form-matter

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.)

Form-Matter

The Ground-Motive of Form and Matter derives from Greek thought. It is a dualism that separates matter from form. Matter is the complex of physical-chemical aspects, and form is the ordering of our thought, which is absolutized.

Dooyeweerd emphasizes that is only the metaphysical conception of form and matter to which he is opposed:

Naturally, I am not opposed to the terms “form” and “matter”, but only to their dualistic metaphysical connotation. The metaphysical concepts of form and matter do not fit to the structures of individuality and their enkaptic interlacements (NC III, 127).

Baader also says that form and matter are not to be viewed dualistically (Weltalter 109). The Ionian school of philosophy founded by Thales placed the principle of all things in matter; opposed to this was the school of Pythagoras, who wanted to ascend from earth to heaven (Werke 5, 48; Philosophische Schriften II, 171). For Plato, both spirit and matter (hyle) are eternal (Werke 7, 262 and II, 380). There is therefore in Greek thought a dualism or separation between form and matter.

In his article ‘Über Starres und Fliessendes’ Baader says that when we see the static, fixed or the flowing as only that, then form and matter have been separated. The fixed is continuity; the flowing is the power of ‘penetration.’ When we separate them in a dualism like Plato’s, we are separating two ‘factors’ [aspects] of living substance. One factor then outweighs the other that is then suppressed; one factor is directed inwards, one outwards. But these factors are each half forces of nature, like the polarity in electricity and the power of gender. Instead of separating the two factors of form and matter, we need to combine and raise them up in a third that is higher. There is a ‘hidden androgyny.’ There needs to be a coherence (Kohärenz) of the two factors, of the confluence of the flowing and of the penetrating (Begründung 13-16). Baader emphasizes that Spirit needs to be embodied in the world (Verleiblichung des Geistigen).

Baader says that we must not hypostatize the sensory qualities that we experience (Philosophische Schriften II, 146). Sauer says that Baader is opposed to any hypostatized Platonic Idea that is totally Other from the world; such an hypostatized idea would be irrelevant for the necessary mediation and redemption of the world (Sauer 119, citing Werke 4, 338).

Revised Aug 20/06; Dec 24/16

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