speculation

Linked Glossary of Terms
(References are to the Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

speculative NC II, 38, 539 (splits up temporal reality into noumenon and phenomenon)
specula

Baader calls his theology “Speculative Dogmatics.” He derives the word ‘speculative’ from specula or mirror. thus, speculative theology is related to our creation in as the image or mirror of God.

Dooyeweerd rejects speculative metaphysics. He says that all speculative thought is necessarily antinomic. In speculative thought, we do not actually conceptually comprehend the supratemporal, but rather we eradicate the modal limits of the temporal law-spheres by making one absolute. (NC II, 38).

He gives as an example the speculative idea in natural theology of God as the ultimate cause (unmoved Mover):

This notion lands us in an insoluble contradiction with man’s personal accountability for his actions, since it makes God the ultimate term of a series of causes and effects which must be conceived as continuous and leaving no single hiatus in the causal chain (NC II, 38).

Similarly, Dooyeweerd denies that the intermodal relation among the aspects cannot be a causal relation (NC II, 39).

He says that Kant was corrected that theoretical antinomies are founded in a speuclative overstepping of the limits of theoretical thought (NC II, 44). But the principle of exclusion of antinomies is not identical with the logical principle of contradiction. The principle of exclusion of antinomies is the foundation of the principle of contradiction (NC II, 47).

But Dooyeweerd’s objection to speculative metaphysics does not prevent him from discussing the relation of temporal reality to humanity as its supratemporal root as created in the image of God. Dooyeweerd emphasizes that we do have (experiential) knowledge of the supratemporal:

According to my modest opinion, and in the light of the whole Scriptural revelation concerning human nature it is just this possession of a supratemporal root of life, with the simultaneous subjectedness to time of all its earthly expressions, that together belong to the essence [wezen] of man, to the “image of God” in him–by means of which he is able to not only relatively but radically go out [uitgaat] above all temporal things. And that is how I also understand Ecclesiastes 3:11. If in fact man’s heart were also a “temporal thing” among other temporal things, than it would be difficult for this heart to know of the supratemporal. In order to have a religious sense [besef] of eternity, man must in the depths of his being participate in it [34], although our thinking always remains subjected to time (Second Response to Curators).

Man transcends time in his selfhood, but within the temporal coherence, man is universally-bound-to-time (NC I, 24). Dooyeweerd also says this in his 1960 article, “Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 103:

En slechts in en uit Hem leren wij in de gemeenschap van de H. Geest verstaan, in welke zin wij in het centrum onzer existentie de tijd te boven gaan, ofschoon wij tegelijk binnen de tijd besloten zijn [italics Dooyeweerd’s]

[And only in and from out of Him do we learn to understand, in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, in what sense we transcend time in the center of our existence, whereas we are simultaneously limited within time.]
We are restricted and relativized by (but not at all to) our temporal cosmic existence (NC II, 561).

Thus, although Dooyeweerd avoids metaphysical speculation about that which is beyond our experience, he does follow some of Baader’s speculative theology insofar as it relates to our creation as the image of God.

See my discussion of these issues 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. Dooyeweerd does not hesitate to speak of our experience of the supratemporal heart. That is not speculation. Metaphysical speculation is when we attempt to speak of realities that are not related at all to temporal reality. Our supratemporal heart is related to temporal reality, since it expresses itself within temporal reality, including our temporal body or “mantle of functions.” I contrast Dooyeweerd’s discussion of the supratemporal with metaphyscial kinds of speculation in Appendix C to that article, “Corbin’s Idea of the Mesocosm and the Mundus Imaginalis.”

 Revised Jan 29/08

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