lundi 12 mars 2018

‘Friedrich Nietzsche: Saol agus Smaointeachas’ le Diarmuid Ó Gráinne

‘Friedrich Nietzsche: 
Saol agus Smaointeachas’ 
le Diarmuid Ó Gráinne 
Coiscéim, 1997
Litríocht €6.34

Tá nócha bliain ann i mbliana ó foilsíodh Ecce Homo Friedrich Nietzsche, ocht mbliana tar éis don údar féin bás a fháil. Sa bheathaisnéis gearr seo cuireann Diarmuid Ó Gráinne (comheagarthóir An Fhealsúnacht agus an tSíceolaíocht [Coiscéim 1993] smaointeachas agus cúlra an fhealsaimh os ár gcomhair.

“Ba shíceolaí Nietzsche chomh maith le bheith ina fháidh fealsúnta. Bhí sé frithShócraiteach, toisc gur chuir Sócraitéas béim ar an réasún. B’é an fealsamh réamhShócraiteach, Hearaiclítéas, a rogha. Mar sin, roghnaigh sé Diníosas in áit Apolló, an taghd cruthaitheachta in áit an réasúin. Ní hiontas go raibh col ar leth aige le scoláirí a chaith a gcuid ama ag scríobh faoi thuairimí a bhí oibrithe amach ag daoine eile. Dhearc sé orthu mar chluanairí meata, a bhí lán formaid agus éada, nach raibh sé de mhisneach iontu briseadh amach thar bhallaí na hollscoile, agus an saol a fheiceáil mar a bhí. Ní hiontas gur mhol Nietzsche an saol faoin aer, agus is minic a dúirt nár chóir iontaoibh a chur i smaoineamh ar bith nach dtagann chugainn sna sléibhte faoin aer folláin. […] Ba dhíol trua an duine nua-aoiseach, dar leis, feithid bhocht éidreorach nár chuir an iomarca stró air féin faoi rud ar bith, a raibh lá crua oibre thar a acmhainn, a raibh an tseirbhís féin thar a chumas cluanach, spreas díbheo a bhí coillte go hintleachtúil, go fisiciúil agus go spioradálta.”
(‘Friedrich Nietzsche: Saol agus Smaointeachas’ le Diarmuid Ó Gráinne, Coiscéim, 1997, leath. 17,18.)

vendredi 9 mars 2018

Herman Dooyeweerd: Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
(Photo by F. Hartmann, 1875)


'The religious [ultimate] ground-motives in the development of Western civilization are basically the following:

1. The "form-matter" ground-motive of Greek antiquity in alliance with the Roman power motive (imperium).

2. The Scriptural ground-motive of the Christian religion: creation, fall, and redemption through Jesus Christ in communion with the Holy Spirit.

3. The Roman Catholic [Thomistic] ground-motive of "nature-grace", which seeks to combine the two mentioned above.

4. The modern humanistic ground motive of "nature-freedom", in which an attempt is made to bring the three previous motives to a religious synthesis concentrated upon the value of human personality.' 

(Herman Dooyeweerd, Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Secular, and Christian Options, Paideia Press, 2012, p15) 
Herman Dooyeweerd: Nietzsche
The transformation of historicism into naturalistic evolutionism.
     At about the middle of the 19th century historicism took a new turn in evolutionism. The dogma of evolution spread from biology to all the branches of science. Thus there began a new triumphal march of the classic deterministic science-ideal in its historical transformation. Since ROUSSEAU and KANT religious primacy had been ascribed to the motive of freedom. But now the religious dialectic again led Humanistic thought to the acceptance of the primacy of the nature-motive. Freedom-idealism began to collapse. Marxist sociology transformed the idealistic dialectic of HEGEL into a historical-materialism. The latter explained the ideological super-structure of society in terms of a reflection of the economic mode of production. Marxism and Darwinism united, but they, too, did not carry historicism to its extreme relativistic conclusions. Both still believed in a final goal of development which is itself outside of the historical relativity. The religious ground-motive of Humanism dominates the trust of both in objective science and in its freeing activity for humanity.

