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.)

systasis WdW II, 395 (systatisch in-gesteld), 400-401, 404, 406-409

NC II, 429 (inter-modal systasis of meaning), 431 (full systasis of meaning), 467 (cosmic temporal meaning-systasis), 468 (meaning-systasis), 473 (meaning-systasis of temporal reality), 498 (Kant does not recognize cosmic systasis of meaning), 526 (fulness of the temporal meaning-systasis), 535 (Kant did not starte from the real meaning-systasis in cosmic time)
NC III, 36 fn1

“De Theorie van de Bronnen van het Stellig Recht in het licht der Wetsidee” (1932)

last article, “De Kentheoretische Gegenstandsrelatie en de Logische Subject-Objectrelatie,” Philosophia Reformata 40 (1975), 92 (ontical systasis of the modal functions), 93, 94, 98 (ontical systasis).

De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer, in het licht eener Calvinistische kosmologie en kennistheorie (1931), 90 (systasis of meaning-functions, which display an organic, unbreakable meaning-coherence)

systatic last article, 87 (integral systatic coherence), 91 (continuous systatic coherence), 93 (ontical systatic relatedness)

NC II, 390 (systatic meaning-coherence), 433 (real datum is static coherence of meaning)

De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer, in het licht eener Calvinistische kosmologie en kennistheorie (1931), 102 (naive syn-systatic thought [het naieve syn-systatisch denken]), 103 (systatic cosmic self-csonciouness [systatisch kosmisch zelfbewustzijn])

Temporal reality is a coherence of cosmic time. This temporal coherence is a systasis. Our selfhood cannot be found in this systasis, because our selfhood is supratemporal, and the systasis is a temporal coherence (II, 400; NC II, 467).

For a full discussion of ‘systasis,’ including the history of the usage of this term, see my 2011 article, “Enstasy, Ecstasy and Religious Self-reflection:A history of Dooyeweerd’s Ideas of pre-theoretical experience.”

But we experience systasis when we are in enstasis. So enstasis is a relation of our selfhood to the temporal systasis. This relation occurs in pre-theoretical experience (NC I, 468; NC II, 4). Our pre-theoretical experience is directed towards full reality. This experience is systatic, integral, and has factual immediacy. It grasps reality in its plastic structure (NC III 36).

Systasis is used to refer to the temporal coherence of all aspects within our experience of individuality structures. So in his last article, Dooyeweerd says:

In the Prolegomena of the transcendental critique of the theoretical attitude of thought and experience, I have remarked that in the subject-object relations of naïve attitude of thought and experience, empirical reality is understood as it gives itself, that is to say in the continuous systatic coherence and relatedness of its modal aspects within cosmic time. (p. 91)


The ontical systasis of the modal functions of an individual entity does not at all guarantee a pre-theoretic conceptual insight into the modal structures of the different aspects, as Strauss thinks. To the contrary, it conceals them to the [pre-theoretical] analytical view that is still enstatically bound to concrete entities. (p. 92)

The English summary of this article says,

As long as the latter are actually individualized, they are only given in an unsoluble [sic] systatic meaning-coherence, which according to Strauss would make their inter-modal theoretical synthesis impossible. But evidently the author here too has been caught in the pitfall of a false identification of the ontic and the epistemological states of affairs.

Theory is the abstraction from the full systasis of meaning (NC II, 431). IN this abstraction, there is a dis-stasis, a setting apart of the modal aspects. But that splitting apart is only epistemological and not ontical. The real datum is the systatic coherence of meaning, not what has been theoretically isolated or abstracted (NC II, 433).

Dooyeweerd himself translated Volume III of the WdW. In a footnote (NC III, 36 fn1), he says that ‘systasis’ is an obsolete word, but he does not indicate from where he obtained it. He defines it as “the factual immediacy of our internal experience of reality.”

The word ‘systasis’ means “to stand together.” It was used to refer to political unions. The use of the word in the sense of an integral whole is sometimes attributed to Jean Gebser (1905-1973), who used it to mean “the conjoining or fitting together of parts into integrality” in his book The Ever Present Origin (1986, first published in German as Ursprung und Gegenwart in 1949). Pat Arneson describes Gebser’s view of systasis: “Systasis circumscribes all aspects of time which cannot be the object of categorical systematization.” [See “The Expression of Lived Experience,” Integrative Explorations: Journal of Culture and Consciousness. Feb. 1993/v1, no.1]. And yet Dooyeweerd used the word ‘systasis’ more than thirty years before Gebser, in a somewhat similar sense.

One of Dooyeweerd’s first references to ‘systasis’ is in his 1928 article “Het juridisch causaliteitsprobleem in ‘t licht der wetsidee” (Excerpts in Verburg 115). He says that our knowledge depends on analysis and synthesis and is no resting systasis. Systasis is therefore related to rest and not movement.

In De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer (Oct 20/31), Dooyeweerd refers to the systasis of meaning functions. It is “an organic, unbreakable coherence of meaning.” He asks in this book, how does synthesis relate to systasis? He also says that the synthesis of meaning is founded in the systasis of meaning, and not the other way around (pp. 102-103, cited Verburg 143). He says there that systasis is related to our naive, pre-theoretical experience.

In “De Theorie van de Bronnen van het Stellig Recht in het licht der Wetsidee” (1932) he says,

“Alle zin-zijden der tijdelijke werkelijkheid (ook de logische) zijn nu een zin-breking in den tijd van de boventijdelijke creatuurlijke religieuze zin-volheid naar wets-en subjectszijde. In het licht dezer wetsidee, die den wortel aller zin-zijden der werkelijkheid inderdaad boven den tijd zoekt moeten deze zin-zijden wezenlijk als wetskringen worden erkend, die naar hun functioneelen grondzin soeverein in eigen kring, door de kosmische tijdsorde in zin-systase zijn verbonden en juist daardoor in hun functioneelen zinsverband met alle andere wetskringen is gewaarborgd.”

[All meaning-sides of temporal reality (including the logical) are a refraction of meaning in time from the supratemporal creaturely religious fullness of meaning into law-side and subject side. In the light of this law-Idea, which seeks the root of all meaning-sides of reality above time, these meaning-sides must really be acknowledged as law-spheres, which, sovereign in their own sphere according to their functional ground-meaning, are bound together in the cosmic order of time in a systasis of meaning, and through this their functional relation of meaning with all other law-spheres is guaranteed].

And Dooyeweerd frequently uses the word ‘systasis’ in the WdW and NC.

Revised Aug 21/06
Ju14/11 Added reference to 2011 article; Dec 24/16