The philosophy of the cosmonomic idea requires, as we have seen, a radical self-critique on the part of those who engage in philosophic inquiry.
By its transcendental critique of theoretic thought it leads to the discovery of a radical antithesis between the transcendental ground-Idea of a philosophy which is entirely ruled by the central motive of the Christian religion, and that of immanence-philosophy in all its various trends. This antithesis may not be bridged by any compromise and runs along a line of separation entirely different from what has hitherto been supposed.
The necessity of this radical break with the immanence-standpoint could not be understood, before our transcendental critique had laid bare the all-controlling position of the transcendental ground-Idea in respect to the inner development and direction of philosophic thought.
Genuine Christian philosophy requires a radical rejection of the supra-theoretical pre-suppositions and "axioms" of immanence-philosophy in all its forms. It has to seek its own philosophic paths, prescribed by its proper transcendental ground-Idea. It cannot permit itself to accept within its own cadre of thought problems of immanence-philosophy which originate from the dialectic ground-motives of the latter.
The basis of cooperation between Christian thought and the different trends of immanence-philosophy.
Nevertheless, this radical rupture with the starting-points and transcendental ground-Ideas of immanence-philosophy does not mean, that an intrinsically re-formed Christian philosophy should intend to break off philosophical contact with Greek, scholastic, and modern Humanistic philosophy. On the contrary, because of its radical-critical standpoint, the Christian philosophy developed in this work is enabled to enter into the most inward contact with immanence-philosophy. It will never break the community of philosophical thought with the other philosophical trends, because it has learned to make a sharp distinction between philosophical judgments and the supra-theoretic prejudices which lay the foundation of every possible philosophy. The danger of breaking this community of thought is, as we saw in an earlier context, always caused by the philosophical dogmatism, which makes its religious pre-suppositions into theoretic "axioms", and makes the acceptance of the latter the necessary condition for philosophical discussion.
Meanwhile, the question remains: On what basis can philosophical trends, differing radically in their religious ground-motive and their transcendental ground-Idea, cooperate within the framework of one and the same philosophical task? What can be the common basis for this cooperation? As regards this point we will in the first place consider a popular argument against the entire Idea of a Christian science and philosophy, an argument which could just as well be raised against the general result of our transcendental critique of theoretical thought focused in the thesis, that theoretical thought is always dependent upon a religious ground-motive.
A popular argument against the possibility of Christian science and philosophy.
The popular argument, referred to here, runs as follows: 2 x 2 = 4, no matter whether a Christian or a heathen passes this judgment.
Doubtless, this argument is a poor affair, if it should be brought up against the results of our transcendental critique of theoretic thought. Nevertheless, at the same time it draws our attention to undeniable states of affairs that must necessarily form the basis for a cooperation of the different philosophical schools and trends in the accomplishment of a common task. Let us for a moment consider these two aspects of the argument more closely.
Partial truths are not self-sufficient. Every partial truth is dependent upon truth in its totality of meaning.
The proposition 2 x 2 = 4 is not "true in itself", but only in the context of the laws of number and the logical laws of thought. This context is, as we have seen, possible only in the all-sided coherence of meaning of all modal law-spheres and supposes a totality of meaning of which both the numerical and the logical aspects are special modal refractions in cosmic time. There exists no partial truth which is sufficient to itself. Partial theoretical truth is truth only in the coherence of the theoretical truths, and this coherence in its relativity pre-supposes the fulness or the totality of truth.
Consequently, also the philosophical view of the mutual relation and coherence of the numerical and the logical aspects — and thereby of the modal meaning of number and of logical concepts — is influenced from the start by the transcendental ground-Idea of philosophical thought and by the religious groundmotive which determines its content.
The undeniable states of affairs in the structures of temporal reality.
On the other hand, however, it must of course be granted, that the judgment 2 x 2 = 4 refers to a state of affairs in the numerical relations which is independent of the subjective theoretical view and its supra-theoretical pre-suppositions. Not in the sense, however, that this "state of affairs" is a "truth in itself" and has an "absolute validity". For just like the proposition by which it is established, this "state of affairs" is dependent upon the cosmic order of time and the inter-modal coherence of meaning guaranteed by the latter. It has no meaning outside of this temporal order.
Nevertheless, it is founded in this order, and not in a theoretical view of the numerical aspect and its modal laws. Well then, this cosmic order with all temporal laws and structural states of affairs founded in it, is, indeed, the same for every thinker, no matter whether he is a Christian, a pagan or a Humanist. Structural states of affairs, as soon as they are discovered, force themselves upon everybody, and it does not make sense to deny them. It is the common task of all philosophic schools and trends to account for them in a philosophic way, that is to say in the light of a transcendental ground-Idea. They must learn from one another, even from fundamental mistakes made in the theoretical interpretations of the laws and the structural states of affairs founded in the temporal order of our cosmos. Immanence-philosophy can discover many states of affairs which had up to now been neglected in a philosophy directed by an intrinsically Christian transcendental ground-Idea, and vice versa.
In the philosophical effort to account for them in the context of a theoretical view of totality, there may be a noble competition between all philosophical trends without discrimination. We do not claim a privileged position for the Christian philosophy of the cosmonomic Idea in this respect. For even the Christian ground-motive and the content of our transcendental ground-Idea determined by it, do not give security against fundamental mistakes in the accomplishment of our philosophical task. On the contrary, for the very reason that in the Christian ground-motive the fall into sin is an essential factor, the possibility is excluded that a veritable Christian philosophy should lay claim to infallibility in the respect. The danger of ascribing infallibility to results of philosophic investigation is much greater on the immanence-standpoint, especially on the Humanistic, insofar as it seeks the ultimate standard of truth in theoretic thought itself. We shall return to this point presently in the discussion of the problem of truth.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol I, pp 114-117)