intuition

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.)

intuition II, 408, 412-14, 418-19, 424

NC II, 473 (intuition is nothing without the selfhood transcending time), 474 (resting pre-theoretical intuition), 475-483

intuition of time II, 415
intuitive I, 48
II, 409, 411NC I, 33 (intuitively aware of social order of rank)

NC II, 475 (intuitive insight), 478 (enters into cosmic stream of time), 553 (intuitive theoretcial synthesis of meaning)

Encyclopedia of Legal Science (1946), 8

schouwen II, 413, 414

As humans, we have a supratemporal selfhood, which expresses itself in its temporal functions. Our intuition relates these temporal functions to our selfhood. Dooyeweerd says that intuition relates our temporal functions to our selfhood, and makes these functions our own. Intuition does this in several different ways:

(1) In naive experience, our intuition shows us that our temporal functions are “our own.” We have an immediate enstatic experience of temporal reality as our own (II, 414; NC II, 479). Even the identification of a sensation such as a sweet taste would be impossible without intuition:

How could I really be aware of a sweet taste, if I could not relate this sensory impression to myself, by means of my intuition entering into the cosmic stream of time? (NC II, 478).

(2) Intuition is the basis for our experience of the subject-object relation in naive experience.

Only in intuition do I experience the coherence of a psychical impression with the pre-psychical aspects of empirical reality, in which the sensory subject-object relation is founded (NC II, 478).

(3) The temporal bottom layer of our actual analysis is our intuition (NC II, 473). Although Dooyeweerd refers to our actual analysis (an act), he locates intuition in relation to the logical aspect:

It is that temporal bottom layer of the latter [the analytical modus] by means of which our analytical function of thought is embedded [ingesteld] in cosmic time itself. Through this bottom layer our thought is in continuous temporal contact with all the other modal functions which our selfhood can claim in time as its own. This temporal bottom layer of actual analysis is our intuition.(NC II, 473).

Although in this passage intuition is related to our act of thinking, elsewhere he relates intuition to our analytic aspect itself:

Only in our intuition is our logical subject-function in actual temporal contact with the other aspects of reality. (NC II, 478).

In both cases, Dooyeweerd relates intuition in relation to our logical aspect. Why is this? One reason for locating it in a temporal aspect is that Dooyeweerd wants to avoid seeing intuition as a metaphysical faculty (NC II, 480). But why could our intuition not be the bottom level of another aspect? Dooyeweerd does not say, but I suspect that it is his version of the Logos doctrine. Logos is wider than logical analysis, but he still wants to relate the two ideas. See Gegenstand.

(4) Our acts occur in the central supratemporal selfhood, and are expressed in the temporal. In our acts, under the leadership of normative points of view, we direct our self intentionally to states of affairs either in reality or in the world of our imagination.

By relating these (now) intentional states of affairs to his “I-ness” he makes them internally his own. (“32 propositions of Anthropology”)

(5) In theoretical thought (one of our acts), our intuition allows us to enter cosmic time:

It [intuition] is the temporal bottom layer [dieptelaag] reality of our activity of thinking. By this our analytical function of thinking is itself fitted enstatically [ingesteld] within cosmic time, and through it this function of thinking remains in continuous temporal contact with all other aspects that our selfhood has as its own within time (II, 408)

Our intuition of time allows us to “enter into the temporal cosmos” and to set apart and combine the modal aspects in theoretical thought. This is because it is an intuition of time. (NC II, 480).

(6) In theoretical thought, our intuition also relates the Gegenstand, which has been split out from the temporal coherence, back to the coherence. It recognizes the theoretical datum as “our own.” (II, 475-480). In other words, our intuition relates our theory to the experience of our supratemporal self. Some confusion has been caused here, because the New Critique translation refers to an inter-modal synthesis of meaning:

My intuition moves to and fro between my deepened analysis and its “Gegenstand” to bring them into actual contact in the inter-modal synthesis of meaning. In this process I become conscious of my theoretical freedom of thought. The actual synthesis of meaning accomplished in it can never be explained by means of the isolated functions of consciousness. Theoretical intuition is operative in deepened analysis itself, and only by its intermediary is theoretical thought able to analyse the “Gegenstand” in the intermodal synthesis of meaning. In this intuition I implicitly relate the intermodal meaning-synthesis to the transcendent identity of the modal functions I experience in the religious root of my existence.(NC II, 478-79)

But the original Dutch does not refer to ‘inter-modal’ at all:

In de heen- en weder schouwende intuitie, waarin ik mij mijn theoretische denkvrijheid bewust wordt, komen de verdiepte analyse en haar “Gegenstand” in het actueele kennis-contact, in de actueele zin-synthesis, die van uit de geïsoleerde bewustzijnsfuncties nimmer is te verklaren.
Alleen doordat die theoretische intuitie in de verdiepte analyse zelve werkzaam is, vermag het theoretisch denken den “Gegenstand” in zin-synthesis te analyseeren. Theoretische zin-onderscheiding is inderdaad slechts in de intuitieve theoretische zin-verbinding mogelijk. En in die intuitie betrek ik de zin-synthesis op de transcendente identiteit der modale zinfuncties, welke ik in den religieuzen wortel van mijn bestaan ervaar.

