Dr. J. Glenn Friesen

Studies relating to
Herman Dooyeweerd

Linked Glossary of Terms

Linked Glossary
List of Notes

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

© J. Glenn Friesen 2003-2007, 2011

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated.See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)


I, 20, 40, 47, 50-51, 68, 121
II, 399-413, 420, 422, 487

NC I, 39, 52 (feeling cannot have an intentional relation to a Gegenstand), 57-58 (religion can be approximated only in the concentric direction of our consciousness, not in the divergent one, not as a Gegenstand)

NC II, 467, 550, 566 (confusion of Gegenstand with the anticheimenon or thing in itself).

“Het transcendentale critiek van het wijsgeerig denken,” Philosophia Reformata 6 (1941), 1-20 at 9: The Gegenstand as such is not real, but only a theoretical abstraction.

“Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 127 (in theoretical thought, we can never understand reality in its concreteness; that is given only in naive experience. So the Gegenstand is merely intentional, not ontical. And yet the Gegestand cannot be seen as the product of a transcendental-logical process, because then our logical function of thought would have no modal aspect of experience against which it would be opposed.


I, 48, 121 (non-gegenständlich)

NC I, 6 (Gegenständlichkeit)
NC II, 551

De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer, in het licht eener Calvinistische kosmologie en kennistheorie (1931), 102.


NC II, 391

Encyclopedia of the Science of Law

Last article:“De Kentheoretische Gegenstandsrelatie en de Logische Subject-Objectrelatie,” Philosophia Reformata 40 (1975), 83-101.

“Het transcendentale critiek van het wijsgeerig denken,” Philosophia Reformata 6 (1941), 1-20 at 8.

opposed This is the NC translation of "set-over-against." It is ambiguous, since it suggests a logical opposition instead of the setting over against each other of aspects.
over-against [tegenover]

I, 21-22, 43, 47, 49, 121
II, 399-413, 420

De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer, in het licht eener Calvinistische kosmologie en kennistheorie (1931), 102.

The word ‘Gegenstand’ is often translated as ‘object.’ It literally means ‘that which stands over against.’ Dooyeweerd says that theoretical thought is characterized by what he calls the Gegenstand-relation. In this relation, our act of theoretical thought, which functions in the logical aspect, is set over-against one or more of the other aspects. Those other aspects are the ‘Gegenstand’of our theoretical thought.

This theoretical ‘setting over-against’ is contrasted with our merely being fitted into temporal reality in our pre-theoretical or naive experience. Dooyeweerd here plays on the meaning of the words:

In het zin-synthetisch denken bevrijdt de verdiepte analytische bewustzijnsfunctie zich van een bloot ingesteld zijn in de volle tijdelijke werkelijkheid: het stelt zich de ter kennis opgegeven a-logische zin-functies tegenover, het wordt “gegenständlich.” De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer, in het licht eener Calvinistische kosmologie en kennistheorie (1931), 102).

[In meaning-synthetic thought, the deepened analytic function of consciousness frees itself from being merely fitted into full temporal reality; it sets itself over against the a-logical meaning-functions that are given to be known, it becomes “gegenständlich.”]

In the course of the Gegenstand-relation, we also put the logical aspect over-against the other aspects. But the initial opposition of our theoretical thought to the intentional aspects is not of a logical nature. Dooyeweerd distinguishes the Gegenstand-relation from the Subject-Object relation of naive experience. The Gegenstand-relation is completely foreign to our naive pre-theoretical experience. And the Gegenstand itself is something foreign to our experience. What is abstracted from the continuity of time is foreign to us, and must again be made our own.

Dooyeweerd's Idea of the Gegenstand-relation has been rejected by many reformational philosophers. These philosophers also reject the idea of the supratemporal heart or selfhood, which is essential to understanding the Gegenstand-relation. I was privileged to have a private meeting with Dooyeweerd (at his home) when I was a student at the Vrije Universiteit in the early 1975. Dooyeweerd told me at that time that he still continued to hold to the Gegenstand view of theory, notwithstanding the criticism of it by others, including van Riessen who had replaced it with his view of theory as abstraction of universals. That same year, Dooyeweerd wrote his last article, “De Kentheoretische Gegenstandsrelatie en de Logische Subject-Objectrelatie,” Philosophia Reformata 40 (1975), 83-101, in which he re-affirmed the importance of the Gegenstand-relation.

