give an account

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.)

give an account

[rekenschap geven]

I, 5, 27, 39, 50; 41, 47-52, 58, 61, 68, 81, 87, 125, 127

II, 401, 403, 405, 422, 488, 490

NC I, 3 (weakly translated as ‘consider’), 35, 83 (account for)

NC II, 492 (take account of the transcendent and transcendental conditions), 579

NC III, 66

“Het dilemma voor het christelijk wijsgeerig denken,” Philosophia Reformata 1 (1936) 1-16 [‘Dilemma’] at 4: immanence philosophy does not give an adequate account of the conditions that make philoosphic thought possible. See also pages 6, 11of the same article.

Het transcendentale critiek van het wijsgeerig denken,” Philosophia Reformata 6 (1941), 1-20, at 14: give an account of ontical conditions [de voor-onderstelde] of theoretical thought in a transcendental Idea.

Encyclopedia of the Science of Law (1967 SRVU Dutch edition), 14: naive experience cannot give a theoretical account of the structure of reality it experiences.

To give an account of something is a specifically philosophical  task. We give an account of the insufficiency and restlessness of all particularized meaning (I, 49-51). We do this by directing our attention to the totality of meaning to which the restlessness of particularized meaning refers.

Dooyeweerd says that theory is required to give an account of naive experience (I, 47; NC I, 83).

Philosophic theory must enable us to give an account of the structure of temporal reality given in naive experience (NC II, 579).

Giving account is related to the transcendental direction in philosophy, relating our experience to the Origin. Why can this not be done in naive experience? He says that our naive experience, although integral and enstatic, is restricted to the retrocipatory moments in the aspects, and bound to sensory perception. It needs to be opened up to the anticipatory moments. In theory and the subsequent synthesis, we discover the anticipatory moments. (NC III, 31).

Dooyeweerd’s own philosophy gives a theoretical explanation of naive experience, but it does not replace it. It can only approach naive experience by means of a transcendental Idea. (NC III, 66).

Development of the Idea of Giving Account

In 1923, Dooyeweerd seems to relate giving account to the normative aspects. He says that the essential coherence within the normative field of view exists as a giving account [toerekening] (Feb 1923 “Advies over Roomsch-katholieke en Anti-revolutionaire Staatkunde,” cited by Verburg 58).

In 1928, Dooyeweerd says that only the law-Idea gives an account of the coherence of law-spheres and subject functions:

Op de vraag: hoe is kennis der wetskringen mogelijk? luidt het antwoord: door dien dieperen goddelijken samenhang aller wetskringen en subjectsfuncties, waarvan alleen de wetsidee “rekenschap aflegt” (het logon didonai in Platonischen zin). De ware kritische methode eischt dus de erkentenis, dat niet de logos, doch de wetsidee de Platonische hupothesis en het anhupotheton beide is van alle synthetisch begrip (“Het juridisch causaliteitsprobleem in ‘t licht der wetsidee,” cited by Verburg 114).

[To the question, “How is knowledge of the law-spheres possible?” the answer is: by the deeper divine coherence of all law-spheres and subject functions, of which only the law-Idea “gives an account” (the logon didonai in the Platonic meaning). The true critical method therefore demands the acknowledgement that it is not the logos but rather the law-Idea that is both the Platonic hypothesis and the anhupotheton of all synthetic concepts]

The law-Idea is both the hypothesis and the “anhypotheton”–the unpostulated principle–of all synthetic concepts. He relates this to the “logon didonai” in the Platonic sense. I am not sure what he means by this comment. “Logon didonai” has been interpreted as “giving a reckoning.”

Revised Sept 26/07; Jan 4/15; Dec23/16

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