nucleus

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.)

kernel II, 420

NC II, 129 (modal meaning-kernel grasped only in intuition)

nucleus I, 78

NC II, 163 (meaning-nucleus does not exist in itself).

nuclear moment “Introduction to a Transcendental Criticism of Philosophic Thought”

The kernel or nucleus of each aspect is that which gives that aspect its sphere sovereignty. By this kernel or nucleus, the aspect maintains its individuality with respect to all the other aspects of temporal reality. It is the central and directive moment within each aspect (See Dooyeweerd’s “Introduction to a Transcendental Criticism of Philosophic Thought” Evangelical Quarterly XIX (1) Jan 1947).

This same article says that we cannot define the kernel or each aspect because by this kernel an aspect maintains its individuality even against the logical aspect. Thus, Strauss and Clouser are wrong in supposing that the aspects are properties that we can “abstract” from things. Dooyeweerd refers to the psychical aspect as an example.

In its structure we find a nuclear element which cannot be further reduced and which guarantees the individuality of the aspect in its proper sense. This is the “sensation moment as such”. “Was man nicht definieren kann, das sieht man als ein Fühlen an.” [What man cannot define, that he considers as a feeling]. Only it would be quite wrong to suppose that this is a trait characteristic of the sensation aspect of reality and of it alone. In fact we encounter the same situation in all the other aspects. (Introduction to a Transcendental Criticism of Philosophic Thought, Evangelical Quarterly XIX (1) Jan 1947).

The article also says that we know the kernel of an aspect in its retrocipations and anticipations:

The “nuclear moment,” however, cannot display its individuality except in close liaison with a series of other moments. These latter are by nature partially analogical, i.e. they recall the “nuclear moments” of all the aspects which have an anterior place in the order of aspects. Partially also they are of the nature of anticipations, which recall the “nuclear moments” of all the aspects which have a later place in that order.

Dooyeweerd says the same in the New Critique:

It is the very nature of the modal nucelus that it cannot be defined, because every circumscription of its meaning must appeal to this central moment of the aspect-structure concerned. The modal meaning-kernel itself can be grasped only in an immediate intuition and never apart from its structural context of analogies (NC II, 129)

We have only an an Idea of a modality. It is the task of theoretical thought to deepen concepts to Ideas, and to unfold its meaning. The kernel of the aspect, the sovereignty in its own sphere, is related “vertically” to the sovereignty of God, and to us as the image of God who express the aspects.

The expression of our supratemporal selfhood in the temporal functions is the basis for sphere sovereignty:

The coherence of meaning of the law spheres is an order of cosmic time. In our religious a priori we refer this back to divine predestination in the broadest sense of plan for the world. It is a law-order of a horizontal nature that spans particularized meaning, in contrast to the vertical, which comes to expression in particularized meaning by sovereignty in its own sphere. (I, 70; not in NC)

What in the totality of meaning has no meaning is the sovereignty in own sphere in the particularity of meaning (I, 71).

The law-order is horizontal in that it spans across all law-spheres. The coherence of the aspects is maintained “horizontally” by cosmic time. But the meaning of each law-sphere is related to its expression from the center. That is why the kernel or nuclear moment of each sphere is supratemporal. Because it is beyond time, we cannot obtain a concept of it.

The kernel meaning of the law-sides of reality is therefore in the supratemporal center. Steen correctly points out that there is an eternal moment in each sphere of law (Steen 17). There is a systatic coherence between the kernel and its analogies (De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer, 1931, p. 102-103, excerpted in Verburg, 143).

The kernel or nuclear moment is central and expresses itself in these other aspects, but does not exist in itself:

For this meaning-nucleus does not exist in itself but must express itself in the internal coherence with the retrocipatory and the anticipatory moments respectively, in order to preserve its character of meaning (NC II, 163).

This suggests that the nuclear moment is supratemporal, and expresses itself temporally. That would explain why we cannot obtain a concept, but only an Idea of the nuclear moment.

Thus, an aspect displays an expression from out of the center within the temporal diversity of meaning. There is a unity and coherence within each aspect:

The structure of a specific aspect is always a unity in diversity of moments and never an absolute unity above the moments. (“Introduction to a Transcendental Criticism of Philosophic Thought,” Evangelical Quarterly, 51)

Because the nucleus is in the center, Dooyeweerd says,

sphere sovereignty of modal aspects can only reveal itself within the inter-modal temporal meaning-coherence… (NC III, 627).

This idea of the kernel as controlling the temporal analogies is found in his 1930 article “De Theorie van de Bronnen van het Stellig Recht in het licht der Wetsidee.” He refers to the “architectonic structure” of the general Ground-meaning of each law-sphere. The retrocipatory and anticipatory moments of meaning are controlled by the nuclear meaning moment (“…de door deze sin-kern beheerschte analogische en anticiperende zin-momenten die vooruit-wijzen naar den zin van alle vroegere, resp. latere wetskringen”). This nuclear moment cannot display its individuality except in close liaison with a series of other moments. These latter are by nature partially analogical, i.e. they recall the “nuclear moments” of all the aspects which have an anterior place in the order of aspects. Partially also they are of the nature of anticipations, which recall the “nuclear moments” of all the aspects which have a later place in that order.

The kernel or nuclear moment is within the center, which is supratemporal. And in the center, all diversity of meaning coincides. Thus, there is no sphere sovereignty within the supratemporal center.

It is not just the kernel of the law-side that is found in the supratemporal. The kernel of our subject-sides is also to be found in the supratemporal. All of our acts come out of our supratemporal selfhood, and Dooyeweerd says that this is our actuality. He relates it to the kernel of each subject function. The kernel of each subject function is the actuality that is referred to in phenomenology.(I, 78; NC I, 101].

Revised Aug 21/06

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