distinction

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.)

contradiction II, 404
distinction I, 22
II, 406, 413, 419
distinguish I, 5, 21, 36, 39, 44, 46-47, 60, 121, 124-125, 133
II, 411, 414, 418
duality

A logical distinction involves a duality; this is not the same as a religious dualism. A religious dualism results from absolutizing one or more aspects of temporal reality. This sets up a religious dialectic with the other aspects which cannot be resolved as long as this absolutizing Ground-motive is maintained.

Vollenhoven said that although there is a duality between God and humanity, this duality is completely different than a dualism (“Problemen van de tijd in onze kring,” March 29/68).

A duality or distinction is a function of the logical aspect of our experience. To make distinctions at all requires that there be a cosmic diversity. This cosmic diversity, which is the result of the differentiation by cosmic time, should not be regarded as a logical diversity. That mistake is made by logicism. Strauss correctly says,

“Theoretical-logical thinking always presupposes a more-than-logical-diversity within reality. In the absence of this more-than-logical diversity all identification and distinguishing would be meaningless–scientific concept formation and classification would be impossible.” (“The Order of Modal Aspects,” Contemporary Reflections, 2).

But Dooyeweerd thought that Strauss undermined this insight when he rejected the Gegenstand-relation in his view of theory. See abstraction.

Another error is to regard the supratemporal unity in its non-differentiated state in purely logical or mathematical terms, as a static unity. That results in a monism. Both Baader and Dooyeweerd emphasize that the supratemporal is dynamic. There is a reciprocal movement between center and periphery, between the supratemporal and the whole of the cosmos. Baader says that there is a “nature” even within the Trinity in which God expresses Himself.

Therefore a Christian nondualism such as Dooyeweerd’s philosophy does not seek to do away with all logical distinction. Nondualism does not mean monism, nor does it mean that the distinctions that we make in temporal life and in our theoretical thought are to be avoided. Dooyeweerd’s philosophy is nondualistic, but it still appreciates science and theoretical thought, which rely on distinctions, the separation in dis-stasis and joining together again in synthesis of the meaning-sides of temporal reality.

This should be contrasted with some nondualist thought that tries to reject all distinctions. For example Ken Wilber in his The Spectrum of Consciousness confuses confuses dualisms with the dualities subject/object and truth/falsity; good/evil (p. 30). David Loy’s view of nondualism also tries to reject distinctions. He says that nondualism would regard the world as “nonplural” (i.e. without diversity). Loy sees our conceptual thinking as the basis for this duality; we wrongly perceive the world as plural because of our conceptual thinking. When we perceive or think nondually, this plurality disappears. This also does not seem to provide an adequate appreciation of theory, although Loy does refer to nondual thinking in terms of poetry (Nonduality: A Study in Comparative Philosophy).

Although Dooyeweerd does maintain the validity of theoretical and conceptual thought, he also emphasizes the inter-connectedness of temporal reality, and its supratemporal fullness of meaning. And we must remember that our theoretical thought artificially separates our reality by the epoché and the Gegenstand-relation. We must return to the integral experience of the selfhood.

Revised Dec 27/04; Dec 24/16

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