Dr. J. Glenn Friesen

Studies relating to Herman Dooyeweerd

Dooyeweerd, Spann and the Philosophy of Totality


Vollenhoven articles

Linked Glossary
List of Notes
His last article

De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee Volume I
Prism of Cosmic Time
Law and Subject

De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee Volume II
The Gegenstand
Dis-stasis/ Synthesis
Intuition and Time
Conceptual Limits
Horizon and Levels
God, Self and Cosmos

Other links

Franz von Baader
Abraham Kuyper
Frederik van Eeden


© J. Glenn Friesen 2003-2005



Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005) 2-22

Dooyeweerd, Spann, and the Philosophy of Totality

by J. Glenn Friesen

Download .pdf version of this article.

Additional hypertext links have been added to the original text.

A. Introduction

I have previously compared the philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) with the ideas of Franz von Baader (1765-1841)[1]. It is clear that Dooyeweerd obtained at least an indirect knowledge of Baader’s philosophy through the writings of Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920). Kuyper had extensive knowledge of Baader, and he refers to Baader with approval. A review of Dooyeweerd’s personal library [2] has now confirmed that he also obtained knowledge of key ideas of Baader’s philosophy through the writings of the Austrian philosopher, sociologist and economist Othmar Spann (1878-1950).

Spann helps us to situate Dooyeweerd’s philosophy within a tradition that goes back to Romanticism, to the Christian philosophy of Franz von Baader, and to the German mystics, including Meister Eckhart and Jakob Boehme. Spann was associated with what may be called “the philosophy of totality” [Die Philosophie der Ganzheit]. There were many philosophers in the early part of the 20th century who emphasized the idea of totality [3]. Some of those who influenced Dooyeweerd are Spann, Husserl, Cassirer, Nicolai Hartmann, Hans Driesch and Felix Krueger [4]. Of course these philosophers did not agree on everything. But we can discern two prominent themes in the philosophy of totality: the opposition to atomistic rationalism, and the idea of an organic relation of individuals to the whole. Nicolai Berdyaev (1874-1948) shows how both ideas are found in Baader:

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 3
The yearning of Russian religio-philosophical thought for an organic wholeness, for the surmounting of rationalist dissection is very much akin to Schelling. […] The idea of "organicity" was pre-eminently an idea from German romanticism. The Slavophils attempted to surmount abstract idealism and pass over into a concrete idealism, which perhaps could be termed realism. Yet the closer of Schelling was Fr. [Franz] Baader, a free Catholic with strong sympathies for Orthodoxy. Fr. Baader was least guilty of the rationalism, with which the Slavophils unjustly were inclined to accuse all Western thought. Vl. [Vladimir] Solov'ev was very nigh unto him, although it is impossible to ascertain a direct influence. At the beginning of the XX Century, after Kant and Schopenhauer they again began to read and to esteem Schelling and Fr. Baader and this contributed to the elaboration of the self-sustaining Russian religious philosophy, which was one of the most interesting phenomena of the spiritual renaissance. For myself I can say, that I read Fr. Baader with a greater rapport than I did Schelling, and this was for me a path towards Ja. [Jakob] Boehme, the encounter with whom was an enormous event in my intellectual and spiritual life.[5]

Berdyaev wrote this in 1935, at the same time that Dooyeweerd was publishing the first volume of his De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee. Dooyeweerd does not mention Berdyaev, although Vollenhoven makes reference to him [6].

Interest in Baader was not limited to Russia. There was a similar renaissance of interest in Baader’s philosophy in Western Europe in the 1920’s and early 30’s, when Dooyeweerd was still formulating his philosophy. And this was due in large part to Spann’s work [7]. Dooyeweerd owned many of Spann’s books, which frequently refer to Baader and which incorporate many of Baader’s key ideas [8]. From Dooyeweerd’s marginal annotations, it is clear that he read Spann’s books carefully. As we shall see, he marked in particular an important quotation from Baader.

Spann also edited an important collection of 20 volumes plus 7 supplementary volumes known as Die Herdflamme. Sammlung der Gesellschaftswissenschaftlichen Grundwerke aller Zeiten und Völker, (Jena and Vienna, 1922-1939). The collection examines writings about the social sciences throughout the

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 4

ages. It includes separate volumes on Baader, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Adam H. Müller, Eckhart, Jakob Baxa, Ancient Indian Politics, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Spann and many others.

The word ‘Herdflamme’ refers to the hearth-flame at the center of the family home. It may also refer to the Bavarian Catholic tradition of extinguishing all the hearth-fires of the village just before Easter. A new Easter candle is then lit at the church, from a flame struck from steel and stone (not sulphur). The father of the household then obtains from this candle a new hearth-flame [9]. Therefore the expression ‘Die Herdflamme’ seems to be a reference to rekindling the fire at the center of our temporal existence. Many of the writers in the Herdflamme collection emphasize totality. For example, Baxa opposes atomism and mechanism in constitutional theory; he contrasts this with unity and totality [Einheit und Ganzheit] [10].

Dooyeweerd owned some of these volumes from the Herdflamme collection. Other volumes in the Herdflamme collection, including the Baader volume, are in the library of the Free University, where Dooyeweerd would have had access to them [11].

To connect Dooyeweerd with Spann’s ideas is in some ways disconcerting, since Spann has been associated with extreme right-wing views. Spann was interested in collaboration with National Socialism, but the Nazis did not accept his ideas. At the time of the ‘Anschluss’ in 1938, Spann was arrested and removed from his post at the Vienna Law Faculty. Spann spent several months in the concentration camp at Dachau. Spann was not able to regain his post after the war [12].

As we shall see, Dooyeweerd did not agree with Spann’s more totalitarian ideas of the state. Dooyeweerd regarded institutions such as the church and the family as being directly related to the supratemporal totality, and not indirectly related via the state as an all-encompassing totality, or ‘partial-totality’ as Spann referred to it. What is interesting is that Dooyeweerd here agrees with Baader, who also believed in such a direct relationship of institutions with totality.

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 5

B. Dooyeweerd’s emphasis on totality

Totality is one of the key ideas of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy. On the second page of his “Prolegomena” to A New Critique of Theoretical Thought [13], Dooyeweerd refers to totality six times (NC I, 4). He says that the temporal coherence of the modal aspects points beyond itself to a central totality. And conversely, this totality expresses itself in the temporal aspects. Our selfhood is a totality that expresses itself in its temporal functions. And our selfhood in turn is the expression of the image of God (the Origin of totality). Later Dooyeweerd says that these three Ideas–temporal coherence, totality, and Origin–are the three transcendental Ideas that are found in the Ground-Motive for any philosophy; different philosophies give different content to these Ideas [14].

In the introductory words to his philosophy, Dooyeweerd says that all philosophy must direct our theoretical “view of totality”:

Philosophy must direct the theoretical view of totality over our cosmos and, within the limits of its possibility, answer the question, “Wie alles sich zum Ganzen webt.” (NC I, 4; WdW I, 6).

The quotation, which is not identified in the text, comes from Goethe’s Faust, Part I lines 447 to 450:

Wie alles sich zum Ganzen webt,
eins in dem andern wirkt und lebt!
Wie Himmelskräfte auf und nieder steigen
Und sich die goldnen Eimer reichen.

[How everything weaves itself into the whole,
One in the other works and lives!
How heaven’s powers climb up and down
Passing the golden pails from hand to hand.] [15]

Goethe’s reference to the whole is perhaps a Romanticist view of totality. But even here there may be a connection with Baader’s view of totality, since Goethe was aware of and praised Baader [16].

Goethe’s reference to the passing of the "golden pails" seems to refer to carrying the waters of life emanating from God, the Source (Faust Part II, lines 12,045 to 12,049). The “climbing up and down” echoes the biblical account of the angels ascending and descending on Jacob’s ladder (Gen. 28:12). In Goethe’s understanding, we have a direct connection with totality. It dwells

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 6

within temporal reality, but the reference to “heaven’s powers” suggests that it is also transcendent.

