law-side

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.)

law-side I, 28, 37, 39, 56-57, 61, 66-67, 74 (absolutizing of), 85, 132
II, 420, 484

Temporal reality has both a law-side and a subject-side. The subject is sub-jected to, sujet to the law.

The law is a side of the cosmos. Dooyeweerd does restrict law to cosmos (at least law in its temporal cosmic sense; he also allows for a central law (NC I: 11, 63, 174, 507). The religious center of the law-side is the central revealed law, just as the religious center of the subject-side is the heart (“Das natürliche Rechtsbewusztsein und die Erkenntnis des geoffenbarten Göttlichen Gesetzes,” February 28, 1939, cited by Verburg, 251).

This cosmic law protects the cosmos by restraining sin and keeping the cosmos from falling into nothingness. The law also limits and determines temporal reality. It makes the differentiated diversity of temporal reality possible. In this way it is like the prism of cosmic time. In fact, Dooyeweerd sometimes conflates law and time, and speaks of “the law of time.”

The law does not stand outside of the cosmos, as in Vollenhoven’s conception of it. It is because the temporal law is restricted to the cosmos that Dooyeweerd says that there is a law side to the cosmos. This meaning of “law side” is also acknowledged in Vollenhoven’s confidential Divergentierapport (Report of Divergences) outlining his differences with Dooyeweerd:

“wetszijde-” en “subjectszijde in de kosmos” spreken: Dooyeweerd zocht nl. beide, wet en subjèct, in de kosmos, onder welke term hij verstaat dat deel van het geschapene dat in de mens z’n centrum vindt.

[with respect to “law side” and “subject side in the cosmos”: Dooyeweerd seeks both law and subject in the cosmos, by which term [cosmos] he understands that part of the created that finds its center in humanity].

Because it is a side of temporal reality, the law-side cannot be separated from the subject-side. The Enlightenment tried to separate subject-side from logical law sphere (I, 132 ). But Dooyeweerd says that there is no absolute law that is separate from the subject-side.

Revised Dec. 27/04