foundation

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.)

foundation (‘grondslag’) I, vi, 7, 26-27, 39, 50, 52 (Ground-Idea), 56, 58, 69, 74, 122
II, 412, 493, 494
foundational [grondlegging] I, 12, 45, 51-54
II, 414NC II, 54, 486
foundational direction II, 409, 420, 484

NC II, 54

founded I, 38, 70 (earlier law-spheres found the succeeding)
II, 401, 404, 418, 491
foundational function NC II, 90-91
founds [fundeert]
I, 70 (one colour founds the next), 76 (transcendente fundeering), 122 (fundeering)
II, 482 (by cosmic time)

The foundational direction starts from the first terminal law-sphere in the succession of cosmic time–the numerical law-sphere. It is distinguished from the transcendental direction, which begins with the other terminal function, that of faith, and follows the modal spheres in the reverse order. The transcendental direction points to the religious fullness of meaning that forms the foundation of all its modal refractions in cosmic time (NC II, 54).

There is an interplay, a spiralling between these two directions of thought. In the retrocipatory direction, we have a temporary resting point of thought, but the transcendental direction resolves this back into the unrest of meaning:

In other words, the retrocipatory direction of time offers to theoretical thinking, at least provisionally, some resting-points in the original meaning-nuclei. It is true that these resting-points are again done away with by the transcendental direction of time without which they would become rigid and meaningless. […] The only reserve to be made is that the point of comparative rest in this way offered to philosophic reflection on the possibility of the modal meaning-opening is only a provisional resting-point. In the transcendental direction of thought it must necessarily be resolved into the essential unrest of meaning. (NC II, 190).

In the foundational direction of time the concept of a modal aspect may be anterior to the transcendental synthetical Idea of its meaning, but it depends on the latter for its own deepening (NC II, 486).

‘Foundational’ cannot be understood from Vollenhoven’s standpoint, since he denied this temporal view of the succession of the aspects. The earlier law-spheres are the foundation for the succeeding law-spheres. Sometimes he refers to a founding sphere as the substratum. The later aspects lead the earlier aspects.

The foundation for philosophy is its hypothesis or Ground-Idea (I, 51). The Ground-Idea drives our naive and theoretical attitudes of thought from out of the supratemporal. It is foundational and determines how we express ourselves within temporal reality. It is the Ground-Motive, a motive force. Like the Ground, the religious root of temporal reality is also foundational. Aspects come out of this root in the temporal order of succession.

Much of postmodernism says it is opposed to all foundational thinking. But postmodernism has unacknowledged foundations of its own. Furthermore, Dooyeweerd’s Ground-idea does not seek a foundation within temporal reality, but outside of it in the apriori conditions that make philosophy itself possible. Postmodernism will regard this as a reversion to Kantian transcendental philosophy. But Dooyeweerd criticizes Kant’s philosophy, too. And, as Perovich has argued, much of postmodern constructivist thinking is in fact hyper-Kantian.

There are three other uses of ‘founding’ that need to be pointed out here: in the opening process and in the structures of individuality:

(1) When the epoché of theoretical thought is cancelled, we fall back into the enstatic intuitive attitude of naïve experience (NC II, 482). From the transcendental direction of time we return to the foundational direction. We must re-enter the continuity of cosmic time. It is by means of intuition that our modal analytical function of meaning enters the continuity of cosmic time (II, 409). By “falling back” he also means that we return to the foundational direction:

Theoretical intuition, actualized in synthetical thought, is no more detached from pre-theoretical intuition, operative in enstatic thought, than the transcendental direction in the cosmic order of time is detached from the foundational direction. In the inter-modal synthesis and analytical disjunction of the modal aspects of experience our theoretical intuition is actualized in synthetical thought as insight. It can only be understood as a deepening of pre-theoretical intuition, to which it must always refer in the foundational direction of time. (NC II, 479; Cf. II, 414).

Note: The NC translation speaks of an “inter-modal synthesis of meaning.” This is confusing. 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.

From this quotation, we can see that theory is in the transcendental direction of time, and naive experience is in the foundational direction. After the synthesis, theory must refer “in the foundational direction” to pre-theoretical intuition, which is operative in enstatic thought. And enstatic thought occurs only in naive experience. There is a movement in the transcendental direction in theory and then we fall back into the foundational direction. But the return is a deepened naive experience. There is a kind of spiralling back and forth, an ever-deepening. A good phrase to describe this is Abhishiktananda’s phrase, “Ascent to the depths of the heart.”

(2) The opening process is founded in the historical sphere, but it is guided by the function of faith. In the foundational direction the historical sphere appears to the starting point o the opening process. In the anticipatory direction it is the function of faith (NC III, 91).

(3) In a structure of individuality, the leading function qualifies every individuality totality belonging to the same kingdom or realm. The foundational function has its nuclear type of individuality.(NC III, 90-91).

But the idea of ‘qualification’ applies only within time. “Qualification’ is the immanent temporary limitation, so time cannot itself be “religiously qualified.” “Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960), 97-150, at 140.

Revised Jan 29/08; Dec 24/16

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