic. The animal realm is qualified by the psychical aspect of temporal reality.

Dooyeweerd says that only humans can have cosmic and cosmological self-consciousness because only man’s cosmic temporal structure is founded in an individual religious root transcending time–that is, his selfhood. Because he has this self-consciousness, man is able to enter enstatically into the coherence of cosmic time. Animals, being wholly temporal creatures, are ex-statically absorbed by their temporal existence; they are “entirely lost in time” (NC 1, 32; II, 480). Dooyeweerd says that the animal mode of awareness of things cannot be called experience since it lacks any relation to a selfhood (NC III 58).

Like the rest of temporal reality, animals have no existence in themselves, but only in humanity, their supratemporal root:

In contrast to mankind, neither the inorganic elements nor the kingdoms of plants and animals have a spiritual or religious root. It is man who makes their temporal existence complete. To think of their existence apart from man, one would need to eliminate all the logical, cultural, economic, aesthetic, and other properties that relate them to man. With respect to inorganic elements and plants, one would even need to eliminate their capability of being seen (Roots 30). (See also NC I, 100; II, 53).

Animals lack the inner human acts of experience that are necessarily related to the ego as the transcendent centre of human existence. They lack subject-functions within the logical and post-logical modal law spheres. Within these spheres, animals can have only object functions (NC II, 114).

In his article “Schepping en Evolutie,” Philosophia Reformata 24 (1959) 113-159, Dooyeweerd writes:

De mens laat zich niet vanuit het dier verstaan, maar omgekeerd het dier laat zich slechts verstaan vanuit de mens, omdat slechts binnen de act-structuur der menselijke lichamelijkheid de dierlijke onder-structuur dezer laatse haar relatie tot onze kenacten kan ontsluiten en dus voor ons kenbaar wordt. (p. 135).

Man cannot be understood if we begin with animals. It is the other way around: animals can only be understood on the basis of man, for only within the act-structure of human embodiment can the animal substructure of this act-structure disclose its relation to our acts of knowledge and thus become known by us.

He repeats this in “Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 135.

Dooyeweerd refers to the subjective undergoing of sense-impressions in animals. He contrasts this to man’s conscious experience. Since the human selfhood transcends cosmic time, not a single aspect of temporal reality can transcend the self-consciousness operative in all human experience (NC II, 539). See also what he says about the ek-stasis in temporal reality.

Baader also says that animals do not have a supratemporal center. Humans have a supratemporal center, but animals do not. Because of this, an animal does not perceive time like we do; this also means that animals do not become bored (Elementarbegriffe 553; Zeit 27 ft.7). We share with the animals what Baader calls ‘purely outer seeing.’ Animals do not share with us the inner seeing related to our central being (Zeit 56).

Since they have no supratemporal center, animals are not displaced [versetztes] beings. Therefore animals do not experience boredom (Zeit, 27 fn1). Humans are displaced, because although they have a supratemporal center, they also function in time.

Baader says that wonder is a free giving of oneself; the animal cannot wonder, being unfree. And the devil will not wonder (Elementarbegriffe 536). Animals cannot believe nor admire (Werke IV, 27-28)

Revised Jan 29/08; Dec 23/16