Dooyeweerd also views totality as both transcendent and yet immanent within temporal reality. Our selfhood is a subjective totality that cannot be resolved into thought, nor into a coherence of functions, but lies at the basis of the functions (NC I, 5; WdW I, 7). In this selfhood is expressed the totality of meaning of the temporal cosmos:

He has expressed His image in man by concentrating its entire temporal existence in the radical religious unity of an ego in which the totality of meaning of the temporal cosmos was to be focused upon its Origin. (NC I, 55)

Our whole temporal existence is concentrated within this religious unity of the selfhood [17]. Indeed, apart from this religious root-unity, the temporal world has no meaning and so no reality (NC I, 100; WdW I, 65). The temporal world exists only as meaning , pointing beyond itself to a totality of meaning.

We experience totality in the religious dimension of our experience. We also experience other dimensions–the temporal, modal and plastic dimensions (NC II, 560-61; WdW II, 491-92). To illustrate totality and temporality, Dooyeweerd uses the image of the prism. Totality is analogous to white light before it is refracted by a prism into many colours. In this analogy, the prism is cosmic time, which refracts the totality into the differentiated and individuated temporal reality. The unrefracted light is the time-transcending or supratemporal totality of meaning of our cosmos, both as to its law and subject sides. And just as this unrefracted light has its origin in the Source of light, so this supratemporal totality of meaning has its origin in the Arché or Origin by whom and to whom it has been created. The totality and deeper unity of meaning “must transcend its modal diversity” (NC I, 102; WdW I, 66-67).

But Dooyeweerd did not always hold this view of totality. In an early student article [18], Dooyeweerd quotes the same line from Faust–“Wie alles sich zum Ganzen webt”–in a much more critical way, in connection with what he then regarded as Plotinus’s “pantheism.” What made Dooyeweerd change his opinion, and to move from a critical view of totality to his view that every philosophy must have a view of totality? [19] One reason that he made this change seems to be due to his reading of Spann.

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 7

C. A comparison of Spann and Dooyeweerd

1. Opposition to atomistic rationalism

Like other philosophers of totality, Spann opposed the rationalistic dissection of reality into individual atomistic parts, and the mechanistic attempt to then relate those parts to each other. In Tote und lebendige Wissenschaft [Dead and living science] [20] Spann says that dead science is based on separated individuality. It is merely external and does not penetrate into our heart; dead science is mechanical and atomistic, ruled by the laws of causality. In contrast to this, a living science goes back to the source, totality; it is an inner “knowing-with,” an insightful science, and is based not on mechanical causality, but on purposeful and teleological laws. In order to understand the individual, we need “the flash of totality” [der Blitz der Ganzheit]. Totality is not the sum or heaping together of individualities. And our body and soul are also not to be viewed as a heaping together of individual pieces [21].

In his Kategorienlehre [22], Spann opposes a merely mechanical, meaningless causality of succession and simultaneity. This kind of thought assumes that only individual things exist, and that we only examine the relations between them. This way of thinking is:

–atomistic in its individuality
–mechanistic in its meaningless connections [sinnfreie Zusammenhänge] and
–mathematical in that its foundation is only signs [Merkzeichen].

As an example, he says that gravity is no longer explained by the idea of bodies seeking their place, but by a mathematical formula. The whole is dissolved into individual, independent phenomena or things, and these are again dissolved into their relations.

Dooyeweerd also opposed the individualistic atomization of our experience:

In veritable naïve experience, things are not experienced as completely separate entities. This avoids both a naturalistic and atomistic interpretation of the plastic horizon of reality. By limiting my theoretical attention to a concrete natural thing [linden tree] I am actually engaged in a theoretical abstraction (NC III, 54; WdW III, 35).

Thus, to separate an individual linden tree from out of its coherence with the rest of temporal reality demands the abstraction [23] of theoretical thought.

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 8

Dooyeweerd specifically rejects the phenomenological view that the objects of our experience are given as singular and individual objects. Dooyeweerd’s philosophy does not begin with individual “things” but with our central experience of totality.

Even towards the end of his life, Dooyeweerd continued to react against the atomization of life, and the application of a scientific [mechanical] sense of causality to non-physical aspects of experience. Roy Clouser refers to his attempt to persuade him otherwise in his letter dated June 21, 1972:

Even this sense of “cause” [the ordinary scientific sense that B follows A] is highly problematic and mysterious in the sense that it resists exact analysis. Your suggestion as to why this is so—that theoretical analysis disrupts the whole causal relation in a way analogos [sic] to that in which dissection kills a living organism—is one that I find convincing. But I am a bit at a loss as to why you are at such pains to deny that this sort of causal relation can hold between aspects. It may be a greater ‘conceptual stretch’ to conceive of a causal relation holding across aspectual boundaries than within them, but the difficulties in each case seem to me the same in kind, and only a difference of degree. It certainly does not seem to me that the one is quite clear and the other impossible, yet you certainly seem to say just that (I mean that there cannot be causal relations across aspects). [24]

Dooyeweerd’s last article [25], written in 1975, shows that he continued to reject a theoretical approach that begins with individual things and then tries to abstract from them. The aspects cannot be deduced from individuality structures, but are prior to them. He says that it is a “serious misunderstanding” to believe that the modal structures can be discovered by continued abstraction from out of concrete reality.

2. The Idea of organicism

Spann uses the analogy of an organic unity, where the different members or limbs of the temporal world are related to a central totality. In his Kategorienlehre, Spann says that the basic idea is that everything that exists, exists as a member of a whole or totality [“Alles was ist, besteht als Glied eines Ganzen”]. In contrast with the atomistic view, Spann wants to regard things as members of a totality, which contains unity, inner-ness as well as meaningfulness. Dooyeweerd also finds the fulness of meaning within totality; temporal reality is meaning that refers or points to a central totality. The central totality expresses itself in meaning; temporal meaning refers back to totality (NC I, 4; WdW I, 6).

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 9

Baader also rejected atomistic, mechanical thought [26]. He used the analogy of an organism to show the relation between the unity and multiplicity of the world. He took this analogy from the Pauline images of the relation of the head to a body with many members (for example, 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 and Ephesians 1:10, 22-23; 4:15-16). Baader says that the head is the center and the members of the body are the periphery; the members are subordinate to the head [27].

Dooyeweerd also refers to society as an organism, taking care to show that the head of this organism is our supratemporal religious root. He also refers to Paul’s metaphor of the body or organism:

In Christ, the root of the reborn creation, the transcendent fulness of individuality has been saved. The ‘corpus christianum’ in its radical religious sense is not a colourless conceptual abstraction without any individuality. Rather it is, according to the striking metaphor used by St. Paul, a religious organism in which the individuality of its members is ultimately revealed in all its fulness and splendour. Individuality, in other words, is rooted in the religious centre of our temporal world: all temporal individuality can only be an expression of the fulness of individuality inherent in this centre. However obfuscated by sin, it springs from the religious root. If the modalities of meaning are temporal refractions of the religious fulness of meaning, then the fulness of individuality must also be refracted prismatically within the modal aspects, and temporal individuality must be diversified in all the meaning-modalities. (NC II, 418; WdW II, 347-48).

There are many ideas that can be unpacked from this quotation. Not least of these is the idea of Christ as the new Root. Because humanity, the original religious root of temporal creation, had fallen, a new Root was required in Christ. In this way, the totality or fulness of meaning is saved. This totality is also the “fulness of individuality.” Temporal individuality is diversified, or differentiated from this fulness of individuality.

The point to be emphasized here is that Dooyeweerd, like other philosophers of totality, refers to an organic relation between individuals and totality (the fulness of meaning and the fulness of individuality). The difference between Dooyeweerd and many philosophers of totality is that for Dooyeweerd the totality is transcendent and supratemporal. Some other philosophers of totality find totality within temporal reality, whether in a vitalism or a psychologism or a logicism. Dooyeweerd refers to these philosophies as “immanence philosophies,” because their view of totality is wholly within time. If we do not understand the importance of totality for Dooyeweerd, we cannot understand his transcendental critique of these immanence philosophies.