The following points are essential to understanding this Gegenstand-relation:

1. In order to set the logical aspect over-against other aspects, the Gegenstand-relation requires an abstraction from the continuity of time. Abstraction involves an epoché or a refraining from the coherence and continuity of cosmic time. The abstraction is from the continuity of time, and not an abstraction of universal properties from things as is argued by van Riessen, Strauss and Clouser. See the note on abstraction.

2. In his last article, “De Kentheoretische Gegenstandsrelatie en de Logische Subject-Objectrelatie,” Philosophia Reformata 40 (1975), 83-101, Dooyeweerd gives a sharp critique of the thesis by D.F.M. Strauss,Begrip en Idee. He says that Strauss’s rejection of the Gegenstand-relation involves “real antinomies.” Strauss blurs the crucial distinction between pre-theoretical and theoretical experience, and negates the distinction between theoretical and pre-theoretical intuition. Contrary to Strauss’s assertions, we do not have implied knowledge of aspects in pre-theoretical experience. Nor are aspects deduced or abstracted from things. That is a “serious misunderstanding.” Aspects are therefore not kinds of properties, as is often asserted in reformational philosophy. It is the other way around: the modal aspects lie at the basis of individuality structures; things are individuations of the empirical functions of the aspects. Dooyeweerd says that Strauss’s rejection of the Gegenstand-relation reflects the most common prejudices of modern epistemology. And Dooyeweerd emphasizes that the ideas of the irreducibility of the modal spheres and their coherence are not to be separated from the transcendental idea of their root-unity in the religious center of human existence.

3. The abstraction from the continuity of time results in a reduction [aftrekking] of our experience of full temporal reality (WdW II, 402).

4. This abstraction from the continuity of time involves a splitting apart or dis-stasis of the temporal aspects. Unless they are set apart, we cannot set the logical aspect over-against the other aspects. There is a "theoretical dis-junction of the cosmic temporal meaning-systasis." (NC II, 467). Theory is the abstraction from the full systasis of meaning (NC II, 431).

5. In the epoché, we set one of our functions (the logical) over-against the abstracted modal aspects. Dooyeweerd is not clear how this is done, but he says that this capacity is one that the logical aspect itself possesses. Theory makes manifest this possibility in the logical aspect (NC II, 472). No other aspect has the capability of allowing us to move into this level and be over-against another aspect.

6. But although the capability of dis-stasis is given within the logical aspect, the setting apart of the aspects is not itself a logical function:

This synthetic abstraction, this sub-traction, cannot be brought about by our logical function of consciousness itself. For as a subjective meaning-side of temporal reality, the logical function is itself within time.
The meaning synthesis of scientific thought is first made possible when our self-consciousness, which as our selfhood is elevated above time, enters into its temporal meaning functions (Encyclopedia of Legal Science, 1946 edition, p. 12).

7. This is what Dooyeweerd means by my selfhood, in its philosophic thinking, turns in on myself. It is not that my philosophic thought reflexively turns in on itself. It is my selfhood. But in my actual turning inwards in the activity of thought, I go above the boundaries of philosophic thought:

Philosophic self-knowledge thus always supposes that our selfhood, which in its actual activity of thinking transcends the boundaries of thinking, directs its temporal activity of thinking to itself. It is not that philosophic thought reflexively turns inwards towards thought itself, but rather that I am required, in the process of philosophic thought, to turn inwards to my self. And this actual turning inwards in the act of thinking necessarily transcends the boundaries of philosophic thought if it is really to arrive at the desired self-knowledge. We may reach this same conclusion by another train of thought, which derives from the idea that philosophic thought is thinking about a totality.(WdW I, 9).

8. Of course once the aspects have by dis-stasis been split out from their temporal coherence, they are distinguished, compared, analogies are found, they are opened. All of this demands logical distinction and analysis of the logical aspect. In logical analysis, the aspect which is opposed to the logical is distinguished theoretically from the remaining aspects (NC I, 39). But the differentiated cosmic diversity is not to be identified with this logical distinction. If we do not keep this distinction between the setting over-against and our logical analysis, we fall into a logicism. This was Dooyeweerd's disagreement with Strauss. See Dooyeweerd's 1975 article already referred to. See also abstraction and aspect.