The first expression of the spiritual disintegrating process in Historicism. NIETZSCHE's religion of power.
However, in the latter half of the 19th century the process of spiritual uprooting began to reveal itself in historicism in an almost pathological form. NIETZSCHE'S gospel of the super-man is the first manifestation of this process.

In his first period NIETZSCHE was under the influence of German Romanticism and idealism from which he fell under the domination of Darwinian evolutionism. In the third and final phase of his thought, however, he developed a religion of power which completely broke away from the Humanistic motive of nature and freedom in its original religious sense.

The view of NIETZSCHE is based upon the Darwinian basic tenets and upon a radical historistic vision of reality. Proceeding on this foundation he views man only as an "animal", which is not yet "fixed", and whose sole superiority to other species of animals consequently consists in the fact that man is not bound to static instincts and to a statically circumscribed "Umwelt".

In the historical development of culture man has his destiny in his own hands, and thereby displays an absolutely dynamic nature. NIETZSCHE wishes to build his anthropology exclusively upon the positive data of "nature and history". He fulminates against the fact that man overestimates his own importance, views the whole cosmos as related to himself, and imagines himself to be a free rational personality, radically elevated above the animals.

Man is a "phantastic animal" that from time to time has the need of reflecting upon the goal of his existence and thus posits ideologies concerning God and morality. However, science has progressed so far that man has killed his gods, and now only retains his own historical future. But history — in spite of all Christian and Humanistic ideologies — is nothing but a struggle for power (2).
(2) In our analysis of the modal structure of the historical aspect in Vol. II, we shall see that domination or power is indeed the nuclear moment of this aspect.

Thus the "Wille zur Macht" is the only existential escape for man from the nihilism to which historicism leads.

The kingdom of the "super-man", of the "blond beast", in which this will to power will assume super-human forms, can only be established through an "Umwertung aller Werte" (transvaluation of all values) on the ruins of Christian and Humanistic ideologies.

The ideal of science and the ideal of personality of Humanism are both rejected. NIETZSCHE considers science only as a biological aid in the struggle for existence. It only has a pragmatic value. Consistent historicism can no longer have faith in scientific truth. Nor can it believe any longer in the Idea of humanity which was rooted in the religious motive of freedom. Thus NIETZSCHE introduced into Humanistic philosophy the great process of religious decay. And this would soon enough lead to a radical spiritual crisis in the culture of the West, accelerated by the two world-wars.

(Herman Dooyeweerd, New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol I/ Part 2/ Chapt 1 /§4 pp 207ff)
*  *  *  *  *  *
The tension of the ideals of science and personality in NIETZSCHE's development. Biologizing of the science-ideal (DARWIN).
The Humanistic ideal of personality in its irrationalist turn was confronted with a new development of the natural science-ideal which, since the second half of the nineteenth century under the mighty influence of DARWIN's evolution-theory, pervaded the new "historical mode of thought". As we shall presently show, this new "historical mode of thinking" originated in the irrationalistic turn of the Humanistic freedom-idealism. This dialectical struggle between the two basic factors of the Humanistic transcendental ground-Idea in their new conception discloses itself in a truly impressive manner in the dialectical development of NIETZSCHE, whose final phase, as we observed in an earlier context, is the announcement of the beginning of the religious uprooting of modern thought as a result of a dialectical self-destruction of the Humanistic ground-motive in a radical Historicism.

We have only to compare NIETZSCHE's first romantic-aesthetic period, influenced strongly by SCHOPENHAUER and RICHARD WAGNER, with the second positivistic phase beginning in 1878, in which the biological ideal of science gains the upper-hand, and the last period of the culture-philosophy of the "Superman", beginning in 1883. In this last period, the science-ideal has been entirely depreciated. Henceforth, science is viewed as a merely biological means in the struggle for existence, without any proper truth-value. BERGSON and other modern philosophers of life took over this pragmatist and biological conception of the theoretical picture of the world, created by scientific thought.