3. Some other similarities with Spann

a) The prism

In his Foreword to Gesellschaftslehre, Spann refers to true knowledge in the social sciences as related to both totality and coherence, using the image of light spreading from its focal point into individuation:

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 10

“…wo das Wissen aus dem Brennpunkt der Ganzheit, aus dem über den Teilen stehenden Zusammenhange heraus auf das Einzelne Licht verbreitet.”

[…where knowledge spreads from out of the focal point of totality, out of the Coherence that stands over the parts, into the individuated light.]

As we have seen, Dooyeweerd also uses the image of a prism to show individuation from out of totality.

b) Time

Dooyeweerd says that we have a sense of time only because eternity is set in our heart [28]. In Naturphilosophie [29] Spann also says that time is to be understood only from eternity:

Der Satz, daß Zeit nur auf dem Grunde des Überzeitlichen möglich sei, lässt sich vom Wesen der Ganzheit aus vollkommen gründen. Begreift man, was es heisst, daß die Ganzheit nicht in ihrer Ausgliederung und Umgliederung untergehe, so hat man auch das Zeitlose in der Zeit ergriffen. Aber den lebendigen Eindruck ergibt jener Satz erst, wenn man sich auch klar macht, daß Ewigkeit nicht eine Verneinung der Zeit ist oder auch nicht eine endlose Dauer der Zeit. Die Zeit muss vielmehr als ein Zuwenig an Ausgliederungskraft der Ganzheit, gleichsam als eine Abschwächung, begriffen werden […] Ewigkeit ist Überzeitlichkeit, ist ungeteilte Einheit, ist Erkennen und Erleben des gesamten Ausgliederungsinhaltes, zuletzt der Welt, in einem Blicke (wie wohl Ersinkende in einem Blicke ihr ganzes Leben überschauen). Die Ewigkeit, weit entfernt, eine in das Unendliche fortgesetzte Zeit zu sein, ist vielmehr etwas wesentlich anderes: die Wurzel aller Zeit, das Eins im Vielen, das Nu in allen Augenblicken.” (Naturphilosophie, 37-38)

[The proposition, that time is only possible on the basis of the supratemporal, can be completely established from the being of totality. If you understand what it means that totality does not disappear in its articulated embodiment and organization, then you have understood the nontemporal within time. But the proposition only gives a living impression when you understand that Eternity is neither a denial of time nor the endless duration of time. Time must rather be understood as totality with too little power of articulated embodiment, like a reduction. […] Eternity is supratemporality, undivided unity. It is the knowledge and experience of the entire contents of articulation, and finally of the world, in one glance (just like a drowning person sees his whole life in one glance). Eternity is far removed from the idea of an infinitely continued time; it is much rather something essentially different: the root of all time, unity in diversity, the now in all moments.]

He opposes this view of time to a merely mechanical view of time, which is merely one thing after another. Although time itself has continuity [Stetigkeit], the contents of time are discontinuous. Time’s continuity is founded in totality. Much of what Spann says here about time is also found in Baader’s “Elementarbegriffe über die Zeit,” which was included in the Baader volume (1925) in the Herdflamme collection [30].

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 11

c) Know thyself

Dooyeweerd emphasizes the need to “know thyself”–the need for self-reflection and self-knowledge that exceeds the limits of theoretical thought and is rooted in the heart (NC I, 51, 55). Spann’s Philosophenspiegel [31] has the same emphasis. Spann even published a book with the title, Erkenne dich Selbst [32]. Like Dooyeweerd, he refers to the words at the entrance to Apollo’s temple in Delphi, gnothi seauton. These words are to be the “guiding star” of science. He says, “Der Mensch findet sich in seinem Geiste an die tiefsten Wurzeln des Weltgeschehens geknüpft.” [In his spirit, man finds himself linked to the deepest roots of what occurs in the world].

d) Restlessness of temporal creation

Dooyeweerd speaks of the restlessness of temporal reality (NC I, 11; WdW I, 13). Expanding on Augustine, Dooyeweerd says, “Inquietum est cor nostrum et mundus in corde nostro!” The Latin phrase is not translated. It means that our heart is restless, and that the world is restless in our heart! So the phrase includes the fact that the temporal world has its meaning and existence in our heart, the supratemporal center or totality. In Philosophenspiegel, Spann refers to the restlessness of temporal reality, and also refers to Augustine.

e) Things do not exist in themselves

Spann says that things do not exist for themselves. They are held, and they receive their Dasein from something larger that comprehends them; if a thing would fall out of this relation of being comprehended, it would fall into nothingness. Similarly, Dooyeweerd says that without the law the subject drops away into chaos or nothingness. By the law, the ego is determined and limited (NC I, 12; WdW I, 14).

f) Modalities

In his Kategorienlehre, Spann says that he wants to recover the inner goal of thought, and the previous idea of the World as a living and well-ordered whole. Our experience in the sciences leads back to the foundational direction of knowing [“grundlegende Richtung des Wissens”] and includes the “categories.” He lists many names for these categories:

…letzte Begriffe, letzte Aussagen, oberste Gattungen, Stammbegriffe des Verstandes, Grundverhältnisse, Grundwesenheiten, Grundweisen, Gegenstandsbestimmtheiten, Seinsweisen (modi essendi), Einteilungen des Seinden, Prädikamente, Schlüsselbegriffe. (p. 53)

[…final concepts, final propositions, highest classes, root concepts of reason, basic relations, basic essences, basic modes, certainties standing over-against, modes of being (modi essendi), divisions of beings, predicates, key concepts].

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 12

So among the names for the categories are “modes of being.” He gives a history of the teaching concerning categories in the neo-Kantians, including the Marburg school. Dooyeweerd’s own discussion of the neo-Kantians seems to owe much to Spann’s ideas.

Spann also distinguishes between an epistemological use of these categories, and an ontological use, as final statements about being. Dooyeweerd himself makes such a distinction regarding our knowledge of the aspects in his last article [Gegenstandsrelatie]. The subject-object relation is ontological, but the theoretical Gegenstand-relation in which we distinguish the aspects for the first time, is merely epistemological and not ontical.

Spann goes on to show how totality shows itself in all of the sciences [Geisteswissenschaften] including physics, chemistry, mineralogy, biology, psychology, logic, linguistics, morality, aesthetics, social sciences, jurisprudence [Rechts und Staats-lehre], and historical science (p. 105ff). He says that each mode of being [Seinsweise], according to its nature, corresponds to a fitting and unique [arteigene] fulfillment of perfection (p. 112). For example, law is through and through juridical, the organic is wholly organic, the state is through and through stately [staatlich] (p. 119).

This view of a proper [arteigene] fulfillment for each mode seems to correspond to Dooyeweerd’s idea of sphere sovereignty. Dooyeweerd recognizes the apparent similarity, at least insofar as the idea relates to communities:

Spann speaks nevertheless of “arteigene Souveranität” of the non-political communities. We shall subsequently see that this is not to be confused with sphere sovereignty in our sense (NC III, 241 fn. 1; WdW III, 175 fn. 3).

I am not able to find Dooyeweerd’s promised discussion of this point. But his criticism seems to be with respect to Spann’s view that other societies are included within the state (see below).

g) Sphere universality.

Although Spann speaks of modes as being arteigen, he also says that each mode also contains the whole. He says that each member must mirror the totality, as a microcosm of the totality, to be the totality in its own mode [“das Ganze in ihrer Weise zu sein”]. He refers to the spark that is held whole and unmediated in each member, and which is the final root and ratio of each member (Kategorienlehre, 249). Dooyeweerd also speaks of universality within each mode. He also refers to "sparks of God's glory, goodness, truth, justice and beauty" [“lichtvonken van Gods macht, goedheid, waarheid, gerechtigheid en schoonheid”] [33].

h) Orderedness within time.