9. The abstraction of theoretical thought is not just from the continuity of cosmic time, but from the actual, full selfhood that thinks and expresses itself in all its functions (I, 6; NC I, 5). There is therefore an abstraction not only from the continuity of time, but from our selfhood.

10. We intentionally will this movement out of full temporal reality (II, 402).

11. We experience a resistance as we moving out of our experience of the full reality (II, 402).

12. In the epoché, by an act of will, our selfhood leaves our enstatic experience of the continuity of time.

13. The Gegenstand is not set over against our full selfhood. The theoretical setting apart or dis-stasis is from the systasis of meaning. Our selfhood is not found in this temporal systasis [Dooyeweerd emphasizes this 'not' with italics in the WdW]. The correlate to the Gegenstand must therefore be sought immanently within the temporal coherence of meaning (WdW II, 400; NC II, 467). The NC translates this as:

In the Prolegomena it has appeared that the epistemological "Gegenstand" owes its origin exclusively to a theoretical dis-junction of the cosmic temporal meaning-systasis. Our "selfhood" is not to be found in the latter. The correlate to the "Gegenstand" must consequently be sought within the temporal diversity of aspects, not in the I-ness. (NC II, 467).

14. If it is not our supratemporal self that is opposing, then this implies that we have opposed our logical aspect itself to the Gegenstand. The logical aspect is the correlate to the Gegenstand–it stands for our true I-ness. How do we do this? This is the essence of the Gegenstand-relation, and it has not been commented on by reformational philosophers. It is we ourselves who oppose the Gegenstand, but from within the temporal modal horizon. We intentionally move into the lower level of the temporal. We can do this because temporal reality has its existence in the religious root in which we participate, and because our functions are the expression of our supratemporal selfhood. We intentionally choose a level of inexistence (Inexistenz). We choose to will a refraining from the continuity of cosmic time. (II, 402).

15. In his De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer (1931) Dooyeweerd describes the nature of synthetic thought as dependent on the attitude of being-set-over-against. In contrast to the "inert" [traag] dependence of naive thought, theoretical thought sets [stelt] itself opposite the Gegenstand (pp. 102-103, excerpts in Verburg 143).

Het is niets dan de anticipeerende (daarom steeds door den zin der historische ontwikkeling geleide) verdieping, de zin-ontplooiing van het naive zin-systatisch denken, dat zelve nog traag hangt aan zijn zinsverband met de psychische zinnelijkheid. De zin-synthesis is in de zin-systasis gefundeerd, niet omgekeerd! In het zin-synthetisch denken bevrijdt de verdiepte analytische bewustzijnsfunctie zich van een bloot ingesteld zijn in de volle tijdelijke werkelijkheid: het stelt zich de ter kennis opgegeven a-logische zin-functies tegenover, het wordt "gegenständlich." Dit tegenovergestelde, dit probleem der kennis kan niet de kosmische realiteit zelve zijn. Want onze analytische denk-functie is zelve systatisch in die realiteit gevlochten en blijft zulks ook in haar verdiepte, theoretsiche werkzaamheid." (pp. 102-103, excerpts in Verburg 143).

[It is nothing other than the anticipating (and therefore always being led by the meaning of historical development) deepening, the unfolding of meaning from naive systatic-meaning thinking, which itself still inertly depends on its relation of meaning with psychical sensation. The synthesis of meaning is founded in the systasis of meaning, and not the other way around! In meaning-synthetic thought, the deepened analytical function of meaning frees itself from a merely enstatic being in full temporal reality: it sets itself over-against the a-logical meaning-functions that are offered up for knowledge; it become "gegenständlich." This being set-over-against, this problem of knowledge cannot be the cosmic reality itself. For our analytical function of thought is itself woven systatically in reality, and it remains so even in its deepened, theoretic activity.]

Note that some of this passage was incorporated in the later WdW II, 402-403; NC II, 468. Dooyeweerd italicizes stelt in this passage. This is remarkable, because he also uses this word 'stellen' to indicate the autonomy that he rejects. See the discussion of his 1923 article below. The over-against relation involves a kind of autonomy, although not an absolute autonomy.