It would be false to suppose that the irrationalist philosophy of life preached chaos. On the contrary, it does not intend to abandon order. But, as the rationalist types of Humanist philosophy make the concept of the subject a function of the concept of the law in a special modal sense, and thus dissolve the former into the latter, so, in a reverse manner, the irrationalist types reduce the "true" order to a function of individual subjectivity. [Maar, gelijk de rationalistische typen der humanistische wijsbegeerte het subjectsbegrip tot een functie van het wetsbegrip maken en de subjectsidee in diepste wezen in een rationalistische wetsidee opheffen, zoo herleiden omgekeerd, de irrationalistische typen de ‘ware’ wetmatigheid tot een functie der individueele subjectiviteit. Hier is de zelfstandigheid der wet ten bate van de subjectieve individualiteit opgeheven: de wetsidee is in een irrationalistische subjectsidee overgegaan! (WdW Boek I p 433)]
(Herman Dooyeweerd, New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol I/ Part 2/ Chapt 6/§2 pp 462-467)

See also:

mardi 6 mars 2018

Herman Dooyeweerd: Meaning.

Jan Davidsz. de Heem: "Festoon with Flowers and Fruits" (1670)

(Also called Aspects/ Modes/ Modalities/ Meaning-sides) 
Herman Dooyeweerd: Meaning.
Meaning as the mode of being of all that is created.
[...] This universal character of referring and expressing, which is proper to our entire created cosmos, stamps created reality as meaning, in accordance with its dependent non-self-sufficient nature. Meaning is the being of all that has been created and the nature even of our selfhood. It has a religious root and a divine origin.

Now philosophy should furnish us with a theoretical insight into the inter-modal coherence of all the aspects of the temporal world. Philosophy should make us aware, that this coherence is a coherence of meaning that refers to a totality. We have been fitted into this coherence of meaning with all our modal functions, which include both the so-called "natural" and the so-called "spiritual". [...]
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol I, pp 3,4)

Meaning in the fall of man.
There remains, however, another central problem of extreme importance: As regards his human nature, Christ is the root of reborn creation, and as such the fulness of meaning, the creaturely Ground of the meaning of all temporal reality. But our temporal world in its apostate religious root lies under God's curse, under the curse of sin. Thus there is a radical antithesis in the subject-side of the root of the earthly cosmos. It may be that this antithesis has been reconciled by the Redemption in Jesus Christ, but in temporal reality the unrelenting struggle between the kingdom of God and that of darkness will go on until the end of the world. 

The falling away from God has affected our cosmos in its root and its temporal refraction of meaning. Is not this a final and decisive reason to distinguish meaning from reality? Does not the radical antithesis between the kingdom of God and that of darkness, which our transcendental Idea itself also recognizes as fundamental for philosophic thought, compel us to accept an ultimate dualism between meaning and reality? Is sinful reality still meaning? Is it not meaningless, or rather the adversary of meaning, since meaning can only exist in the religious dependence on its Origin?

Here we indeed touch the deepest problem of Christian philosophy. The latter cannot hope to solve it without the illumination of Divine Revelation if it wants to be guaranteed from falling back into the attitude of immanence-philosophy.

I for one do not venture to try and know anything concerning the problem that has been raised except what God has vouchsafed to reveal to us in His Word. I do not know what the full effect of unrestrained sin on reality would be like. Thanks to God this unhampered influence does not exist in our earthly cosmos. One thing we know, viz. that sin in its full effect does not mean the cutting through of the relation of dependence between Creator and depraved creation, but that the fulness of being of Divine justice will express itself in reprobate creation in a tremendous way, and that in this process depraved reality cannot but reveal its creaturely mode of being as meaning. It will be meaning in the absolute subjective apostasy under the curse of God's wrath, but in this very condition it will not be a meaningless reality.