Totality articulates itself within time. The modes, or determinations of being [Bestimmungsstücke] acquire a specific [arteigene] essence in that they appear in the succession of time [Reihenfolge der Zeit]. The analysis of this order is the

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 13

principal task of all wholistic [ganzheitlich] science. It is an order of prior and later [34]. Dooyeweerd also says that the modes are "arranged in the order of cosmic time, in a cosmic succession of prior and posterior” (NC II, 50; WdW II, 49). Dooyeweerd’s philosophy has as one of its tasks the analysis of this order.

i) Historical unfolding

Spann says that all historical occurrence is a mode of being [“eine Seinsweise alles geschichtlichen Geschehens ist”] (Kategorienlehre 198). But this is not to be understood as the abandonment of theory as in the historicist schools in jurisprudence (von Savigny and Puchta) or in the views of Windelband and Rickert. Spann’s criticism of von Savigny, Windelband and Rickert should be compared with the criticism that Dooyeweerd later makes of these same individuals.

3. The relation of totality to individuality

In his Gesellschaftslehre, Spann looks at several ways that totality has been related to individuality. At p. 250 he rejects the view that there is only one center and many unmediated members, such as might be represented by the following diagram:

As we shall see, this is really the model chosen by Baader and Dooyeweerd. Instead, Spann says that each totality has its order of embodiment [Ausgliederung], and that this occurs in dyadic steps, as in this diagram:

For Spann, the embodiment from out of the center therefore occurs in steps or stages, each stage comprising two subdivisions. Each stage is a “partial totality” [Teilganzheit] or “partial area” [Teilinhalte]. The first division is between the spiritual [geistlich] area of experience [Empfindung] and the area of acting [willing and doing]. In the first area of experience he lists: religion, science, art, sensation, each of which has its own specific [arteigene] area. As

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 14

examples of the acting totalities he lists the state, church, family and public corporate bodies.

At first sight, this appears to be somewhat similar to Dooyeweerd’s different dimensions of our human experience. The center is the religious dimension, which is expressed in the temporal. And Dooyeweerd does distinguish between the modes of experience and the individuality structures. But in his last article [Gegenstandsrelatie], Dooyeweerd says that the modes are prior to any individuality structures. There is an individuation from out of totality. Furthermore, if we consider what Spann calls “acting totalities,” Dooyeweerd does not see them as arranged in stages, but says that such structures are related directly to the center.

4. Dooyeweerd’s disagreement with Spann

Dooyeweerd criticizes both Spann’s view of totality, as well as his idea of “partial totalities.” The state is an example of such a partial totality. According to Dooyeweerd, Spann regards society as the total whole. The state is then the organized part of this totality, encompassing all other organized communities. It is thus a form of universalism:

Universalism is always characterized by the absolutization of one community to the highest, inclusive of all others as its parts. (NC III, 240-241; WdW III, 175).

In contrast, Dooyeweerd views each community as being directly related to the Center. Although Spann speaks of non-political communities in terms of their own proper sovereignty [arteigene Souveranität], this is not the same as sphere sovereignty. This is presumably because Spann does not relate them directly to the religious center.

Dooyeweerd says that Spann correctly opposed that kind of individualistic and atomistic view of society, which seeks to construct organized communities out of their “elementary constituents” (NC III, 240; WdW III, 174). Dooyeweerd agrees with Spann that

…on the basis of an isolated and self-enclosed individual we cannot arrive at a veritable inner coherence in a communal whole” (NC III, 246; WdW III, 182).

Dooyeweerd says that Spann’s view of totality remained a temporal view. But this seems to be an incorrect interpretation of Spann’s view of totality. Spann does not relate totality only to a temporal totality. He says that God is the absolute foundation of all temporal members (Kategorienlehre, 249). And each member must dwell within this primal Totality, one that is not yet differentiated, so that this Totality may dwell in each member in an unmediated way. Spann specifically distinguishes this from pantheism, which identifies creation and God (p. 251). We may speak of a ‘participation,’ but Spann criticizes this term since it implies that the individual thing is prior to that in which it participates (p. 394).

What Dooyeweerd seems to be objecting to is not so much Spann’s view of totality as the fact that Spann subordinates all organized societal life to the state. In other words, the objection is to Spann’s way of relating totality to

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 15

individuality. Dooyeweerd, like Baader, chooses the way that Spann rejected–the direct relation of each member to the center.

Dooyeweerd repeats his criticism of Spann in Roots of Western Culture. He says at p. 127 that the stream of Roman Catholic thought that emphasizes the whole-part relation was greatly influenced by Othmar Spann, who called his system “universalism” [Ganzheitslehre or Allheitslehre]:

…the point of departure for his view is the community, not the individual. According to him, whatever is individual or singular can exist only as an expression of the whole, which is realized through its parts in this way. While it is true that from his vantage point the whole exists only in its members and has no existence apart from them, the whole does exist before its members. Lying at the basis of its parts, it does not cease to exist when its individual members perish. Thus the whole is “all in all”; everything is in the whole and the whole is in everything. For Spann the individuals and the lower communities of the “realm of nature” are part and parcel of the state, just as the state itself is part of the “community of nations.” [35]

Dooyeweerd says that this universalistic thought pattern

…led to a dangerous community ideology which no longer recognized the essential import of human rights nor the inner nature of civil private law. The Historical School advocated the false notion that civil law is really folk law [Volksrecht] and thus paved the way for national socialism with its Volk ideology (p. 187).

In fact, it appears that one reason Dooyeweerd published De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee at the time that he did (1935-36) was to counteract these totalitarian ideas of society. This is evidenced in Vollenhoven’s response in 1937 to the inquiry by the theological faculty at the Free University, initiated by Valentijn Hepp’s complaints about the Philosophy of the Law-Idea:

…de reeds lang merkbare maar nog vrij plotseling in breeden kring naar voren tredende wending van individualisme, idealisme, democratie en independentisme naar universalisme, irrationalisme, aristocratische politiek en hierarchische neiging. Zij vooral maakte een spoedige en populaire voorlichting noodzakelijk [36].

[…the already long observable turning that became rather suddenly evident in a wider circle, a turning from individualism, idealism, democracy and independence towards universalism, irrationalism, aristocratic politics and hierarchical tendencies. They especially made necessary a speedy and popular enlightenment.]

So Vollenhoven sided with Dooyeweerd in opposing views of society that subordinated all organized societal forms to the state. But Vollenhoven did not side with Dooyeweerd in the idea of a totality that goes beyond time. Vollenhoven specifically rejected the idea of the restlessness of the temporal world [37].

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 16

Vollenhoven says in the same article that he is opposed to Dooyeweerd’s ideas of “the selfhood.” And Vollenhoven admits that he was influenced by A. Janse in turning away from any view of the selfhood that transcended time. Janse specifically opposed any idea of totality beyond time, and saw it as emphasizing a mystical secret hidden “essence” of a thing [38]. By understanding Dooyeweerd’s emphasis on totality, we can better understand the differences between his philosophy and that of Vollenhoven.

5. Theodor Litt and the neo-Kantians [39]

As we have seen, Dooyeweerd criticized Spann for placing totality within the temporal. Dooyeweerd’s personal library included Individuum und Gemeinschaft by Theodor Litt (1880-1962). Dooyeweerd refers to this book as “remarkable” [‘merkwaardig’] (NC III, 248; WdW III, 184). Litt was a neo-Kantian, and Dooyeweerd himself says that he was initially much under the influence of neo-Kantians (NC I, v; WdW I, v). But what has not been appreciated is that Litt was also a philosopher of totality, and that Litt refers to both Spann and to Baader.

Litt says that totality is to be found in the selfhood, and not in any absolutized functions. Litt says that the basic error of both individualism and universalism is that they absolutize one of the aspects of the spiritual world. They hypostatize either the individual experiencing ego, as a spiritual centre, or the sphere of objective social meaning [Sinn], through which the ego, in its intentional psychical acts, lives in a communal bond with other egos. Litt says that sociology must investigate the spiritual world in which our I-ness lives. Sociology may not first dissect spiritual reality into isolated elements and then seek to discover the coherence between them. Rather it must start with totality, the coherence of spiritual reality, necessary for the understanding of the relative proper significance of these ‘moments.’

