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.)

child-like II, 495

NC II, 33-34

pre-trans Fallacy A term used by Ken Wilber

We should not confuse naive experience with the beginning experiences of a child. That would be a Romanticism, which Dooyeweerd rejects. Our naive experience is itself something that is learned. Dooyeweerd says that the child’s life is not only pre-theoretical, but it is pre-experiential. Infants have not learned the practical function of things and events in social life. This infantile attitude is animistic; it displays a provisional inability to conceive subject-object relations. By this I understand Dooyeweerd to be saying that the child cannot distinguish between the realms of mineral, plant, animal and human, since that is how he characterizes animism elsewhere. Dooyeweerd says that there must be sufficient development of the typical act-structure of human existence and a practical acquaintance with the things of common life. Our naive experience is learned socially; it is informed by social praxis. (NC II, 33, 34).

Dooyeweerd says that our faith must be child-like (II, 495). But should it be our goal to have the experience of a child? Dooyeweerd does not recommend a regression to childhood experience.

The child’s life is not only pre-theoretical, but it is pre-experiential. It is an animistic infantilism. Even naive experience is to be deepened and opened up, and we are not to fall back into a bare [bloot] or undeepened naive experience (I, 49, 60). Therefore it is even less desirable for us to fall back into the pre-experiential attitude.

Thus, Dooyeweerd rejects any Romanticist ideas of a regression to childhood. It may be (and this is my interpretation) that a child’s pre-experience is closer to the undifferentiated root unity of the selfhood. and for that reason, a child’s intuition may be very strong. But our task in time is to individuate, as well as to participate in the redemption of the temporal world that has its existence in the root. Our goal is to be that of Sonship and epektasis.

Dooyeweerd’s distinction between the experiential and the pre-experiential is similar to Ken Wilber’s criticism of much of C.G. Jung. He says that Jung’s emphasis on archetypes tends to be regressive and fails to distinguish between pre-personal and trans-personal consciousness. both states may be non-rational, but that does not mean that they are the same. He calls this the pre/trans fallacy. See Ken Wilber, “The Pre/Trans Fallacy,” Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision (Tarcher, 1993).

Now I know that Dooyeweerd himself rejects the term trans-personal. He says that transpersonalism rests on an irrationalistic hypostatization of temporal communal relationships (NC III 247). Nevertheless, he does speak of the root as supra-individual.

Dooyeweerd also opposes any romantic separation between intuition and the logical aspect. He rejects Schelling’s romanticism where men of genius rise above the primary logical principles in their “intellectual intuition.” Schelling’s intellectual intuition has a theoretical character. Even the insight of genius must be identified and distinguished logically (NC II, 483). Instead, Dooyeweerd regards intuition as the temporal bottom layer of the analytical aspect.

Baader must also not be considered as a philosopher of Romanticism. He does not elevate feeling above reason, and he criticizes those who do. Koslowski, who has written extensively about Baader, does not consider that he fits the category of Romanticism at all. This is evident in the title of Koslowski’s book. Peter Koslowski (ed.): Die Philosophie, Theologie und Gnosis Franz von Baaders: Spekulatives Denken zwischen Aufklärung, Restauration und Romantik (Vienna: Passagen Verlag, 1993).

Revised Oct. 30/05; Dec 24/16