Sin causes spiritual death through the falling away from the Divine source of life, but sin is not merely privatio, not something merely negative, but a positiveguilty apostasy insofar as it reveals its power, derived from creation itself. Sinful reality remains apostate meaning under the law and under the curse of God's wrath. In our temporal cosmos God's Common Grace reveals itself, as KUYPER brought to light so emphatically, in the preservation of the cosmic world-order. Owing to this preserving grace the framework of the temporal refraction of meaning remains intact.

The Christian as a stranger in this world.
Although the fallen earthly cosmos is only a sad shadow of God's original creation, and although the Christian can only consider  himself as a stranger and a pilgrim in this world, yet he cannot recognize the true creaturely ground of meaning in the apostate root of this cosmos, but only in the new root, Christ. Any other view would inevitably result in elevating sin to the rank of an independent counter-power opposed to the creative power of God. And this would result in avoidance of the world, an unbiblical flight from the world. We have nothing to avoid in the world but sin. The war that the Christian wages in God's power in this temporal life against the Kingdom of darkness, is a joyful struggle, not only for his own salvation, but for God's creation as a whole, which we do not hate, but love for Christ's sake. We must not hate anything in the world but sin.
The apostate world cannot maintain any meaning as its own property in opposition to Christ. Common Grace.
Nothing in our apostate world can get lost in Christ. There is not any part of space, there is no temporal life, no temporal movement or temporal energy, no temporal power, wisdom, beauty, love, faith or justice, which sinful reality can maintain as a kind of property of its own apart from Christ.

Whoever relinquishes the 'world' taken in the sense of sin, of the 'flesh' in its Scriptural meaning, does not really lose anything of the creaturely meaning, but on the contrary he gets a share in the fulness of meaning of Christ, in Whom God will give us everything. It is all due to God's common grace in Christ that there are still means left in the temporal world to resist the destructive force of the elements that have got loose; that there are still means to combat disease, to check psychic maladies, to practise logical thinking, to save cultural development from going down into savage barbarism, to develop language, to preserve the possibility of social intercourse, to withstand injustice, and so on. All these things are the fruits of Christ's work, even before His appearance on the earth. From the very beginning God has viewed His fallen creation in the light of the Redeemer.

We can only face the problem of the effect on temporal meaning that the partial working of the falling away from the fulness of meaning has in spite of common grace, when we have gained an insight into the modal structures of the law-spheres within the temporal coherence of meaning. But— and with this we definitively reject any separation of meaning from reality — meaning  in apostasy remains real meaning in accordance with its creaturely mode of being. An illogical reasoning can occur only within the logical modality of meaning; illegality in its legal sense is only possible within the modality of meaning of the jural sphere; the non beautiful can only be found within the modal aspect of meaning of the aesthetic law-sphere, just as organic disease remains something within the modal aspect of meaning of the biotic law-sphere, and so on. Sin, as the root of all evil, has no meaning or existence independent of the religious fulness of the Divine Law. In this sense St PAUL'S word is to be understood, to the effect that but for the law sin is dead ("χωρς γρ νόμου μαρτία νεκρά" Romans 7:8).

All along the line meaning remains the creaturely mode of being under the law which has been fulfilled by Christ. Even apostate meaning is related to Christ, though in a negative sense; it is nothing apart from Him.

As soon as thought tries to speculate on this religious basic truth, accessible to us only through faith in God's Revelation, it gets involved in insoluble antinomies. This is not due to any intrinsic contradiction between thought and faith, but rather to the mutinous attempt on the part of thought to exceed its temporal cosmic limits in its supposed self-sufficiency. But of this in the next section. For thought that submits to Divine Revelation and recognizes its own limits, the antithesis in the root of our cosmos is not one of antinomy; rather it is an opposition on the basis of the radical unity of Divine Law; just as in the temporal law-spheres justice and injustice, love and hatred are not internally antinomous, but only contrasts determined by the norms in the respective modalities of meaning.

The religious value of the modal criterion of meaning.
If created reality is to be conceived of as meaning, one cannot observe too strictly the limits of the temporal modal law-spheres in philosophic thought. These limits have been set by the cosmic order of time in the specific 'sovereignty of the modal aspects within their own spheres'.

