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)

vendredi 5 octobre 2018

Dooyeweerd: The Wielding of Power

David I of Scots & Malcolm IV of Scots (from 12th C charter granted to Kelso Abbey)
Dooyeweerd: The Wielding of Power
(from A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol. 1, pp 244-249)

The moulder of history sees how his ideas are realized, and how the development of civilization is affected in a quite different way from what he had subjectively desired and intended. This is what WUNDT called the heterogenesis of aims in history. In the same way the political law-maker finds the legal norms which he has enacted still imputed to his juridical will as legislator, while they gradually detach themselves entirely from his original conception and intention.

The shaper of history is only the leader, or perhaps only one of the leaders in a historical group-function (a cultural sphere, a nation, a school, etc.)

In this group-function the power of tradition in an immensely complicated system of factors — of whose full significance no single contemporary is fully aware individually — forces his formative will along the paths of historical continuity.

This is what German historical idealism used to call the 'objective Spirit' in history,—if we strip the states of affairs here intended from any speculative idealistic interpretation doubtless connected with this term.

The historical past with its condensed treasure of cultural factors permeates the present and the future in the normative continuity of cultural development. It is in no one's power to dissociate himself from this supra-individual group-tradition.

The role of great personalities in history.

With this we automatically touch upon the old controversy about the question whether after all history is 'made' by the great personalities, or if these personalities themselves are only products of a particular supra-individual historical spirit of the times.

This way of formulating the question is unacceptable. History is not 'made' by men, but shaped, formed only. Moreover, the dilemma of an individualistic or a universalistic-sociological conception of this formation of history ought to be rejected in principle, if insight is to be gained into the meaning-structure of the historical formative will.

At a primitive stage of culture, civilization seems to be immersed in the lethargy of a rigid group-tradition which the members of a primitive social group undergo in many respects as an unalterable supernatural power. But civilization has got into this state in consequence of the sinful human formative will. The guardians of the group-tradition remain responsible individual personalities. They cannot be denatured to a kind of indifferent passage-way of an unconscious group-will.

And when, at a higher cultural level, the individual genius interferes with the process of the forming of history, such an individual moulder of history is neither to be simply considered as the product of the group-mind, nor as an autarchic individual, drawing exclusively from his own genius. He is rather nurtured by the rich supra-individual tradition of the group, without which he could never be an individual shaper of cultural development whose free projects open new roads to the history of mankind.

Power as a normative historical mission in the modal meaning of history. Mastery over persons and social-psychical influence.

What is it that makes a person the former of cultural development in a particular period of history? It is not any casual historical subject that makes, or rather moulds history. For this task power over men in a particular cultural sphere is essential.

In our previous examinations it has repeatedly been stated that this historical modus of social influence is no brute natural force. Nor can it be reduced to social-psychical influence, a modal shift of meaning regularly found in the treatment of the fashionable sociological theme of 'the leader and the masses'.

In the present context it is necessary to explain in somewhat greater detail the radical modal difference of meaning between power over men in the process of cultural formation of human society and the psychical mode of influencing social human behaviour. This is the more necessary because in modern Christian ethics inspired by dialectical theology there is often noticeable a real horror of power-formation, which is considered as something essentially un-Christian. In positivistic sociology power is always regarded as a psycho-physical phenomenon, and so it is quite understandable that, according to the usual opposition of facts and norms, mastery over persons was supposed to be an entirely a-normative social relation. But since the analysis of the logical analogies in the modal structure of the historical aspect has laid bare the normative meaning of its law-sphere, it is no longer possible to accept this current view.

In addition, from the Christian standpoint this conception is hardly to be reconciled with the Divine cultural commandment mentioned in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, according to which the subjection of the earth and the mastery over it is expressly posited as a normative task of mankind. There is no explicit mention of power-formation in the social relations between men in this passage. But without the latter cultural development of mankind would be impossible. Culture is bound to human society, which, in its turn, demands cultural formation, i.e. a controlling manner of shaping the social relations between people. All human power is derived from God as the absolute Origin of every earthly mastery. JESUS CHRIST has said that all power on earth and in the Heavens was given in His hands. The horror of power-formation for the sake of the fulfilment of the Christian task in the cultural development of mankind is, consequently, un-biblical. The Church itself is historically founded in power over men by means of the organized service of the Word and the Sacraments.

Doubtless, every power given in the hands of man implies a serious risk of abuse. But this state of affairs can only accentuate its normative meaning, it can never justify the opinion that power in itself is an evil.

The positivistic sociological view that power over men can be reduced to social-psychical influence, eventually (in the case of 'sword-power' [ie State military defence]) supported by 'physical means', rests upon a fundamental misunderstanding.