On page 290, Litt says, in a passage marked by Dooyeweerd in the margin,

Auch bei ihm [Spann] lesen wir daß Menschen geistig im strengsten Sinne des Wortes miteinander nicht als mit einzelnen, sondern nur mittelbar, nur durch die Ganzheit hindurch verkehren, und beifällig wird ein Satz Baaders zitiert, nach welchem die Vereinung mehrerer Gemüter nur als Wirksamkeit eines und desselben, allen diesen Gemütern zugleich inwohnenden zentralen Wesens begriffen werden kann.

[Also in his [Spann’s] work we read that “spiritually”–and in the strongest sense of this word–humans communicate with each other not as with individuals, but rather only mediately, only by means of and through the Totality. And he [Spann] here approvingly cites a statement by Baader, according to which the union of several souls [minds, hearts, Gemüter] can only take place by the agency of one and the same central Being that dwells within all of these souls at the same time]

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 17

Litt’s footnote refers to Spann’s Gesellschaftslehre. Dooyeweerd notes in the margin that the reference should be corrected to correspond to his own copy of Spann’s Gesellschaftslehre, the third edition from 1930. Dooyeweerd’s copy of Spann’s book shows his marking of the same passage.

This careful cross-referencing shows a high degree of attention by Dooyeweerd to this passage, which refers to Baader’s idea of the agency or efficacy of one and the same central Being that dwells within all individual souls [Gemüter]. The cross-referenced quotation says that we relate to each other not as individuals, but mediately through totality [Ganzheit]. The mediation is from an individual to the Center and then to another individual.

Spann gives the source of this quotation as Grundzügen der Sozietätsphilosophie Baaders [40]. The actual article by Baader is entitled, “Intellectuelle Grundlage des Rechts, des Staates und der Gesellschaft” [Intellectual foundation of law, the state and society]. The title would have been of interest to Dooyeweerd, and, given his careful cross-referencing of the quotation, he may well have consulted it. Baader’s article begins by citing Romans 13:10: that Love is the fulfilling of the law.

The full quotation from Baader’s article is:

Wer seinen Bruder nicht liebt, ist (im Herzen) schon ein Todtschläger. Aber diese praktische Menschenleugnung fällt mit praktischer Gottesleugnung zusammen. Das Band der Liebe und Vereinung, welches mehrere Gemüther als Glieder eines und desselben Gemeinwesens frei, weil von innen heraus, verbindet, kann nur als Wirksamkeit eines und desselben allen diesen Gemüthern zugleich inwohnenden centralen Wesens begriffen werden, dem sie alle von Rechtswegen sich unterworfen haben.

[Whoever does not love his brother is (in his heart) already a murderer. But in practice, this renouncing of other humans coincides with the practical denial of God. The relation of love and unity, which voluntarily (because from within outwards) binds several souls as members of one and the same common being, can only be understood as the action of a central Being dwelling within all these souls at the same time, to whom they have all rightly under law subjected themselves.]

The full quotation therefore includes the idea of subjected-ness to God. This is of course a central idea in Dooyeweerd’s philosophy. Baader goes on to say that the one who does not so subject himself wants to make himself the center. Baader says that this is the concept of autonomy or sovereignty of man.

Dooyeweerd also sees love of neighbour as related to the love of God’s image as expressed in our neighbour:

In its religious fulness of meaning the love of our neighbour is nothing but the love of God in His image, expressed in ourselves as well as in our fellow-men. This is why Christ said that the second commandment is equal to the first. One can also say that it is implied in it. (NC II, 155).

The quotation from Baader also refers to the indwelling of love. His idea that love is what relates everything in the center, is also found in Dooyeweerd’s view

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 18

of love as the central command, where all other laws coincide (NC I, 106; II, 155; WdW I, 71; Twilight 123). Baader says that the lack of love leads to polar opposites. Love is the organic and organizing; hate is the disorganizing, anorganic Principle. This quotation is later referred to by Jakob Baxa in another of the Herdflamme collection, where Baxa says that Baader views Love as the basic law for society, which presents itself as God’s central indwelling in the various organs of a community [41].

Another significant idea expressed by Baader is the distinction of church and state:

Denn die Kirche ist nur dann wahrhaft frei, wenn sie weltlich weder regiert noch regiert wird.

[For the Church is then only truly free, when in the world it neither rules nor is ruled.]

That is a different view than Spann’s view of subordination to the state.

D. The transmission of Baader’s philosophy

1. Spann’s references to Baader

Spann makes many references to Baader. Even where Spann does not specifically cite Baader, many of his ideas are derived from Baader. In Volkswirtschaftslehre (pp. ix-x), Spann says that to overcome the materialistic views of science deriving from the Enlightenment, we do not need to fight any new battles, but only to appropriate what has been won for us by philosophers from Adam Müller to G.H. Thünen and Friedrich List, from Kant to Schelling, Hegel und Baader. And in Kategorienlehre, Spann says that Kant’s apriorism, Fichte’s first Wissenschaftslehre and the early romantics all showed traits of subjectivism and rationalism. The late teaching of Fichte and of Schelling, and the teachings of Baader, allowed us to free ourselves from this (p. 10).

2. The Herdflamme volume on Baader

The Herdflamme collection includes a special volume on Baader entitled Franz von Baaders Schriften zur Gesellschaftsphilosophie [42] . The series as a whole was edited by Spann, but this specific volume was edited by Johann Sauter. The book is over 900 pages, and includes many of Baader’s writings on social philosophy. It also includes some philosophical works, including Baader’s work on time, “Elementarbegriffe über die Zeit.” I believe that many of Dooyeweerd’s ideas on time are derived from that article. Dooyeweerd later said that the idea of cosmic time constitutes the basis for his philosophical theory of reality (NC I, 28; not in the WdW). In a lengthy summary, Sauter provides a

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 19

good introduction to Baader’s ideas. His summary has many striking similarities to ideas that Dooyeweerd developed in his philosophy. It refers to the need to reform the special sciences, the subjection to law, the difference of this subjected-ness from the idea of autonomy, the idea of center and periphery, religious dialectic and antinomy, the idea of meaning as necessarily related inwards to the center, a nondual idea of being as a “Vieleins und ein Einsvieles” and the intuitive thought of our heart. A full comparison of these and other ideas must be left to a future article. Already on the first page of his summary, Sauter includes a diagram of the center relating directly to points on the periphery. He says that Baader calls this “the organic diagram par excellence.” The points a, b, and c radiate outwards from the center, ‘A.’

Baader’s conception is like the one rejected by Spann, where points on the periphery are directly related to the central totality. Baader gives a similar diagram in his article “Elementarbegriffe über die Zeit”:

That which has become central in its essence [Wesenheit] can change its action in the periphery, or move in the periphery without having to move from “a” to “e” by going through “b. Instead, it sublates its action “a” in an unmediated way from its resting center “c” and then sets it out in an equally unmediated way directly to “e.”

As we have seen, Dooyeweerd carefully read his copy of Spann’s Gesellschaftslehre. In that book, Spann specifically refers to the Herdflamme collection. We know that Dooyeweerd owned some volumes from this series. In view of the importance given by Dooyeweerd to Spann’s Gesellschaftslehre, it is very likely that he would have looked at other volumes in the same Herdflamme collection. We know that Dooyeweerd read Gesellschaftslehre before 1935, since he refers to it [WdW III, 173 fn. 1]. And by his cross-referencing of the quotation from Baader in Litt and Spann, we know that Dooyeweerd was interested

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 20

in Baader. There is therefore every reason to believe that he would have looked at the Herdflamme volume on Baader.

Another reason for supposing that Dooyeweerd looked at the Baader volume is that it was known to Vollenhoven. In his article on Baader in Oosthoeks Encyclopedia, Vollenhoven says that Baader’s organic universalism was a precursor of Spann [43]. Vollenhoven refers to Baader’s Collected Works [Werke] as well as Sauter’s 1925 edition of Baader’s Gesellschaftsphilosophie [44]. Vollenhoven initially placed Baader and Spann in the same category in his problem-historical method, as shown in his Schematische Kaarten. Later this was changed, when Vollenhoven came up with the category of semi-mysticism, and Vollenhoven categorized Baader in that way. “Semi-mysticism” was also the category in which he placed Dooyeweerd [45].

