lundi 25 février 2019

Dooyeweerd: Horizon of Experience

Image Copyright: F. MacFhionnlaigh
The Perspective Structure
of the Horizon of Experience
by Herman Dooyeweerd

The dependence of our knowledge about the cosmos on our self-knowledge and on our knowledge of God.

(Extract from Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 2, pp 560-563)

The different levels of the a priori we have discovered in the structure of the horizon of human experience as the horizon of ‘earthly’ reality are not placed side by side in an arbitrary way. They are integrated into a perspective coherence in accordance with the Divine order of the creation. In the order among them, and in their coherence, they form the perspective in which we experience the cosmos.

All human experience, both in the pre-theoretical and in the theoretical attitudes, is rooted in the structure of the transcendent unity of self-consciousness. The latter partakes in the religious [ultimate, supratemporal] root of the creation directed to God, or, in the case of apostasy, directed away from God. This religious  [ultimate, supratemporal] horizon is the transcendent horizon of the selfhood, and encompasses the cosmic temporal horizon in which we experience the insoluble coherence and the modal [law-sphere/ aspectual] and typical refraction of meaning. The temporal horizon encompasses and determines the modal horizon both in its theoretical (analytical and synthetical) distinction and in its pre-theoretical systasis [“factual immediacy of our internal experience of reality.”].

The temporal horizon encompasses and determines also the plastic horizon of the structures of individuality, which in its turn implies the modal horizon.

From this it follows that all temporal knowledge rests on a religious [ultimate, supratemporal] or pseudo-religious foundation, and is restricted and made relative by the temporal dimensions of the horizon of experience and of reality. For this reason we are the victims of an illusion, if we hypostatize [absolutize] the structure of human knowledge, or proclaim the human cognitive apparatus self-sufficient. For the transcendent horizon of the selfhood, radiating through all human experience perspectively, has no rest in itself, but only exists in the creaturely mode of meaning, which is nothing in itself, i.e. nothing apart from its reference to the Origin.

The religious [ultimate, supratemporal] meaning of the created world binds the true knowledge of the cosmos to true self-knowledge, and the latter to the true knowledge of God. [Footnote by Dooyeweerd: This is the radical difference between the Christian view of self-knowledge as the condition of a radical critical knowledge of the world and HUSSERL's transcendental phenomenological egology. The latter makes the knowledge of God dependent on the phenomenological self-interprelation of the transcendental ego.]  

This view has been explained in an unsurpassable and pregnant way in the first chapter of the first book of CALVIN's Institutio. It is the only purely Biblical view and the alpha and omega of any truly Christian epistemology. Theoretical truth, limited and relativized by the temporal horizon, is in every respect dependent on the full super-temporal Truth. If we hypostatize [absolutize] theoretical truth, it is turned into a lie. For there does not exist a self-sufficient partial truth. We cannot truthfully know the cosmos outside of the true knowledge of God. But like all human experience in this earthly dispensation, our knowledge of God, although directed to the absolute Truth, is also restricted and relativized by (but not at all to) our temporal cosmic existence.

The restriction of our human experience of the religious [ultimate, supratemporal] fulness of meaning by time is no restriction to time. 

This means that in the Christian experience the religious 
[ultimate, supratemporal] fulness of meaning remains bound up with temporal reality. Every spiritualistic view which wants to separate self-knowledge and the knowledge of God from all that is temporal, runs counter to the Divine order of the creation. Such spiritualism inevitably leads to an internally empty idealism, or to a confused kind of mysticism, in spite of its own will or intentions.

In the order of this life - that of the life beyond is still hidden from us as to its positive nature - all human experience remains bound to a perspective horizon in which the transcendent light of eternity must force its way through time. In this horizon we become aware of the transcendent fulness of the meaning of this life only in the light of the Divine revelation refracted through the prism of time. For this reason Christ, as the fulness of God's Revelation, came into the flesh; and for this reason also the Divine Word-revelation came to us in the temporal garb of human language.

But if our experience were limited to our temporal functions of consciousness, or rather to an abstractum taken from our temporal complex of experiential functions, as is taught by the critical and the positivistic epistemologies, it would be impossible to have true knowledge of God, or of ourselves, or of the cosmos. And in the apostasy in which falsehood (and not truth) rules, we have no such knowledge. This also applies to the πρῶτον ψεῦδος [Proton Pseudos -"first lie": first false premise in a deduction] in which the entire epistemology of immanence-philosophy is founded. For it is based on the self-destructive hypostatizing [absolutizing] of the theoretical synthesis of meaning, and on a fundamental misconception of the structure of human experience. In the transcendent religious subjective a priori of the cosmic self-consciousness the whole of human cognition is directed either to the absolute Truth, or to the spirit of falsehood. In this cosmic self-consciousness we are aware of temporal cosmic reality being related to the structure of the human selfhood qua talis.