Power over men has indeed a social-psychical substratum in the feeling-drive of submission to the leadership of superior figures. The latter exercise a considerable emotional influence upon their social environment. But real formative power in its original cultural sense does not function in the feeling-aspect of human experience, as little as the formative will in its historical function can be identified with the psychical aspect of volition.

Wherever real power over men manifests itself, it is always consolidated in cultural forms which transcend the psychical life of the individuals in their social interaction. This is why history can never be reduced to social psychology.

The construction of a collective soul as the psychical origin of the cultural forms of human society is nothing but a metaphysical speculation. And it is indeed surprizing that this metaphysical construction was laid at the foundation of the positivistic sociology of EMILE DURKHEIM, who at the same time emphatically denied that the social institutions can be examined in a psychological way.

Power over men, as the irreducible cultural modality of social influence, cannot be realized apart from the other modal aspects of social life, consequently, not apart from the social-psychical relations between men. But in this realization it maintains its cultural modal meaning. Its factual side remains bound to the normative cultural principle of power-formation founded in the Divine order of creation, and cannot be experienced apart from it in its original historical sense.

Historical power is not an a-normative meaning-figure, but it is the power of a normative mission in the sense of formative control. The possessor of historical power does not possess it as a kind of personal property that he has at his subjective disposal. He has a normative task and mission in the development of human civilization either to guard or to mould culture further, in subjection to the principles laid down by God in His world-order. If he thinks he can trample on these cultural principles, which are elevated above any subjective arbitrariness, he will discover his own powerlessness. Real power to form history can only unfold either in obedient, or in compulsory subjection to the Divine principles of cultural development. This important point is essential to a true insight into the intrinsic meaning of historical power, and it will be explained in the further analysis of the principles of historical development.

The glory of power has been tarnished because its normative modal meaning was lost sight of.

It ought to be completely restored in its irreplaceable value within the Divine world-order by considering its modal sense in the light of the Biblical basic motive. For it is of Divine origin and finds its religious consummation (Matt. 28:18; John 3:35) in Christ Jesus as the Incarnate Word, in Whom God's omnipotence finds its pure expression, not tainted with sin.

It has not been included in the world-order because of sin only. For God created man after His own Image as ruler and lord of the earthly world (Genesis 1:26, 28).

Through sin the power of man was turned away from its religious fulness; instantly the striving after its [ie "power's"] absolutization came into existence, the disregard for its temporal meaning-coherence, root and Origin. And in this apostate direction of the human craving for power man was reduced to relative powerlessness. The power of the kingdom of darkness revealed itself in the history of the world, — power as the citadel of Satan in its struggle with the power of the kingdom of Christ. This central theme of the Christian view of history will presently demand all our attention.

The romantic quietist conception of God's guidance in history.

With the acceptance of the human will as an essential formative factor in the historical process, and the acknowledgment of the normative meaning of power as a historical mission, our view of history is inexorably opposed to all manner of romantic quietism. Under the influence of SCHEMING and the Historical School, this quietism — which found a fertile soil in the dialectical Lutheran view of the Law in its relation to Christian freedom — has also penetrated into the conception of history propounded by FR. JULIUS STAHL.

STAHL'S view of the normative sense of historical continuity appeared to be infected by an irrationalist organological trait. What had come about by the activity of the national mind in a supposedly unconscious process, was surrounded by a special aureole of sanctity, because it was due to 'organic growth' and not to the actions of men. And STAHL thinks he can recognize in the unwritten customary law something that grew out of the 'mind of the people' as a product of 'God's guidance' (Gottes Fügung). This ought to have a higher value accorded to it than to legislation in which the human formative will is so very much in evidence.

But history is never formed without human interference, though the latter is only instrumental with regard to God's government of the world. The interlacing of normative principle and human formative will is founded in the modal meaning of history itself and in the Divine world-order in which its modal law-sphere has been given its proper place. The historical development sets Christianity an eminent, normative task, a Divine mission, viz. the laying of the historical foundation, through the power of Christ, for the realization of Christian principles in this sinful world. This conclusion can no longer be evaded since it has been shown that the historical law-sphere is really the basis in the retrocipatory direction of time for the entire normative dynamics revealing itself in the opening-process of the other normative law-spheres.

If the Christian principles of justice, morality etc. are to find acceptance in this world, then it is only possible on the historical basis of power-formation in a continuous struggle with the powers of apostasy. True, God Himself guarantees the Honour of His Name, the victory of His Kingdom over the kingdom of darkness. But He uses human instruments in this struggle. Those who in the manner of the quietists make an appeal to 'God's guidance in history', as a kind of an unconsciously operating irrational factor outside of human intervention, corrupt the meaning of this Christian motif. For the latter is a summons to activity, not to resignation.

(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol. 2, pp 244-249)