E. Conclusion

A reading of the works of Othmar Spann helps to situate Dooyeweerd’s philosophy in the “Philosophie der Ganzheit,” or philosophy of totality. Spann’s writings, and the Herdflamme collection that he edited can help to show us how Baader’s philosophy was transmitted to Dooyeweerd.

Spann’s emphasis on totality is in contrast to the atomism and mechanical causation assumed by rationalistic science. Instead, a new organic view of the sciences is proposed, with each of the sciences relating to a central totality. Dooyeweerd was also opposed to atomistic views of science. His philosophy begins with the Idea of totality, and not with individual “things.” This has implications for reformational philosophy, which often begins with things and then attempts to abstract from them. But Dooyeweerd opposed the view that we abstract the aspects from individual things. The aspects have an ontological priority. A view of science that begins with totality will also emphasize the anticipation of the future, and the flash [Blitz] of intuition and creativity.

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 21

Dooyeweerd’s opposition to individualism also has theological consequences. He says that creation, fall and redemption are all to be understood as occurring in the religious root [46]. Thus, these doctrines are not to be conceived of individualistically or even communally in a temporal sense. Dooyeweerd also opposed an individualistic understanding of the covenant [47]. Dooyeweerd cites with approval Kuyper’s statement, “Individuals do not exist in themselves; there only exist membra corporis generis humani.” [48]

Dooyeweerd’s view of totality is therefore opposed to individualism. But he also opposed universalism, which he understood as taking one part of temporal reality and then subordinating other parts of reality to it. Our ego is temporally individual. But our selfhood points beyond the individual ego to a supra-individual fulness: “The central and radical unity of our existence is at the same time individual and supra-individual.” The whole of mankind is “spiritually one in root” (NC I, 60). Thus, the religious root is not to be understood as a reference to some particular temporal community. It is the “spiritual community of mankind.” We should not hypostatize any temporal communal relationship. The full sense of the religious selfhood is not to be found in the temporal horizon of our cosmos (NC III 246-47; WdW III, 181-182) [49].

As we have seen, Dooyeweerd opposed Spann’s totalitarian subordination of other societal relationships to the state. Dooyeweerd claims sphere sovereignty for social institutions like the state, church and family, whereby these institutions are not subordinated to each other. Such sphere sovereignty is related to the ideas of the mutual irreducibility and unbreakable reciprocal meaning-coherence of the modal aspects. In his last article [Gegenstandsrelatie], Dooyeweerd says that these ideas are not to be separated from the transcendental idea of the root-unity of the modal aspects in the religious center of human existence. This radical unity of the meaning of totality becomes immediately evident to us in the act of self-reflection (NC I, 15, WdW I, 19). Thus, our experience of the root-unity is not mediated by any institution (even the church). Instead, we have a direct relationship to totality. In this emphasis on a direct relationship, Dooyeweerd followed Baader (and Kuyper, who was also influenced by Baader). Kuyper says that the direct and immediate communion of our inner self with God is “the heart and kernel of the Calvinistic confession of predestination.” [50]

Philosophia Reformata 70 (2005), page 22

Dooyeweerd also opposed any temporal totality, including Vollenhoven’s idea of a pre-functional unity (NC I, 31-33, fn. 1). On the other hand, Vollenhoven opposed Dooyeweerd’s idea of supratemporal totality as being too mystical. Understanding Dooyeweerd’s emphasis on totality can help us to understand his differences with Vollenhoven.

Finally, Dooyeweerd’s emphasis on totality, and our immediate relation to totality, is a direct challenge to those directions of postmodernism that deny any totality, even a temporal totality.



[1]The Mystical Dooyeweerd: The Relation of his Thought to Franz von Baader,” Ars Disputandi 3 (2003) [http://www.arsdisputandi.org/publish/articles/000088/index.html].
The Mystical Dooyeweerd Once Again: Kuyper’s Use of Franz von Baader,” Ars Disputandi 3 (2003) [http://www.arsdisputandi.org/publish/articles/000130/index.html].

[2] Part of Dooyeweerd’s personal library is now held in the archives at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto. I am grateful for Michael DeMoor’s assistance in locating some of the references to Othmar Spann in these books. Most of Dooyeweerd’s personal library was donated by Dooyeweerd’s estate to the Free University of Amsterdam. The database of the Free University library shows only a few books as coming from Dooyeweerd’s collection, but there is a long list of such books in the Dooyeweerd Archives maintained by The Historical Documentation Centre for Dutch Protestantism [‘the Dooyeweerd Archives’].

[3] Roland Müller has an interesting website listing many philosophers of totality: [http://www.muellerscience.com/SPEZIALITAETEN/Ganzheit/Lit.Ganzheit(1832-1989).htm]. And K.A. Bril has referred me to Theo Hermann’s article “Ganzheit” in Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, ed. J. Ritter, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1974).

[4] Dooyeweerd’s brother-in-law D.H.Th. Vollenhoven studied in Leipzig under Felix Krueger (1874-1948) for a period of five months in 1920. Krueger was the successor at Leipzig to Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), who had founded the first experimental psychological laboratory. Vollenhoven had also written an article on the neo-vitalist Hans Driesch (1867-1941), who was also at Leipzig. Driesch was for a time the President of the Society for Psychical Research. Driesch makes specific reference to Baader. Dooyeweerd owned several books by both Driesch and Krueger.

[5] Nicolai Berdyaev: “The Russian Spiritual Renaissance of Beginning XX Century and the Journal Put,” (Journal Put, Oct./Dec. 1935, No. 49, p. 3-22). Online at [http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/rsr.htm].

[6] See D.H.Th. Vollenhoven: Schematische Kaarten, ed. K.A. Bril and P.J. Boonstra, (Amstelveen: De Zaak Haes, 2000), 78 [‘Schematische Kaarten’]. See also Vollenhoven’s encyclopedia entry, “Berdjajef,” Oosthoeks Encyclopedie 5th ed., Vol. 2, (1959), 225. I am indebted to K.A. Bril for references to Oosthoeks Encyclopedie.

[7] Max Pulver had earlier edited a selection of Baader’s works, Schriften Franz von Baaders, (Leipzig: Insel, 1921).

[8] Dooyeweerd’s books now in the library of the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto:
Fundament der Volkswirtschaftslehre, 3rd ed., (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1923, first published 1918) [‘Volkswirtschaftslehre’]; Gesellschaftslehre, 3rd ed., (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1930, first published 1914) [‘Gesellschaftslehre’]; Der wahre Staat: Vorlesungen über Abbruch und Neubau der Gesellschaft, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1931).

Dooyeweerd’s books now in the library of the Free University, Amsterdam:
Tote und lebendige Wissenschaft, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1921); Geschichtsphilosophie, (Jena: Fischer, 1932); Naturphilosophie, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1937) [a supplementary volume in the Herdflamme collection].
Dooyeweerd also owned Jakob Baxa’s Einführung in die romantische Staatswissenschaft, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1931) [a supplementary volume in the Herdflamme collection].

[9] See the discussion from Jos. Schauberg’s 1861 work on symbolism, online at [http://www.internetloge.de/symhandb/symb27.htm].

[10]Jakob Baxa: op. cit., 251.

[11] Dooyeweerd began teaching at the Free University in 1926. Before that, he was employed by the Kuyper Institute [Kuyperstichting] in The Hague. I have not been able to determine whether the Herdflamme collection was also available there. But the subject matter was certainly something that would have been of interest to Dooyeweerd while at the Kuyperstichting.

[12] See Anthony Carty: “Alfred Verdross and Othmar Spann: German Romantic Nationalism, National Socialism and International Law,” European Journal of International Law, Vol. 6 (1995) No. 1 [http://www.ejil.org/journal/Vol6/No1/art6.html]. And see Franco Volpi (ed.), Grosses Werklexikon der Philosophie, Vol. 2, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft; Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner, 1999), 1414. I am indebted to K.A. Bril for this reference to Volpi.

