plastic

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.)

plastic I, 130
II, 489, 492NC I, 161
NC II, 557, 558 (contrasted to rigid-static view of the “world of pure essences”)

Our horizon of individuality-structures has a plastic character. Individuality structures are capable of being formed. (II, 489, NC II, 557). Dooyeweerd contrasts his view with Aristotle’s. Aristotle says that there are dynamic forms immanent in things. The lower essential forms were plastic in the sense that they were capable of being formed by the higher forms. Dooyeweerd sees this as an example of the form/matter Ground-Motive. In contrast, he does not posit separate plastic things that are capable of being formed.

In Dooyeweerd’s philosophy, the the thing is the individuality structure. The plastic nature is in the structural principles themselves; these structural principles have a “more concrete nature.” (II, 489; NC II, 557). This plastic individuality structure is revealed in the typical formable intertwinements and coherences in variable individual things and human relations.

Again, this use of ‘concrete’ in reference to principles is surprising to those who try to separate concrete things from principles. But Dooyeweerd does not separate them. The law-side and subject-side of reality are always related to each other.

See my discussion of the plastic dimension, and our cultural formation of individuality structures, in my article “Imagination, Image of God and Wisdom of God: Theosophical Themes in Dooyeweerd’s Philosophy,” (2006). The article discusses the Wisdom tradition within which Dooyeweerd’s philosophy is situated, and how our imagination is dependent on our being created in the image of God. In our imagination, we discover the figure, the anticipation of what an individuality structure in the temporal world may become, but which is presently only a potential reality. In finding the figure within the temporal world, and in realizing it and embodying it, we form history, and we fulfill the reality of temporal structures. God’s law or Wisdom gives the connection between this internal figure of our imagination and the modal aspects in which our body and other temporal structures of individuality function.

Baader refers to plasticity. He says for example that the higher nature of light has a creative power in the outer nature, as the Principle of its plastic nature (Begründung 25).

Revised June 29/06

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