Any attempt to obliterate these limits by a supposedly autonomous thought results in an attack upon the religious fulness of meaning of the temporal creation.

If the attempt is made to reduce the modal meaning of the jural or that of the economic law-sphere to the moral one of the temporal love of one's neighbour, or if the same effort is made to reduce the modal meaning of number or that of language to the meaning of logic, it must be distinctly understood that the abundance of meaning of creation is diminished by this subjective reduction. And perhaps without realizing what this procedure implies, one puts some temporal aspect of reality in the place of the religious fulness of meaning in Christ. The religious value of the criterion of meaning is that it saves philosophic thought from falling away from this fulness.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol II, p 32-36)

Eternity illumines even the seemingly trivial.
In the Biblical attitude of naïve [everyday/ pre-theoretical] experience, the transcendent, religious dimension of its horizon is opened. The light of eternity radiates perspectively through all the temporal dimensions of this horizon and even illuminates seemingly trivial things and events in our sinful world. [...]

This should not be misunderstood. It would be an illusion to suppose that a true Christian always displays the Biblical attitude in his pre-theoretical experience. Far from it. Because he is not exempt from the solidarity of the fall into sin, every Christian knows the emptiness of an experience of the temporal world which seems to be shut up in itself. He knows the impersonal attitude of a 'Man' in the routine of common life and the dread of nothingness, the meaninglessness, if he tries to find himself again in a so-called existential isolation. He is acquainted with all this from personal experience, though he does not understand the philosophical analysis of this state of spiritual uprooting in Humanistic existentialism. 

But the Christian whose heart is opened to the Divine Word-revelation knows that in this apostate experiential attitude he does not experience temporal things and events as they really are, i.e. as meaning pointing beyond and above itself to the true religious centre of meaning and to the true Origin.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol III, pp 29, 30)
See also:

mardi 27 février 2018

John Duns Scotus and the Idea of Independence (Alexander Broadie)

William Wallace Statue, Aberdeen
John Duns Scotus 
and the Idea of Independence
by Alexander Broadie
"My conclusion is that while Wallace was fighting for Scottish independence, Scotus was developing precisely the intellectual framework that the Scots within a few years would deploy in the chief documents that defined that independence. I also believe it possible that the documents in question were compiled with Scotus in mind. There remains an intriguing thought, which I have not pursued, that Scotus was actively engaged in the development of Scottish thinking on the matter of Scottish independence through discussions that he might have had with Scots whom he met at the great centres where he worked. If such discussions did indeed take place, then my suggestion, made some years ago, that the relation of Scotus to the Wars of Independence was one of theory to practice, is false. Scotus may, after all, have been on the side of practice as well as theory by working to the same end as the Scottish military leaders even although by utterly different means."
Read full article
The following audio lecture covers related subject-matter -

The Past as Propaganda 
in The Declaration of Arbroath: 
Influence of John Duns Scotus 
by Alexander Broadie 
You may also find of interest -

"He That All Our Comford Was"? 
- Robert The Bruce in Scottish sources before Barbour's Bruce
Dr Dauvit Broun and Prof Alexander Broadie
Historical Scottish Christian contributions to world constitutional and democratic thought
UK Supreme Court: Article 50 'Brexit' Appeal [2016] (IWGB Submission - Aidan O’Neill QC)

Postmodernism Exposed - Chomsky, Peterson, Paglia & Hicks (subtítulos y obras de Dooyeweerd en español)

Philosophy Search | Ajoutée le 11 oct. 2017
(ipad etc: subtítulos en español ACQUÍ)
Herman Dooyeweerd en español -

