phenomenon/Phenomenology

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.)

phenomenon I, 68

NC II, 570

phenomenological NC II, 569, 584, 597 (un-phenomenological in principle)
phenomenology I, v, 78;
II, 399, 420, 422NC I, 101
NC II, 544-546, 583 (Husserl)

Phenomenology is associated with the philosophy of Husserl. Dooyeweerd says that he was initially influenced by phenomenology (NC I, v). Some of Dooyeweerd’s terminology, especially in his early writings, reflects this influence. For example, he speaks of ‘noema’ and ‘noesis.’ But Dooyeweerd says that phenomenology is one of the most dangerous philosophies for Christians (II, 420).

Some of the ways that Dooyeweerd’s philosophy is different from phenomenology are:

1. Dooyeweerd’s use of the word epoché‘ is carefully distinguished from Husserl’s usage. He does not mean it in the sense of the “bracketing” of our assumptions, but in the sense of a “refraining” from the coherence of cosmic time, an abstraction from full temporal reality.

2. Dooyeweerd’s use of the word intentional must also be distinguished from Husserl’s idea of intentionality. He does not mean it in the sense of “directed towards the object,” because Dooyeweerd does not share the same view of objects. For Dooyeweerd, intentionality involves a willed movement of the selfhood into the temporal by the Gegenstand-relation. There is a willed, intentional Inexistenz, which is to be seen in terms of Brentano’s interpretation and not that of Husserl. The Gegenstand that is set over-against our temporal logical function is then merely intentional and not ontical.

3. As already stated, Dooyeweerd has a different understanding of object. It is not a phenomenon for which we must search for the essence. In searching for the essence, aspects are torn apart into noumenon and phenomenon (WdW I, 68; ). The whole view of things and events as ‘phenomena’ reflects a view that these things and events exist in themselves, apart from us (II, 420). But for Dooyeweerd, temporal things do not exist except in their supratemporal root. That idea is not found in Husserl.

4. Dooyeweerd does not accept phenomenology’s view of consciousness. He says that its view of consciousness is still based on an abstraction. It lacks true self-consciousness (II, 422).

5. Dooyeweerd’s use of the term aspect must also not be understood understood in terms of the perspectivalism of phenomenology, where we view a reality that exists apart from us from different angles or perspectives. Dooyeweerd’s perspectivalism is a horizon of experience with different levels or dimensions. And aspects are meaning-sides of reality.

6. He has a different view of “actuality.” The kernel of each subject function is the actuality that is referred to in phenomenology.(I, 78; NC I, 101).

Revised May 2/06

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