psychical

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.)

feeling II, 401, 411 [‘gevoelig’], 125

NC I, 52 (feeling cannot have an intentional relation to a Gegenstand)

NC II, 112 (unlike volition and knowing, feeling is not an act, but only a modality), 373

perception NC II, 370-86
NC III, 38
psychical I, 50, 73, 75 (in Kant)
II, 404, 413, 417Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 135.
psychologism I, 27, 68
sensory I, 130
II, 404, 406, 483-84NC II, 117 (modal psychic modality in its merely retrocipatory structure is sensory)
NC III, 38
zinnelijk II, 410, 483

The psychical aspect is the aspect of feeling. Like the nuclear moments of all aspects, the nuclear moment “feeling” cannot be defined.

This is the “sensation moment as such”. “Was man nicht definieren kann, das sieht man als ein Fuehlen an.” 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, 47).

This same article gives the following retrocipatory analogies of the psychical aspect:

Round this central or nuclear “moment” are grouped analogical “moments”. We find in the first place an analogical “moment” which recalls the nuclear “moment” of the bio logical aspect of reality. There is a living sensation and in this “vital moment” the sensation aspect discovers its indissoluble liaison with the aspect of organic life. The living sensation is not identical with the organic life of our body. It obeys its own laws, which are of a psychological nature. It remains characterised by its own nuclear moment, the “sensation moment.” Nevertheless there is no living sensation possible without the solid foundation of an organic life in the biological sense.

Then in the structure of the sensation aspect we find an analogical “moment” which recalls the nuclear moment of the physical aspect, i.e., movement. No sensation life is possible which does not reveal itself in emotions. Emotion is a movement of feeling. But a movement of feeling cannot be reduced to a physical or chemical movement. It remains characterised by its nuclear “moment” and submissive to its own psychological laws. Only, every emotion takes place on the solid foundation of the physical and chemical movements of our body.

Next we find in the structure of the sensation aspect an analogical “moment” which recalls the nuclear moment of the spatial aspect of reality. In the life of sensation there is necessarily a feeling of space which corresponds to perceived space, and is differentiated as optical, auditive and tactile space. This perceived space is not at all identical with mathematical space but it is not possible without the foundation of the latter.

Finally, we find in the structure of the sensation aspect an analogical “moment” which recalls the nuclear moment of the arithmetical aspect, i.e., quantity or number. There is no emotional life possible without a multiplicity and diversity of sensations. This multiplicity is not at all identical with multiplicity in the arithmetical sense. It is qualitative and psycho logical. It allows no quantitative isolation like the different parts of a straight line. The different sensations penetrate one another. Only, this multiplicity is impossible without the foundation of an arithmetical multiplicity.

So far we have analysed the structure of the sensation aspect only in the analogical direction. That is the “primitive or closed situation” in which we find the sensation life in the animals. But when you study the sensation life of man you discover moments of anticipation by which the life of feeling relates itself to the nuclear “moments” of all the later aspects of reality. We meet successively a logical feeling, an historical feeling, a linguistic feeling, a social feeling for propriety and tact, an economic feeling, an aesthetic feeling, a feeling for right, a moral feeling and a feeling of unshakable certitude which is akin to faith. (47-48)

Psychologism is the absolutization of this aspect. It views all of consciousness in terms of the psychical aspect. However, there is a view of consciousness that is not limited to the psychical. Dooyeweerd himself speaks of cosmic consciousness.

Dooyeweerd says that many psychologists do not want to limit their field of research to this psychical mode, because they proceed from a concept of the psyche that derives from Greek philosophy, and that tires to encompass the whole inner life of consciousness of the ensouled beings. But these concepts of “soul” or “psyche” or “spirit” are merely absolutized theoretical absractions from out of the integral structure of human embodiment (lichaamelijkheid). (Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960), 97-150, at 135.

Our sensory perception is related to the psychical aspect. Kant regarded sensory perception as chaotic sense impressions that had to be ordered by thought. Kant tried in this way to synthesize empiricism with rationalism. But Dooyeweerd criticizes this view as a dualistic opposition of the logical to the sensory. Kant also saw the sensory merely as “object” and did not recognize the subjectivity within the psychical aspect.