In its universally valid law-conformity this structure is essentially the structure of a religious [supratemporal] community into which the individual ego has been integrated. Any theoretical displacement of the human selfhood from this central position in experience is due to the lack of a radical philosophical self-reflexion.

But man cannot attain to true self-knowledge without true knowledge of God, which cannot be gained outside of the Divine Revelation in Christ. 

At this point, many a reader who has taken the trouble to follow our argument will perhaps turn away annoyed. He will ask: Must epistemology end in a Christian sermon or in a dogmatic statement? I can only answer by means of the question as to whether the dogmatic statement with which the supposed autonomous epistemology opens, viz. the proclamation of the self-sufficiency of the human cognitive functions, has a better claim to our confidence as far as epistemology is concerned.

Our philosophy makes bold to accept the ‘stumbling block [obstacle] of the cross of Christ’ as the corner stone of epistemology. And thus it also accepts the cross of scandal, neglect and dogmatic rejection. In the limitation and weakness of the flesh, we grasp the absolute truth in our knowledge of God derived from His revelation, in prayer and worship. This knowledge in the full sense of the word contains the religious [ultimate, supratemporal] principle and foundation of all true knowledge, and primarily has a religious enstatic ["placed within the concrete, individual reality of things and events"] character. It no more rests primarily on a theoretical meaning-synthesis than does the cosmic self-consciousness. 

The knowledge about God in which religious [ultimate, supratemporal] self-knowledge is implied, is not primarily gained in a so-called theological way. That which is very inadequately called ‘theology’, is a theoretical knowledge obtained in a synthesis of the logical function of thought and the temporal function of faith. It is a knowledge which itself is entirely dependent on the cosmonomic Idea from which the thinker starts.

The true knowledge of God and of ourselves is concerned with the horizon of human experience and therefore also with that of theoretical knowledge. It rests on our trustful acceptance of Divine revelation in the indissoluble unity of both its cosmic-immanent sense and its transcendent-religious meaning; an acceptance with our full personality and with all our heart. It means a turning of the personality, a giving of life in the full sense of the word, a restoring of the subjective perspective of our experience, enabling us to grasp reality again perspectively in the light of Truth. This does not mean a kind of mystical supernatural cognitive function, but it refers to the horizon that God made for human experience in the cosmic order created by Him. The subjective perspective has been obfuscated by sin and distorted and closed to the light of the Divine Revelation. 

True self-knowledge opens our eyes to the radical corruption of fallen man, to the radical lie which has caused his spiritual death. It therefore leads to a complete surrender to Him Who is the new root of mankind, and Who overcame death through his sufferings and death on the cross. In Christ's human nature our heavenly Father has revealed the fulness of meaning of all creation [Ephes. 1:10], and through Him according to His Divine nature, God created all things as through the Word of his power [Hebr. 1:2,3]

The primary lie obfuscating the horizon of human experience is the rebellious thought that man could do without this knowledge of God and of himself in any field of knowledge, and could find the ultimate criterion of truth in ‘autonomous’, i.e. absolutized theoretical thought.

(Extract from Herman Dooyeweerd: A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 2, pp 560-563.) 
NB: FREE PDF DOWNLOADS of this and other books by Herman Dooyeweerd are available HERE

mardi 22 janvier 2019

J. Glenn Friesen: Dooyeweerd’s Idea of Modalities: The Pivotal 1922 Article

Dooyeweerd’s Idea of Modalities: 
The Pivotal 1922 Article
Dooyeweerd says that “the first rudimental conception” of his philosophy had ripened even before he started work at the Kuyper Foundation in October 1922. He had not even studied Kuyper's works, although he would later find some similarities in Kuyper. A detailed analysis of an article written earlier in 1922 shows us how Dooyeweerd developed his philosophy. This article is “Normatieve rechtsleer. Een kritisch-methodologische onderzoeking naar Kelsen's normatieve rechtsbeschouwing.” It includes these ideas: the rejection of the autonomy of thought, the idea of intuitive beholding [schouwen], and the idea of modalities or modes of consciousness. Previous historians of reformational philosophy have not adequately researched Dooyeweerd's sources for these ideas. None of these sources are Calvinistic. Dooyeweerd used these ideas to critique neo-Kantianism. He dismantles Kant's logical categories and instead puts forward the idea of intuited modalities. And Dooyeweerd uses the scholastic idea of ‘meaning moments’ to individuate these modalities from totality.

autonomy of thought - Herman Dooyeweerd - intuitive beholding (schouwen) - Kant - modalities - meaning-moment - Emil Lask - neo-Kantianism
Download PDF (33 pages)
See J Glenn Friesen's 
Dooyeweerd Glossary

vendredi 7 décembre 2018

DOOYEWEERD: The walls of the absolutization of personal individuality have no windows.

