concept

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.)

concept I, 6, 7, 9 (bare concept), 22, 24, 33, 37-39, 42-43, 47-48, 62-63, 68, 71, 73-79, 88, 124-125,127, 132
II, 404-407, 420NC I, 83, 106
NC II, 186, 470
conception I, 45
conceptual I, 7
II, 408

The distinction between the concept and the Idea of a specific aspect is based on the disitnction between the primary modal meaning (nucleus with its retrocipations) and the deepened meaning:

The modal structure in its ‘restrictive function’ is grasped by a synthetical concept, but its ‘expansive function’ is only to be approximated in a synthetical Idea of its meaning, which, as a transcendental hypothesis, seizes upon the anticipated modal structure in advance (NC II, 186).

If the Idea of a modal concept is used as if it were a concept, antinomies will result because there will be an absolutization of meaning(NC II, 187).

Our concepts presuppose cosmic time. That is why we cannot form a concept of cosmic time. (I, 71; NC I, 106).

Concepts may be pre-theoretical or theoretical.

Pre-theoretical concepts, or naive concepts, do not involve a dis-stasis from the continuity of cosmic time. Not every use of the logical aspect results in such dis-stasis. There is a naive use of logic, and a naive use of concepts. In Verniewing en Bezinning Dooyeweerd says that we must first learn to count with an abacus, and with balls. Later, we learn to count by abstraction. Dooyeweerd also says that in naive experience we make distinctions among the different realms–inorganic, organic and animal. Naive concepts of a thing differs from the functional concepts of the special sciences (I, 47; NC I, 83). Because there has been no dis-stasis, naive concepts are also not based on a synthesis (II, 404; NC II, 470). Naive thought is a resting, enstatic thought.

In the resting pre-theoretical intuition I, while thinking, experience the temporal reality as my own. In pre-theoretical intuition the transcendent root of our personality thinks inwardly [in-denken] en-statically in the cosmic temporal coherence of reality, and it consciously experiences the diversity of meaning, but without the articulated knowledge of the aspects. In contrast to theoretical self-consciousness we can speak here of a pre-theoretical cosmic self-consciousness. (II, 414; Cf. NC II, 479)

Naive concepts are also related to the sensory aspects of our experience:

Naïve analysis does not penetrate behind the objective perceptual appearance [oogenschijn] and can therefore not comprehend in a meaning-synthetic sense the functional laws of the law spheres. It makes do with pre-theoretical, practically oriented distinctions, which find their touchstone in the sensory aspect of experience and are not ordered from out of a systematic-methodical viewpoint. (II, 404)

The NC expands this to say,

The truth is that the naive concept of a thing remains embedded in the full temporal systasis of naive experience forming an indissoluble subjective component part of it. This is the reason why pre-theoretical thought is unable to analyse the modal aspects of the reality of a thing. Naive analysis does not penetrate behind the objective outward appearance, and cannot embrace the functional laws of the modal spheres in an inter-modal synthesis of meaning. It has to be satisfied with pre-theoretical distinctions oriented to the praxis and more or less verifiable in the sensory aspect of experience. These distinctions are not arranged according to a systematical-methodical viewpoint (NC II, 470).

This passage seems to view naive experience as related to “empirical” reality in that it is verified by our senses. It is related to the “objective outward appearance” of things and does not penetrate behind this. In the WdW Dooyeweerd calls this outward appearance the “objective” perceptual appearance.

Note: The NC translation speaks of an “inter-modal synthesis of meaning.” This is confusing, and may have led to Strauss’s error. The original Dutch only speaks of a meaning synthesis [zin-synthesis]. The theoretical synthesis is between our actual thought [an act from out of our selfhood] and the Gegenstand of abstracted aspects, which is not actual or ontical, but only intentional. See synthesis.

Theoretical concepts are not resting or enstatic. They involve a movement out of enstasis, and a dis-stasis from the continuity of cosmic time. Theory involves the Gegenstand-relation. Theoretical concepts are therefore qualitatively different from pre-theoretical concepts. The Gegenstand-relation is totally foreign to naive experience. Clouser and Strauss are wrong to regard theoretical thought as only a more intense form of naive thought. See abstraction.

In 1931 Dooyeweerd wrote about this distinction between concept and Idea. He related the distinction to the anticipations and analogies [retrocipations] in the law-spheres:

Van den generalen zin van iederen wetskring kunnen wij zoo in het later te bespreken zin-synthetisch denken een begrip en een idee winnen. Het begripvat de zinstructuur in “restrictieve functie,” d.w.z. alleen den nog niet verdiepten, nog niet ontsloten zin, den systatischen samenhang van zijn kern en zijn analogieën. De idee daarentegen vat de zin-structuur in “expansieve” of “verdiepte functie,” in de ontsluiting zijner “anticipatiesferen.” (De Crisis in de Humanistische Staatsleer, 95-96, cited by Verburg 143).

[Through what we shall later call meaning-synthetic thought, we can obtain a concept and an idea from the general meaning of each law-sphere. The concept grasps the meaning-structure in its “restrictive function,” i.e. only in its not yet deepened, not yet disclosed meaning. This is in the systatic coherence of the kernel and its analogies. In contrast, the Idea grasps the meaning structure in its “expansive” or “deepened function,” in the disclosing of its anticipatory spheres.]

Theoretical concepts are restricted to the retrocipatory moments of our experience. Concepts are therefore different from Ideas, which also include anticipatory moments. Our intuition is required for such synthesis (II, 414; NC II, 479).

Revised Aug 21/06; Dec 23/12

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