For Dooyeweerd, our naive thought is limited to such sensory perception (II, 404). But he also says

The sensory aspect of perceiving does not at all play that preponderent role in naive experience which the current epistemological opinion ascribes to it. (NC III, 38).

I believe that this is because of Dooyeweerd’s view of individuality structures, which are not things in themselves that exist independently of our senses. See my article:”Individuality Structures and Enkapsis: Individuation from Totality in Dooyeweerd and German Idealism.”

Dooyeweerd’s view of perception is very different from that of Vollenhoven. See Dooyeweerd’s views of perception in relation to the subject-object relation within the modal aspect of the psychical (NC II, 370-86).

The reality that we experience in naive experience is not static, but dynamic. He contrasts this with the static view of Heidegger. Heidegger regarded temporal reality as static, “Vorhandenes.” He did not recognize its dynamic nature in the inter-connectedness of the aspects, and in their relation to the religious root.

Nevertheless, Dooyeweerd says that this naive experience, limited to sensory perception, needs to be opened up, unfolded and deepened.

Unlike the logical aspect, the psychical aspect cannot set itself over-against a Gegenstand. Dooyeweerd is therefore opposed to any philosophy of feeling or “Erlebnis.” He criticized Jacobi for this (NC I, 451). Dooyeweerd characterizes it as part of the irrationalist trend in the Humanistic personality-ideal. Baader also criticized Jacobi for his emphasis on feeling.

Dooyeweerd says that the possibility of objectification in the modal aspect of feeling is primarily bound to the retrocipatory structure of this aspect (NC II, 373). This is not really surprising, since all objectification is related to preceding aspects.

Dooyeweerd also opposes any view of feeling as a faculty of knowledge along with volition and knowing. Feeling is not one of our ways of acting out of our supratemporal selfhood.

Our psychical function is an outer sensation, in the periphery. In the deepening, we rely on a turning inwards.

Baader also makes a distinction between our inner and outer sense.

It is of interest that Dooyeweerd was aware of the work of William James in psychology. He refers for example to James’s view of the “specious present”:

Zoo is b.v. de duur van den z.g.n. presentietijd (de “specious present” in de subjectief zinnenlijk gewaarwording een andere dan die van de met den presentietijd correspondeerende objectief zinnelijk phasen van het waargenomen begeuren, b.v. het instorten van een huis, het vallen van een steen, het afgaan van een schot, enz.) (“Het Tijdsprobleem in de Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee,” Part II 1940, 212.)

[So far example, the duration of what is called ‘presence time’ (the ‘specious present’ in the subjective sensory perception is different from the corresponding objective sensory phases of the perceived event, e.g. the falling in of a house, the falling of a rock, the report of a shot, etc.]

His footnote says,

De term “Specious present” is, gelijk bekend, door E.R. Clay ingevoerd en vooral door W. James in zijn Principles of Psychology (v. 1 pp. 609 fl.) in het psychologish spraakgebruik verbreid. De objectiveering van den presentijd in den klokketijd geeft volgens nieuwere experimenten een variatie van 1/2 tot 4 sec., waarbij blijkt, dat de duur van dezen waarnemingtijd zeer verschilt bij verschillende individuen en sterk wordt beinvloed niet alleen door de intensiteit van de aandacht en belangstelling, maar ook door vermoeidheid, alcohol, verdoovende middelen, enz.

[As is well known, the term “specious present” was introduced by E.R. Clay and brought into psychological use especially by W. James in his Principles of Psychology (v. 1 pp. 609 ff). The objectification or measurement of this specious present time in clock time in recent experiments shows of variation from 1/2 to 4 seconds, which shows that the duration of this perception time differs greatly in different individuals, and is strongly influenced not only by the intensity of the attention and interest, but also by tiredness, alcohol, drugs, etc.]

See also image for a discussion of psychic or sensory images.

Revised Jan 29/08

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