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. Our theoretical intuition is “actualized in synthetical thought” (NC II, 479). See synthesis.

(7) Theoretical intuition is therefore essential for the synthesis of meaning:

Theoretical intuition in its subjective subjectedness to the cosmic law order is the complete transcendental condition of the synthesis of meaning by which we obtain knowledge (II, 414, italics Dooyeweerd’s)

But this function of intuition–that of relating the Gegenstand back to our selfhood in an act of synthesis, is possible only when we recognize our true selfhood and do not begin with a dualistic Ground-motive that seeks its totality of meaning elsewhere. For those who begin with a dualistic Ground Motive, no ultimate synthesis is possible; they are left with a primary religious dualism. Those caught in such a primary dualism may argue for the use of a dialectical logic to attempt to overcome antithesis in starting points (NC II, 37). But this results only in a dialectical-logical unity, not a real unity (NC I, 89).

(8) In Encyclopedia of Legal Science (1946), Dooyeweerd distinguishes between knowledge in the sense of kennis and knowledge in the sense of weten:

But naïve experience, although it possesses no articulated synthetic knowledge [kennis] of the law-spheres, does have an intuitive knowledge [weet] of its richness of meaning. (p. 8)

(9) Our intuition is both pre-theoretical and theoretical (II, 414; NC II, 479), as illustrated by the above points. Our pre-theoretical intuition is related to analytical distinction; but it lacks deepened analysis (NC II 484). It is by means of our intuition that the modal analytical function enters continuous cosmic time. So long as our intuition remains at rest in the foundational direction of the cosmic temporal order, the modal analytical function cannot unfold itself by deepening its meaning. Intuition which simply rests is typical of attitude of thought in naive experience.

Intuition is not a separate faculty. He rejects Schelling’s romanticism where men of genius rise above the primary logical principles in their intellectual intuition Schelling’s intellectual intuition has a theoretical character. Even the insight of genius must be identified and distinguished logically (NC II, 480-483).

Dooyeweerd rejects Bergson’s view of intuition as an immediate subjective psychical empathy penetrating into the durée, the creative qualitative vital stream of time. Now Dooyeweerd himself sees duration as one side of cosmic time. But his objection to Bergson is that Bergson sees this duration as only a psychical duration of feeling. Dooyeweerd says that this is irrationalistic. (NC II, 482).

Development of the Idea of intuition

In his 1914 student article Neo-mysticism and Frederik van Eeden,  Dooyeweerd compares intuition to the dream state. Henderson comments on this article in his book Illuminating law. He says that Dooyeweerd refers to “the intuitive dream-life of our second ‘I.’” And he says that there are two basic structural needs; intuitive and reasoning.

Van Eeden started a Walden-type community in the Netherlands. He is known for his idea of lucid dreaming. It is interesting that the Dutch mathematician Brouwer took part in Van Eeden’s community. Vollenhoven’s thesis was about Brouwer’s intuitionism.

Verburg says that Dooyeweerd corresponded with Van Eeden. In a letter of November 14 of that year, Dooyeweerd asked what van Eeden meant by “zien met de meest mogelijke helderheid, die iemand vergen kan” [“to see with the most clarity possible that one can obtain”]. This letter was after van Eeden’s book Paul’s ontwaken (Amsterdam, 1913). In this seeing, van Eeden said he had come to a fixed certainty about eternal matters. Dooyeweerd writes,

Ik voel, dat u hier onmogeliljk het “empirisch zintuigelijk waarnemen” kunt hebben bedoeld. Is het misschien bij u dat onmiddelijk gevoel geweest, dat men met den naam ‘intuitie’ pleegt aan te duiden en dat om met Schopenhauer te spreken, in de naar binnen gekeerde zijde van het bewustzijn zetelt?

[It seems to me that it is not possible that you can have referred her to “empirical sensory perception.” Is what occurred to you perhaps that immediate feeling that is often called ‘intuition’ and, to use Schopenhauer’s words, is seated in the inwardly turned side of consciousness?]

