Idea

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.)

Idea I, 10 (of totality),16, 24, 37, 39, 51, 53, 55, 58, 70 (of cosmic order), 83, (of sovereignty in own sphere), 85
II, 404, 414, 420-21NC I, 5, 7 (Idea of the totality of meaning), 57
NC II, 186, 486

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.

limiting concept I, 25, 35, 37, 39, 52, 54-55, 57, 71
II, 421NC I, 21 (transcendental limiting concepts), 23 (transcendental theoretic Idea), 57
NC II, 486 (limiting concept, but not in Kant’s sense)

Idea knowledge goes beyond conceptual knowledge. Ideas approximate in the transcendental direction that which cannot be comprehended in a concept (WdW I, 71). Whereas concepts are limited to retrocipations in the foundational direction, Ideas anticipate, in the transcendental direction. Whereas concepts involve a dis-stasis, and a refraining from the coherence of time, Ideas seek to approximate the coherence of time.

Ideas relate the diversity of the modal aspects to a central and radical unity and to an Origin (NC I, 57). The distinction between the concept and the Idea of a specific aspect is based on the distinction between the primary modal meaning (nucleus with its retrocipations) and the deepened meaning (NC II, 186). Concepts are deepened into Ideas (NC II, 485-86), which anticipate the later analogical moments in the modal aspects. The modal anticipations deepen the entire primary meaning of the law-sphere in the coherence of its nucleus and retrocipations. 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).

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).

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.]

In this quotation, Dooyeweerd is using ‘analogies’ only in the sense of retrocipations. Analogies in this sense are distinct from anticipations.

Ideas are also called “limiting concepts” because they approach the limit or boundary of temporal thought. Ideas point to the transcendent (I, 55). On the immanence standpoint, this is a contradiction, since an attempt is made to form a concept of that which, strictly speaking, cannot be contained in a concept (NC I, 22-23, fn1).

When we speak of our intuition, we are using an Idea instead of a concept (NC II, 479).

Wolters says that Dooyeweerd borrowed this distinction between concept and Idea from the neo-Kantians, especially Stammler (1856-1938) (‘The Intellectual Milieu of Herman Dooyeweerd,’ in The Legacy of Herman Dooyeweerd, 12).

But Baader also makes the distinction. Idea is dynamic, organic, inner, opposed to mechanical concept (Philosophische Schriften I, 109). Gestalt Bild (image) can be inner or outer. Only in the organic Idea does the knower live within the known. Concepts are just a ‘Durchwohnen’ [living-through] and not an ‘Inwohnen’ [living within]. What I only know from outside I try to dominate by fear and not by love. Baader refers to abstraction alone as the death of the Idea (Werke I, 71). The Idea is a unity of the concept and of reality (Weltalter 138). Idea is distinguished from concept in that it is a process. Idea aims for Totality, Perfection, Rest in Motion and motion in Rest. Idea as opposed to Time, which is not-Totality, imperfection, restless motion and break (Werke 8, 71-72).

Revised Sept 27/07; typo Jan6/15

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