philosophy

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.)

philosophic I, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 21
II, 486 [many other references]NC I, 11 (philosophic activity of thought directs its view of totality)
philosophical NC I, 5 (self-reflection must transcend limits of philosophical thought),
philosophy I, 6 II, 420

NC I, 9 (genuine philosophy is thought directed to the Origin), 11 (philosophic thought only attains rest when it attains to the Origin), 86 (philosophy is focused towards the totality and unity in the root of temporal meaning)

transcendental I, 51-54
II,407, 408, 414 (direction), 420, 422, 424, 482, 484NC I, 37 (transcendental criticism; critical inquiry into the conditions that make theoretical thought possible;distinction between transcendent and transcendental criticism), 56 (up to the question of self-knowledge, transcendental criticism is purely theoretical)See also transcendent

Philosophic thought is theoretical thought that is directed towards the totality [I, 7]. It is an act of knowing is a knowledge that is a distinguishing and joining of meaning while directed to the totality (I, 44). As an act, theoretical thought occurs in all aspects of temporal reality. Although it is limited by the temporal, it points beyond temporal reality. In pointing towards totality, it points in the transcendental direction, towards the transcendent selfhood (II, 407). Our concepts and ideas are limited by our being bound in this life to the temporal:

In this life, all our representations, concepts and ideas are bound to time, and our self-consciousness also remains related to the temporal horizon, although it transcends time in the aevum. (“Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën,” Phil. Ref. I, (1936) 65-83, (IV) (1939) 4-5).

Our religious self-consciousness is more than theory. In such religious self-consciousness, although we remain related to the temporal horizon, we nevertheless also transcend time in the aevum. We are related to the temporal horizon because, in this present life, we exist as both a supratemporal heart and a temporal body or mantle of functions.

But like all human experience in this earthly dispensation, our knowledge of God, although directed to the absolute Truth, is also restricted and relativized by (but not at all to) our temporal cosmic existence (NC II, 561).

Our knowledge is therefore relativized by temporal cosmic existence, but not limited to it.

Philosophy is a theoretical activity, and therefore engages in distinguishing and joining (synthesis) of meaning. But it is distinguished from the special sciences in that it is directed towards totality.

“De wisbegeerte zoekt het manco van het vakwetenschappelijk denken tegenover de naieve ervaring aan te vullen door de tijdelijke werkeljkheid weder in den blik der totaliteit te vatten, maar nu in gearticuleerde onderscheiding der zin-zijden (d.i. toch ook weer met abstractie van de continuiteit in den kosmischen tijd).” (“De Theorie van de Bronnen van het Stellig Recht in het licht der Wetsidee,” “Handelingen van de Vereeniging voor Wijsbegeerte des Rechts,” XIX (1932) from Mensch en Maatschappij, p. 6 (11); in Folder “Miscellaneous Articles, 1923-1939,” archives, ICS).

[Philosophy seeks to fill in the gap of the thinking of the special sciences in as compared to naive experience. It does this by trying to grasp temporal reality in the view of totality, but now in the articulated distinction of the meaning-sides (i.e. also with abstraction from the continuity of cosmic time]

Transcendental reflection is on the intuitive theoretical synthesis of meaning (NC II, 553). See  intuition for the relation of intuition to this process of synthesis.

In contrast to those who think that it was only in the English translation (the NC) that Dooyeweerd turned his attention to the transcendental method, Dooyeweerd himself says that he first developed it in Volume I of the WdW. (Foreword to Reformation and Scholasticism, cited by Verburg, 244).

Philosophy cannot be merely “gegenständlich” concentrated–that is, it cannot merely be set over against particular modal aspects of reality.Instead, it necessarily has a tendency towards totality, seeking its concentration above or behind the diversity of the modal aspects. The thinker must seek his Archimedean point. See “Het dilemma voor het christelijk wijsgeerig denken,” Philosophia Reformata 1 (1936) 1-16 [‘Dilemma’] at 7.

Dooyeweerd says that Kant’s philosophy went some ways towards focusing thought back on the selfhood. But Kant did not really answer the question of how theoretical synthesis of meaning is really possible. In his “transcendental logic” Kant ought to have raised the problem regarding the possibility of the theoretical antithesis and the inter-modal synthesis of meaning.

But the primordial epistemological problem regarding the antithetical ‘Gegenstand-relation’ as such and the transcendental conditions of the possibility of a theoretic abstraction of the sensory and the logical aspects of experience, is not even taken into consideration (NC II, 494-495).

Note: The NC translation speaks of an “inter-modal synthesis of meaning.” This is confusing. The original Dutch only speaks of a meaning synthesis [zin-synthesis]. 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. See synthesis.

Baader makes a similar criticism of Kant. He says that Kant does not really answer the question, “How are synthetic judgments a priori possible? Kant does not answer this question in a transcendental manner but purely logically. But we can’t have a concept of a higher region from a lower (Philosophische Schriften I, 7-9).

Dooyeweerd’s philosophy assumes that everyone accepts his view of philosophy as transcendental. Many of his arguments lose their force entirely if that position is not accepted. Postmodernism has challenged the whole idea of looking for a totality. It considers this to be totalizing, and that in such thinking we thereby lose sight of “the other.” Some Reformational philosophers have also taken this position. I do not think that these philosophers can then claim to follow Dooyeweerd. From his perspective, such a repudiation of a totality outside of cosmic time must mean an acceptance of immanence philosophy.

For those who do accept the idea of philosophy as directed to a totality, a new way of dialogue with postmodernism must be found. I believe that the dialogue must center on the nature of time, and why postmodernism is so insistent on the temporalization of our experience. The other emphasis must be on mystical experience which for centuries has claimed to have experienced the supratemporal.

Revised Aug 21/06