Vorhandenes

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

Vorhanden
Vorhandenes WdW I, 79
WdW II, 24, 456NC I, 112
NC II, 525

“Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 106-107. At p. 140: rejects ‘objectively voohandene’ and ‘static.’

For Heidegger, there is only the temporal, and things are given in their being “at hand” (‘das Vorhandenes’). Heidegger says that human life (das Dasein) is at the mercy of das Vorhandene. By this he means that human understanding does not create its objects, but only receives them. Finite beings are dependent on the reception of what is given.

Dooyeweerd specifically rejects any view of reality as inert ‘Vorhandenes’! Dooyeweerd says that according to this view, the whole of temporal reality in its subject-side consists of a static givenness. Dooyeweerd says that the view of temporal reality as Vorhandenes rests on a failure to appreciate the dynamic character of reality, a failure to appreciate the ex-sistence of all created things as meaning, with no rest in themselves (WdW I, 79; NC I, 112). He criticizes Heidegger’s view of Vorhandenes as a blind and meaningless nature into which human existence (Dasein) is thrown (WdW II, 24; NC II, 22). And Dooyeweerd says that Heidegger knows only the transcendence of the temporal finite human “Dasein” above what Heidegger calls the ‘Vorhandene” (the sensible things that are given), but that this is not an ideal transcendence above time itself (WdW I II, 456; NC II, 525). In other words, Dooyeweerd rejects Heidegger’s temporalized view of the selfhood. Instead, Dooyeweerd emphasizes the supratemporal nature of the heart.

The problem for Heidegger is how finite humans can know this given nature (by intuition), without at the same time being its creator. Heidegger puts forward the idea of transcendental imagination. But Heidegger’s idea of transcendetnal imagination is identical with “time” as “pure intuition” (NC II, 525). Dooyeweerd says that Heidegger’s views the selfhood with reference to its “innermost original essence” as time itself. For Heidegger, the transcendence of the selfhood then remains merely of a temporal character:

It is only the transcendence of the temporal finite human “Dasein” above the ‘Vorhandene’ (the sensible things that are given), but it is not an ideal transcendence above time itself. (NC II, 525)

Dooyeweerd rejects such a temporalized view of the selfhood. He emphasizes the supratemporal nature of the heart.

Temporal reality is dynamic in the inter-relatedness of its temporal aspects, and in its relatedness to its religious root.

A discussion of the meaning of ‘states of affairs’ is given in Dooyeweerd’s article “Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 106-107. Dooyeweerd rejects thae idea that these are static facts in the sense of Dooyeweerd’s idea of Vorhandenes. Even states of affairs have a dynamic meaning character: they refer outside and above themselves to the universal meaning coherence in time, the creaaturely root-unity, and the supra-creaturely unity and Origin of all meaning. And this referring expressees itself in the inner structure of these very states of affairs:

Ook in de tijdelijke orde gegeven “standen van zaken” zijn dus van dynamisch zinkaraker, d.w.z. zijj wijzen buiten en boven zich zelve uit naar de universele zin-samenhang in de tijd, de creatuurlijke wortel-eenheid, en de boven-creatuurlijke Oorspongseenheid van alle zin, een heenwijzing die zich in hun innerlijke structuur zelve uitdruikt. Maar deze zin-dynamiek beweegt zich binnen het onoverschrijdbare kader van een door God gestelde orde. Zij heft niet de relatieve bepaaldheid van de in deze orde gegronde standen van zaken op, maar legt slechts de betrekkelijkheid van deze bepaaldheid bloot, zodat iedere verzelfstandiging van een gegeven stand van zeken, onherroepelijk tot een fundamentele misvatting daarvan voert.

Thus, the “states of affairs” given in the temporal order also have a dynamic meaning character. That is to say, they refer outside and above themselves to the universal temporal coherence of meaning, to the creaturely [supratemporal] root-unity, and to the supra-creaturely [etenral] unity of the Origin of all meaning–a referring which expresses itself in their own inner structure. But this meaning-dynamic moves within the fraemwork of God’s set order, an order that cannot be trasngressed. It does not remove the limited nature of the states of affairs that are grounded in this order, but only lays bare the relativity of this limitation, so that every attempt to absolutize a given state of affairs leads irrevocably to a fundamental misunderstanding of them

In the same article, Dooyeweerd says that his philosophy can in no way be compared to the existentialist idea of static Vorhandenes:

Met de existentialistische kategorie van het “statisch voorhandenee” is dus de wetsopvatting van de W.D.W. op geen enkele wijze te benaderen. (p. 110).

Dooyeweerd says that the law can never be understood as a “static object” (p. 110). He is opposed to any deterministic view of natural law, such as was given in the classical natural sciences (p. 111)

Dooyeweerd rejects existentialism’s polar dualism between such Vorhandenes and an ex-sistente selfhood which is free in its creative “Weltentwurf” [being thrown into the world] (p. 112).

Existentialism sees existence only in its antithesis to the ‘given nature of reality.” Reality is given in the sense of being “at hand” (Vorhandenes). For Heidegger, Dasein is the ontological manner of being against the given world of the Vorhandenen (I, 79). This view of temporal reality as Vorhandenes rests on a failure to appreciate the dynamic character of reality; the ex-sistence of all created things as meaning, with no rest in themselves. Heidegger sought the transcendence within time itself, in our movement towards death. (WdW II, 24)

It must be pointed out that Dooyeweerd himself refers to temporal reality as Vorhandenes in one article:

“…het principieel verschil tussen schepping (Gen. 1) en wording (formering uit reeds voorhanden materiaal, Gen. 2) vervalt in dat de schepping, als boven-creatuurlijk tot aanzijn roepen door het Goddelijke Woord, binnen het creatuurlijk kader van het historisch tijdsaspect wordt getrokken.” (“Na vijf en dertig jaren’ (Philosophia Reformata 36e jrg. 1e en 2e kwaartaal 1971, p. 1-10)

[…the principal difference between creation (Genesis 1) and becoming (the forming out of an already existing material, Gen. 2), falls away in that the creation as a supra-creaturely calling to existence [aanzijn] by the Divine Word, is brought within the creaturely category of the historical aspect of time].

But that reference is in relation to creation, and not to how temporal reality exists in relation to humanity.

It is interesting that Baader also refers to a ‘Vorhandenes.’ But in his view, there is no ‘Vorhandenes’ in the temporal world because although the Center is in each and all points of the periphery, within the temporal, it is nowhere ‘vorhanden’ or given in the temporal itself (Philosophische Schriften I, 16.

I believe that we may contrast Baader with Heidegger. In contrast to Baader, Heidegger took the view that reality is fully temporal, and he sought the Vorhandenes within the temporal. Because he could then have no dynamic inter-relationship with a central reality, his view let to a static sense of temporality.

Revised Jan 29/08; Dec 24/16

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