In his 1922 article “Een kritisch-methodologische onderzoeking naar Kelsen’s normatieve rechtsbeschouwing” Dooyeweerd says that his idea of a ‘Gegenstandssfeer’ [the consciousness that is set over-against the Gegenstand] requires a subjective center of intuition [subjectief beschouwingscentrum]. Intuition must precede logical thought. Whereas logic is limited to the logical system of pure categories (identity, diversity, relation, continuity and system), the theory of the Gegenstand [Gegenstandstheorie] is aware of the “upper categories of thought” in an intuitive way [schouwend bewust]. But the cosmic selfhood provides the unity of intuition, thought and knowledge. Knowledge is the synthesis of intuition and thinking.(excerpts in Verburg 33-38)

Verburg speculates that Dooyeweerd obtained the term ‘schouwen’ from Husserl (Verburg, 38). Wolters also comments on Dooyeweerd’s use of this archaic Dutch verb. Wolters sees parallels with Husserl’s intuition or Wesenschau (Legacy 14). But Baader also used ‘schauen’ in this sense. In a variant of Kant, Baader says, ‘Schauen ohne Denken blind; Denken ohne Schauen sinnlos wäre’ (Werke I, 191; Sauer 46).

In his 1923 address “Advies over Roomsch-katholieke en Anti-revolutionnaire Staatkunde,” Dooyeweerd distinguishes between intuition and thinking. Intuition [schouwen] is bound to the modalities. Thinking is bound to its categories. Modalities are restricted then to intuition; concepts are the form of thought (Verburg 54). Modalities are described as “modes of intuition” [schouwingswijzen]. They are the subjective forms of giving meaning, and they correspond to the objective area categories [gebiedskategorieën]. They are definitely not properties of the thing perceived. This giving of meaning is the condition for any knowledge; it is nothing other than being conscious, and intuiting meaning. This intuitive giving of meaning must correspond to that which objectively has meaning (Verburg, 52, 60).

It is in this same article that Dooyeweerd makes the first connection to the law-Idea, using Ideas strikingly similar to Baader’s:

Al het bestaande ligt gebonden aan zijn objectieven zin, die zijn wezen uitmaakt. Het schouwen is gebonden aan zijn gezichtsvelden, het denken aan zijn kategorieën. In deze binding van schouwen en denken ligt hun objectieven zin. Waar nu het bewustzijn niets meer autonoom stelt, maar alles heeft ontvangen, in alles gesteld is, als objectieven zin, nu de wet der heteronomie onbeperkt in al het bestaande gaat heerschen, ook in het zingeven bewustzijn, komt de vraag naar den wetgever, den ordenaar, den Schepper van zelf naar boven. (cited by Verburg 48-61)

[All that exists is bound to its objective meaning, which gives it its essence. Intuition is bound to its fields of view and thought is bound to its categories. In this relation of intuition and thinking lies their objective meaning. If now our consciousness no longer autonomously sets its own meaning, but rather has received everything, has been set or placed in everything, as objective meaning, and if now the law of heteronomy can rule unhindered in all that exists, even in the consciousness that gives meaning, the question then arises as to the lawgiver, the one who orders, the Creator].

In his 1926 Inaugural Address, Dooyeweerd says that we can become aware of the qualities of the law-spheres only in an intuitive seeing [intuïtief schouwen]. So in that case, he uses both the words intuitive and ‘schouwen.’

Zij scheppen voor het wetenschappelijk bewustzijn een gezichtskring, waarin de wetskwaliteit, als modaliteit der wetsidee, de souvereiniteit waarborgt (excerpt in Verburg 98)

[They–the qualities of the law-spheres–create a field of view for the scientific consciousness in which the quality of the law, as modality of the law-Idea, guarantees sovereignty].

We know that for Dooyeweerd the sovereignty of a law-sphere is related to the kernel or nucleus, which is in the supratemporal center. If our intuitive seeing relates the qualities that guarantee that sovereignty, intuition must be related to this supratemporal center. Intuition is therefore mediating between the temporal and the supratemporal.

Like Dooyeweerd, Baader emphasizes the importance of synthesis. There is a good and a bad dialectic. (Lichtstrahlen 129). The negative function of our abstracting, distinguishing ‘Verstand’ is only a necessary moment in our thinking function; we must restore the concrete. From our initial intuition (Schauen) we must return to a Schauen. Otherwise, our thinking becomes an enemy; it is then destroying and deadening to the Spirit. The mistake in theory is not in the antithesis involved in thought, but in failing to return to a synthesis.

There is a knowledge that anticipates our Acting, Willing, Ought and Knowing [unser Tun, Wollen, Sollen und Können antizipierenden Wissen]; not in the sense of Platonic Ideas but as an unexplainable overhang of the knowing Spirit over his natural capabilities. (Werke 7,268 ft.; Sauer 43).

Revised Sept 27/07