[13] Herman Dooyeweerd: A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1969; first published 1953) [‘NC’]. This work is an English translation and revision of Dooyeweerd’s De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, (Amsterdam: H.J. Paris, 1935) [‘WdW’].

[14] Dooyeweerd makes it clear that he does not understand these Ideas in a merely regulative sense (NC I, 89). The temporal coherence refers to a totality, and this totality refers to God as Origin (NC I, 4; WdW I, 6).

[15] Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust, tr. Walter Kaufmann, (Doubleday, 1961).
[16] In a letter to F. Schiller of August, 1800, Goethe expresses his pleasure in reading Baader’s work Über das pythagoräische Quadrat. Peter Koslowski: Philosophien der Offenbarung. Antiker Gnostizismus, Franz von Baader, Schelling, (Vienna: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2001), 277 fn. 2.

[17] Elsewhere, Dooyeweerd makes clear that it is not only our “personal” temporal existence that is so concentrated. The whole of temporal reality is concentrated in this religious root or totality. That is why the temporal world fell along with the fall of humanity (NC I, 100; WdW I, 65). Creation, fall and redemption all occur in this religious root. Herman Dooyeweerd: In the Twilight of Western Thought. Studies in the Pretended Autonomy of Theoretical Thought, (Nutley, N.J.: The Craig Press, 1968, first published 1961), 124 [‘Twilight’].

[18]De neo-mystiek en Frederik van Eeden,” (Almanak van het studenten corps van de Vrije Universiteit, 1915). See my translation and discussion of this article on my website [http://www.members.shaw.ca/jgfriesen/Mainheadings/Neo-mystiek.html].

[19] Baader also says that the seeking of totality is left to philosophy (Sämtliche Werke V, 224, 254) [‘Werke’].

[20] Spann: op. cit., 4-5. Dooyeweerd owned a copy of this book.

[21] Cf. Baader: Just as the sum of all creation does not constitute a creator, as the pantheist thinks, so the Center is more than the sum of the periphery. Über die Begründung der Ethik durch die Physik und andere Schriften, (Stuttgart: Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 1969), 63 fn. 7. [‘Begründung’]

[22] Othmar Spann: Kategorienlehre, 2nd ed., (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1939; first published 1923; Herdflamme Supplement), Foreword to the first edition, x. [‘Kategorienlehre’]

[23] Dooyeweerd is not using the word ‘abstraction’ in the sense of abstracting universals or kinds of properties or laws from things. Dooyeweerd’s philosophy does not begin with the individual thing, but with totality. Beginning with totality, he then needs to explain the “individuation” of things from out of totality. For us to focus on an individual thing demands an abstraction in the sense of the epoché, a temporary suspension of or refraining from the continuity of cosmic time (NC II, 468 fn. 1; WdW II, 402 fn. 1).

[24] Letter from Roy Clouser to Dooyeweerd dated June 21, 1972, in the Dooyeweerd Archives. The same letter refers to Dooyeweerd’s objection to referring to the aspects as “kinds of properties and laws” instead of “modes of experience.”

[25] Herman Dooyeweerd: “De Kentheoretische Gegenstandsrelatie en de Logische Subject-Objectrelatie,” Philosophia Reformata 40 (1975) 83-101. [‘Gegenstandsrelatie’]. See my translation and discussion online at [http://www.members.shaw.ca/jgfriesen/

[26] See for example Begründung 92, fn. 4.

[27] Werke IV, 232; V, 372; VIII, 111, 162.

[28] Herman Dooyeweerd: “Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën,” Philosophia Reformata 1 (1936) 65-83, 4 (1939), 1-28. The reference comes from the 1939 installment of the article.

[29]Dooyeweerd owned a copy of this book. Although it was published in 1937, after the WdW, this was before the NC, where Dooyeweerd added so much relating to cosmic time.

[30] Franz von Baader: “Elementarbegriffe über die Zeit,” (1831). See my translation online [http://www.members.shaw.ca/baader/Elementar.html].

[31] Othmar Spann: Philosophenspiegel, (Leipzig: Verlag Quelle & Meyer, 1933) [‘Philosophenspiegel’].

[32] Othmar Spann: Erkenne dich Selbst, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1935; Herdflamme Supplementary volume 6).

[33] Herman Dooyeweerd: Vernieuwing en Bezinning, (Zutphen: Van den Brink, 1959), 36 [‘Vernieuwing’].

[34] Kategorienlehre, 125, 161, 197.

[35] Herman Dooyeweerd: Roots of Western Culture, (Toronto: Wedge, 1979), 127 [Roots].

[36] Letter from D.H.Th. Vollenhoven dated Oct. 15, 1937 (In the Dooyeweerd Archives).

[37] D.H.Th. Vollenhoven: “De Problemen Rondom de Tijd,” in A. Tol and K.A. Bril (eds.), Vollenhoven als Wijsgeer, (Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperheijn, 1992), 160-198. Online at [http://home.wxs.nl/~srw/nwe/vollenhoven/63b.htm]. Translation online at [http://www.members.shaw.ca/hermandooyeweerd/Problemen.html].

[38] A. Janse: Van Idolen en Schepselen, (Kampen: Kok, 1938), 20-21.

[39] A portion of this section was included previously in my article, “De sleutel der kennis: Herman Dooyeweeerd en Franz von Baader,” Beweging 68, Nr. 3 (2004).

[40] Franz von Baader: Grundzüge der Societätsphilosophie: Ideen über Recht, Staat, Gesellschaft und Kirche, ed. Franz Hoffmann (Würzburg, 1865).

[41] Jakob Baxa: op. cit. Dooyeweerd owned a copy of this book.

[42] Franz von Baaders Schriften zur Gesellschaftsphilosophie, ed. Joh. Sauter, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1925).

[43] Encyclopedia entry for “Baader” in Oosthoeks Encyclopedie, 5th ed., Vol. 1 (1959). Vollenhoven says that Baader carried strong traces from Eckhart, Paracelsus and Böhme with respect to the relation between faith and knowledge. Human knowledge for Baader is always a ‘knowing-with’ (conscientia), that is, a knowledge with consciousness of God who penetrates human knowledge. He mentions that Baader rejected Kant’s autonomous morality in favour of a teaching of morality that saw its true goal as the realization of divine life in the human selfhood.

[44] Vollenhoven also refers to David Baumgardt: Franz von Baader und die philosophische Romantik (Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1927).

[45] Whether or not Vollenhoven’s problem-historical method can adequately describe Baader and Dooyeweerd is an issue that must be left to a future article. The point made here is that he categorizes both philosophers in the same way. In any event, some revision is required to his use of the term ‘semi-mysticism.’ Vollenhoven uses the term to describe the later Aristotle’s philosophy. But a recent book by A.P. Bos, De ziel en haar voertuig. Aristoteles’ psychologie geherinterpreteerd en de eenheid van zijn oeuvre gedemonstreerd, (Leende: Damon, 1999) questions any division between an early and a later Aristotle. See also A.P. Bos, The soul and its instrumental body. A reinterpretation of Aristotle’s philosophy of living nature, (Leiden, 2003). And see K.A. Bril’s discussion of Aristotle and of semi-mysticism in Schematische Kaarten, 73 fn. 2, and 385-388.

[46] NC I, 60 and Twilight 124.

[47] NC III, 247 fn. 3; WdW III, 183, fn. 3.

[48] NC III, 247-48, fn. 4; WdW III, 183, fn. 4.

[49] J.D. Dengerink fails to appreciate Dooyeweerd’s emphasis on totality when he argues that the Archimedean point cannot be man in his religious unity, since that would require as many centers or concentration points as there are individuals on earth. J.D. Dengerink: “Mens, Kosmos, Tijdelijkheid, Eeuwigheid,” Philosophia Reformata 54 (1989), 84. Dengerink fails to see that the religious root is undifferentiated. All temporal individuality is only an expression of the fulness of individuality (NC II, 418; WdW II, 348). God’s common grace is shown to his fallen creation “as a still undivided totality” [“als nog ongescheiden geheel”] (Roots 39, Vernieuwing 38).