Los Conceptos Analógicos (PDF, 23 páginas)
Dooyeweerd, Herman

Constituye una magnífica introducción a la historia de las ideas, en particular de las ideas sociales y políticas desde una perspectiva cristiana. Estudia el nacimiento de la moderna sociología y sus distintas escuelas. Se adentra en la distinción entre Estado y sociedad, los conceptos, estamentos y conflictos de clase. Expone los problemas básicos de la sociología actual y señala la urgente necesidad del desarrollo de una sociología basada sobre un fundamento escritural cristiano. Un texto excelente de sociología y filosofía desde una perspectiva cristiana, para Institutos y Seminarios.
(PDF, 243 páginas)
Herman Dooyeweerd
Traducción de Adolfo García de la Sienra

jeudi 15 février 2018

Dooyeweerd: Plato, Aristotle - State Absolutism and Sexual Communism

Herman Dooyeweerd: 
Plato, Aristotle - 
State Absolutism 
and Sexual Communism

'The religious [ultimate] ground-motives in the development of Western civilization are basically the following:

1. The "form-matter" ground-motive of Greek antiquity in alliance with the Roman power motive (imperium).

2. The Scriptural ground-motive of the Christian religion: creation, fall, and redemption through Jesus Christ in communion with the Holy Spirit.

3. The Roman Catholic [Thomistic] ground-motive of "nature-grace", which seeks to combine the two mentioned above.

4. The modern humanistic ground motive of "nature-freedom", in which an attempt is made to bring the three previous motives to a religious synthesis concentrated upon the value of human personality.' 

(Herman Dooyeweerd, Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Secular, and Christian Options, Paideia Press, 2012, p15) 
Extract from ‘A New Study of Aristotle’s Concept of Justice’, from “TIME, LAW, and HISTORY: Selected Essays [by Herman Dooyeweerd]: Collected Works Series B – Vol 14, Paideia Press, 2017, pp 228-233. 

The article has been translated by D.F.M. Strauss into English from the original Dutch ‘Een Nieuwe studie over het Aristotelisch begrip der gerechtigheit’, Rechtsgeleerd Magazijn Themis 77 (1958). This essay is a critique of the book ‘Der Begriff der Gerechtigheit in der aristotelischen Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie’ [The concept of justice in the Aristotelian legal and political philosophy] by Peter Trude.

It is clear what the intention of our author [Peter Trude] is. Apparently, Christian philosophy is for him Thomist scholasticism. Thomas [Aquinas] accepted the Aristotelian views of ethics and the state as the natural substrate for the supernatural Christian ethics and church doctrine, and in his natural ethics he adopted the late-Aristotelian conception of general justice as justitia legalis

But once again it is a sign of lack of insight into the central significance of the religious ground-motives in Western philosophy when Trude foists upon Aristotle the typical scholastic distinction between “a natural and a supernatural” virtue, similarly to the way we saw him assume, in another context, that the Kantian distinction between “nature” and “freedom” is also found already in Aristotle. This merely shows to what extent the lack of a transcendental critique of Western thought, which reveals the diverse religious ground-motives as the ultimate hidden starting-points, leads the interpretation of Greek conceptions into scholarly aberrations. 

But in the thought of Trude this typical scholastic tendency toward accommodation, which itself starts from the synthesis motive of nature and grace, assumes a most questionable form when he attempts to show that the Bible already contains – in the apostle Paul, at Rom. 6:18 and Col. 3:14, and in Eccles. 12:13 – a conception of general justice and its connection with love that is related to the Aristotelian view. By ascribing to the biblical conception of love and justice, in their radical religious sense, an association with the Aristotelian conception of friendship and general justice, the biblical view is utterly denatured and in fact interpreted in terms of the Greek motive of form and matter.

When biblical conceptions are viewed in isolation from the radical ground-motive of creation, fall and redemption, one gets lost in a superficial play on words which completely eliminates the radical appeal of the Word-revelation to man’s heart, the root of human existence.

In contemporary theology, both in Protestantism and in the Roman Catholic nouvelle théologie, the insight that there is a deep gulf between the biblical thought-world of the Old and New Testaments and that of Greek philosophy is more and more gaining ground. Interpretations of Scripture in a Platonic or Aristotelian sense, as was done in the spirit of earlier scholasticism, are now emphatically rejected. But one cannot say that this kind of biblical exegesis is definitely a thing of the past – as is evident from the above criticism of Trude’s line of reasoning.