John Tenniel illustration for Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland'
DOOYEWEERD: The walls of the absolutization of personal individuality have no windows.
"The Christian speaks with awe about the living personal God, Who in His mercy and grace has revealed His identity to fallen humanity.  But also in the communion with this God in Christ, the Christian remains within the human creaturely limits of the possibility of experience.
"Subjective individuality can never determine the structural horizon of human experience and of the cosmos."
"This horizon is a structural order, the Divine order of the creation itself. It comprises in its determining and limiting structure the individuality of human personality, its religious [core selfhood] root as well as its temporal existence. Creaturely subjective individuality cannot determine and limit itself, but is a priori determined and limited by the Divine order.
"But for its super-individual law-conformity, individual subjectivity would be an 'apeiron', a meaningless indeterminateness."
"The possibility of subjective experience would be cancelled, if the horizon of human experience were subjectively individual. The cosmic self-consciousness in which all cosmological knowledge remains founded, is not an experiential entrance into the absolutely individual horizon of some 'personal world', of a 'microcosm' (Scheler). It enters into the full, unique cosmos created by God within the temporal horizon, in the full meaning-coherence of all its modal and plastic structures. 

 "Naive [concrete] experience, the great primary datum of all epistemology, does not know anything of a cosmos as a 'personal world' supposed to be identical with countless other 'personal worlds' in an abstract, universal, merely intended [mental] essential structure alone. This is already precluded by...the plastic horizon of human experience. 

 "Human beings experience their individual existence within the temporal horizon exclusively in the one and only cosmos into which they been integrated together with all creatures. They also experience their individuality in the various structures of the temporal societal relationships.
"The individuality of human experience within the temporal horizon has a societal structure excluding any possibility of a hermetically closed 'microcosm'."
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 2: pp 592-594) [Direct DOWNLOAD of above book PDF]

vendredi 30 novembre 2018

samedi 10 novembre 2018

Herman Dooyeweerd: Free Downloads of Books now available

Free Downloads of many of Herman Dooyeweerd's books are now available.

Below are some DIRECT DOWNLOAD links...
Recommended for those new to Dooyeweerd -

Magnum opus -
A New Critique of Theoretical Thought 
4 Volumes (large files)

Volume 1 (608 pages)

Volume 2 (626 pages)

Volume 3 (820 pages)

Volume 4 (264 pages - extensive helpful index)

mardi 6 novembre 2018

Scottish independence: Norway - the twin nation

Phantom Power | Ajoutée le 5 nov. 2018
"The Norway film tells the story of Scotland’s twin nation. We have the same population, share the oil, gas and fishing resources of the North Sea and have similar geography. But over the last 200 years Norway has withdrawn from a Union with first Denmark and then Sweden and has invested its oil wealth wisely while Margaret Thatcher squandered ours. This much we already know. But did you know Norwegians have chosen to continue paying some of the highest personal taxes in the world to stabilise their oil-based economy – using the oil fund only to top up budgets not underpin them? Did you know hydro was the first big energy revolution, possible because Norway had no feudal landowners blocking the development of free energy for all? And – perhaps most importantly – did you know the widespread ownership of land in the 19th century meant Norway created one of the world’s widest electorates and therefore one of its most egalitarian parliaments? These democratic achievements underpin Norway’s success every bit as much as independence and raise hopes and tough questions about Scotland’s future. Can we hope to use renewables to match the incredible achievements of our twin nation?"

lundi 22 octobre 2018

Herman Dooyeweerd: Meaning in the Fall of Humankind

Jan Davidsz. de Heem, "Triopall le Blàthan is Measan"
Herman Dooyeweerd: 
Meaning in the Fall of Humankind
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 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 positive, guilty 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 (1). 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."

(1) In his Kirchliche Dogmatik KARL BARTH has tried to escape this consequence by deriving the positive power of sin from the 'Divine No' placed over against His 'Yes' with respect to His creative act. But this dialectical solution of the problem results in a dualistic (at the same time positive and negative) conception of creation. The Divine 'No' cannot explain the power of sin, which as such is derived from creation itself, as we have stated in Vol. I. The idea of a negative creation is destructive to the Biblical conception of the integral Origin of Heaven and earth, because it implies that sin has a power outside creation in its positive sense. Creation itself implies the Divine 'No' with respect to sin in its negative sense as 'privatio'.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol II, p 32-36)