[50] Abraham Kuyper: “Calvinism as a Life System,” Lectures on Calvinism: The Stone Lectures of 1898, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 21. Online at [http://www.kuyper.org/main/publish/books_essays/article_17.shtml].


Baader, Franz von: Sämtliche Werke, ed. Franz Hoffmann, (Leipzig, 1851-1860) [‘Werke’].

Baader, Franz von: Franz von Baaders Schriften zur Gesellschaftsphilosophie, ed. Joh. Sauter, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1925).

Baader, Franz von: Über die Begründung der Ethik durch die Physik und andere Schriften, (Stuttgart: Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 1969, originally published 1813) [‘Begründung’].

Baader, Franz von: “Elementarbegriffe über die Zeit,” (1831). See my translation online [http://www.members.shaw.ca/baader/Elementar.html].

Baader, Franz von: Grundzüge der Societätsphilosophie: Ideen über Recht, Staat, Gesellschaft und Kirche, ed. Franz Hoffmann, (Würzburg, 1865).

Baumgardt, David: Franz von Baader und die philosophische Romantik, (Halle: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1927).

Baxa, Jakob: Einführung in die romantische Staatswissenschaft, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1931). Supplementary volume to the Herdflamme collection.

Berdyaev, Nicolai: “The Russian Spiritual Renaissance of Beginning XX Century and the Journal Put,” (Journal Put, Oct./Dec. 1935, No. 49, p. 3-22). Online at [http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Sui-Generis/Berdyaev/essays/rsr.htm].

Bos, A.P.: De ziel en haar voertuig. Aristoteles’ psychologie geherinterpreteerd en de eenheid van zijn oeuvre gedemonstreerd, (Leende: Damon, 1999).

Bos, A.P.: The soul and its instrumental body. A reinterpretation of Aristotle’s philosophy of living nature, (Leiden, 2003).

Carty, Anthony: “Alfred Verdross and Othmar Spann: German Romantic Nationalism, National Socialism and International Law,” European Journal of International Law, Vol. 6 (1995) No. 1. [http://www.ejil.org/journal/Vol6/No1/art6.html].

Dengerink, J.D: “Mens, Kosmos, Tijdelijkheid, Eeuwigheid,” 54 Philosophia Reformata (1989), 83-102.

Dooyeweerd, Herman: “De neo-mystiek en Frederik van Eeden,” (Almanak van het studenten corps van de Vrije Universiteit, 1915). Translation and discussion online [http://www.members.shaw.ca/jgfriesen/Mainheadings/Neo-mystiek.html].

Dooyeweerd, Herman: De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, (Amsterdam: H.J. Paris, 1935-36) [‘WdW’].

Dooyeweerd, Herman: “Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën,” Philosophia Reformata 1 (1936) 65-83, 4 (1939), 1-28.

Dooyeweerd, Herman: A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1997; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1969; first published 1953) [‘NC’].

Dooyeweerd, Herman: Vernieuwing en Bezinning, (Zutphen: Van den Brink, 1959) [‘Vernieuwing’], partially translated as Roots of Western Culture, (Toronto: Wedge, 1979) [‘Roots’].

Dooyeweerd, Herman: In the Twilight of Western Thought. Studies in the Pretended Autonomy of Philosophical Thought, (Nutley, N.J.: The Craig Press, 1968, first published 1961) [‘Twilight’].

Dooyeweerd, Herman: “De Kentheoretische Gegenstandsrelatie en de Logische Subject-Objectrelatie,” Philosophia Reformata 40 (1975) 83-101. [‘Gegenstandsrelatie’] Translation and discussion online: [http://www.members.shaw.ca/jgfriesen/

Friesen, J. Glenn: “The Mystical Dooyeweerd: The Relation of his Thought to Franz von Baader,” Ars Disputandi 3 (2003) ,

Friesen, J. Glenn: “The Mystical Dooyeweerd Once Again: Kuyper’s Use of Franz von Baader,” Ars Disputandi 3 (2003), [http://www.arsdisputandi.org/publish/articles/000130/index.html].

Friesen, J. Glenn: “Studies Relating to Herman Dooyeweerd,” [http://www.members.shaw.ca/jgfriesen/ Mainheadings/Dooyeweerd.html].

Friesen, J. Glenn: “De sleutel der kennis: Herman Dooyeweeerd en Franz von Baader,” Beweging 68, Nr. 3 (2004).

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von: Faust, tr. Walter Kaufmann, (Doubleday, 1961).

Hermann, Theo: “Ganzheit” in Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, ed. J. Ritter (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buschgesellschaft, 1974).

Janse, A.: Van Idolen en Schepselen, (Kampen: Kok, 1938).

Koslowski, Peter: Philosophien der Offenbarung. Antiker Gnostizismus, Franz von Baader, Schelling, (Vienna: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2001).

Kuyper, Abraham: “Calvinism as a Life System,” Lectures on Calvinism: The Stone Lectures of 1898, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 21. Online version at [http://www.kuyper.org/main/publish/books_essays/article_17.shtml].

Litt, Theodor: Individuum und Gemeinschaft: Grundlegung der Kulturphilosophie, 3rd ed., (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1926, first published 1919).

Müller, Roland: “Philosophen der Ganzheit,” [http://www.muellerscience.com/SPEZIALITAETEN/Ganzheit/Lit.Ganzheit(1832-1989).htm].

Pulver, Max: Schriften Franz von Baaders, (Leipzig: Insel, 1921).

Schauberg, Jos.: Vergleichendes Handbuch der Symbolik der Freimaurerei mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die Mythologieen und Mysterien des Alterthums, (Zurich, 1861), online at [http://www.internetloge.de/symhandb/symb27.htm].

Spann, Othmar: Fundament der Volkswirtschaftslehre, 3rd ed., (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1923, first ed. 1918) [‘Volkswirtschaftslehre’].

Spann, Othmar (ed.): Die Herdflamme. Sammlung der Gesellschaftswissenschaftlichen Grundwerke aller Zeiten und Völker, (Jena and Vienna, 1922-1939) [‘The Herdflamme collection’].

Spann, Othmar: Tote und lebendige Wissenschaft, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1921).

Spann, Othmar: Gesellschaftslehre, 3rd ed., (Leipzig: Verlag Quelle & Meyer, 1930, first published 1914) [‘Gesellschaftslehre’].

Spann, Othmar: Naturphilosophie, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1937; a supplementary volume in the Herdflamme collection) [‘Naturphilosophie’].

Spann, Othmar: Philosophenspiegel, (Leipzig: Verlag Quelle & Meyer, 1933) [‘Philosophenspiegel’].

Spann, Othmar: Kategorienlehre, 2nd edition, (1939, first published 1923) [‘Kategorienlehre’].

Spann, Othmar: Erkenne dich Selbst, (Jena: Gustav Fischer, 1935; Herdflamme Supplementary volume 6).

Vollenhoven, D.H. Th.: Schematische Kaarten, ed. K.A. Bril and P.J. Boonstra, (Amstelveen: De Zaak Haes, 2000).

Vollenhoven, D.H. Th.: Encyclopedia entry for “Baader,” Oosthoeks Encyclopedie, 5th ed., Vol. I (1959).

Vollenhoven, D.H. Th.: Encyclopedia entry for “Berdjajef,” Oosthoeks Encyclopedie, 5th ed., Vol. 2 (1959), 225.

Vollenhoven, D.H. Th.: “De Problemen Rondom de Tijd,” in A. Tol and K.A. Bril (eds.), Vollenhoven als Wijsgeer (Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperheijn, 1992), 160-198 and online at [http://home.wxs.nl/~srw/nwe/vollenhoven/63b.htm]. Translation online [http://www.members.shaw.ca/hermandooyeweerd/Problemen.html].

Volpi, Franco (ed.): Grosses Werklexikon der Philosophie, Vol. 2, (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft; Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner, 1999).