[…] But the claim that the Platonic idea of justice in its application to human society in the form of law would be capable of erecting a morally sound State is a statement that can hardly pass the test of criticism. Does the author really consider the Platonic design of the ideal State that is fully oriented to the idea of justice in a moral sense a wholesome design for the State?

The unbridled State absolutism evident in state-regulated sexual communism for the two highest political estates, the elimination of private property and of a private marital and family life for these estates, the assignment to the State of children born from their sexual relationships, including a detailed system of education regulating the life of these children, and the total stripping of all political rights from the lower third estate of peasants and partisans – do they indeed, according to Trude, meet the requirement of a morally sound order for the State?

Yet all this derives from the hierarchical value-ordering entailed in the Platonic theory of justice. Aristotle undoubtedly rejected these communistic ideas of Plato, while Plato himself, in his later dialogue on the Laws, abandoned these ideas since they did not fit empirical human nature with its imperfections. 

But that Plato’s subsequent project of the “State with Laws” as well as Aristotle’s own project for the best form of government essentially does not, on principle, know a single limitation of the jural power of the polis is immediately clear once attention is paid to these two views. That Trude does not realize that here we find the original defect in the Platonic and Aristotelian concept of justice is amply seen from the praise contained in his statement quoted above.

[…] Aristotle views the State as the perfect community in which all other communities can have the role of service components only – all parts of lower value. The classical Greek view of the different societal spheres does not look at their inner nature, their internal structural principle that is anchored in the divine order of creation, but at the goal they serve, as defined by Greek thought. Therefore their mutual relations are conceived in terms of the means-end scheme in which a value hierarchy is assumed that clashes fundamentally with the creation order. Hence it fails to acknowledge any limits to the competence of the State, grounded in the inner nature and structural principles of the spheres of society. 

Thomas’s acceptance of the Aristotelian view of the State as the “perfect community” therefore entailed a fundamental denaturing of the biblical ground-motive of creation, fall and redemption, even though he naturally attempted, in line with scholasticism, to accommodate the Greek form-matter motive to the biblical idea of creation.

[…] A strange impression is also left by the application of the Aristotelian conception of general justice to the trials of war criminals since 1945. If, so Trude argues, a person for the sake of the state community obeyed laws promulgated with an evil or criminal purpose, under the mistaken but exculpatory supposition that they were good, then such a person not only did not commit a crime but even acted in a virtuous way insofar as he practised general justice. He remarks:
“Consequently, this distinction flowing from the Aristotelian concept of general justice is throughout justified and fruitful and is of notable significance and great topical interest for reversing the values that state-forms and state-laws aim toward [?FMF], particularly also for the ethical and jural treatment of the post-war trials regarding the problems that emerged, for example, in connection with the wartime behaviour of soldiers between 1939 and 1945.”
This is a highly questionable line of reasoning. It could excuse multiple war crimes and even make them praiseworthy insofar as they were committed by convinced national socialist soldiers for whom the command of the Führer after all was always good and unassailable and in accordance with the well-being of the Third Reich! That views like these are still [c1958] defended in all seriousness at a German university is undoubtedly remarkable and does not contribute to our peace of mind.

Extract from ‘A New Study of Aristotle’s Concept of Justice’, from “TIME, LAW, and HISTORY: Selected Essays [by Herman Dooyeweerd]: Collected Works Series B – Vol 14, Paideia Press, 2017, pp 228-233. 

The article has been translated by D.F.M. Strauss into English from the original Dutch ‘Een Nieuwe studie over het Aristotelisch begrip der gerechtigheit’Rechtsgeleerd Magazijn Themis 77 (1958). This essay is a critique of the book ‘Der Begriff der Gerechtigheit in der aristotelischen Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie’ [The concept of justice in the Aristotelian legal and political philosophy] by Peter Trude.

See also -