nature/freedom

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.)

Nature-Freedom NC II, 143-44

Nature-Freedom is the humanist Ground-Motive. It sets up a dualism between nature and man’s supposed autonomous freedom.

Dooyeweerd refers to Buber’s distinction between an impersonal I-It relation and an existential I-Thou relation as an example of the nature/grace Ground-Motive in its irrationalist form (NC II, 143-44)

Baader says that Kant gave the supernaturalists new grounds to separate ethics from nature. If with Kant we name nature as all that is perceivable by our senses, then there is in nature not only a lack of ethical goals, but an actual opposition to such goals. The concept of freedom must then be posited over against the ‘outer necessity’ of nature (Begründung 22, 42-44). Freedom is then viewed as Spirit or Geist that is opposed to the mechanism of nature. But Baader says that nature and Spirit must not be seen as dualistic principles (Werke 4, 34; Begründung 57). Spirit is not a fleeing from nature [naturflüchtig] (Sauer 119).

Baader says that Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel also believe a dualism between non-intelligent nature and intelligence [Spirit] to be ‘primitive, constitutive, and unexplainable’ (Elementarbegriffe 544). In other words, these philosophers use this dualism as a basic Ground-Principle. Such a primal dualism (Urdualismus) ‘leads’ (leitet) their explaining thought process. Schelling’s thought is based totally on this polarity; he sees a darkness even in God. But we cannot explain this apparent dualism unless we acknowledge our subordination to a higher being, and our subjection to God’s law (Begründung 26). The dualism is not original and constitutive, but is caused by one’s wish to remain in one’s own center (Zeit 34, ft. 14).

Baader says that when we make a dualism between freedom and nature, then morality is built on the concept of a pure autonomy. Morals are divorced from both God and nature. The supernaturalists, in opposing the naturalism that they hate, also end up with an ethic separated from nature. When ethics are separated from physics, ethics become groundless, godless, atheistic and irreligious. Instead, we should acknowledge the necessity of the embodiment in nature [Naturwerdung, Leibwerdung] of the ethical life and principles. There should be a coherence [Zusammenhang] of physics and ethics, of nature with Spirit. The failure to understand this coherence causes our ethics to be devoid of life. It also results in the idea that Spirit is only a ghost, and that the body is a corpse. Supernaturalists make the same mistake (Begründung 34, 35, 49).

Revised Dec 27/04

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