16. The initial dis-stasis has something to do with the entry of our supratemporal selfhood into time. Dooyeweerd says that the dis-stasis occurs when our supratemporal selfhood moves into the temporal:

The meaning synthesis of scientific thought is first made possible when our self-consciousness, which as our selfhood is elevated above time, enters into its temporal meaning functions. This supratemporal selfhood of our human existence is the religious root of our personality, which in its individuality participates in the religious root of the human race. And as Scripture reveals to us, in Adam this root fell away from God, his Creator, but in Christ it is again directed towards God. (Encyclopedia of Legal Science, 1946 Edition, 12)

17. Does this moving into the temporal mean that we have absolutized the temporal? I don't think so. but there is certainly a temptation to absolutize. We are tempted to see our logical function as actually independent. We forget that this separation of our logical aspect from the other aspects is only intentional, and not ontical (NC I, 39). This is the source of the dichotomistic belief of a distinction between body and soul:

…the traditional dichotomistic conception of human nature as a composition of a material body and an immortal rational soul is doubtless connected with the misconception, that the antithetic relation in the theoretical attitude of thought answers to reality itself (NC I, 44).

Dooyeweerd opposes what is “given” in pre-theoretical experience with the product of theoretical analysis in the Gegenstand-relation. See “Het dilemma voor het christelijk wijsgeerig denken,” Philosophia Reformata 1 (1936) 1-16 [‘Dilemma’] at 7.

18. The Gegenstand-Relation is a divergent direction of consciousness as opposed to the concentric direction of consciousness that is directed towards the Center (NC I, 57, 58).

19. We ourselves descend to the temporal level in order to perform the Gegenstand-relation. Dooyeweerd says that in our selfhood we are able to "enter into the temporal cosmos" by means of our intuition of time and to set apart and combine the modal aspects in theoretical thought (NC II, 480).

20. The WdW says that our selfhood through its intuition of time in the cosmos can think inwardly [indenken] and to theoretically understand its modal aspects as split apart and joined together (WdW II, 415). The WdW therefore emphasizes the return to cosmic time by intuition rather than the entering into the temporal cosmos. Both statements are in accordance with Dooyeweerd's (and Baader's) views.

21. Dooyeweerd contrasts man's selfhood, which is able to enter enstatically [en-statisch in-gaan] into the cosmos, with other creatures who have no self-consciousness. They are ex-statically absorbed in the cosmos.(WdW II, 415). This implies that the theoretical entering into cosmic time is an ex-stasis. Our selfhood therefore moves out of the enstasis of naive experience into the temporal world. This moving into the temporal world is an ec-stasis (moving out of enstasis). See my 2011 article, “Enstasy, Ecstasy and Religious Self-reflection:A history of Dooyeweerd's Ideas of pre-theoretical experience.”

But our intuition allows us to re-enter the coherence of cosmic time. There is a returning [terugwending] to cosmic time in the theoretical synthesis. Theoretical thought, led by belief in the transcendental direction, turns back [terugwendt] to cosmic time in which it is embedded. There must be a return to cosmic time:(WdW II, 414):

Theoretic intuition, in its subjective subjected-ness to the cosmic law-order, is the absolute transcendental condition for the obtaining of knowledge by meaning-synthesis.

As such, theoretic intuition is never to be theoretically understood in a category or concept, but only approximated in the transcendental Idea. In this transcendental Idea, theoretic thought, in its leading by faith (as the boundary function in the transcendental direction of time), turns itself back to cosmic time in which it is embedded. In this transcendental Idea, our selfhood also becomes cosmo-logically conscious of itself in intuitive reflection.(WdW II, 414; NC II, 478-479; but NC does not contain all of this quotation]

Dooyeweerd's 1975 article also emphasizes the importance of intuition in theory.

“Het transcendentale critiek van het wijsgeerig denken,” Philosophia Reformata 6 (1941), 1-20 at 10. Within the Gegenstand-relation, the modal diversity between the logical and the non-logical cannot be bridged. To transcend this modal diversity requires the selfhood, the individual concentration point where all aspects of temporal human existence come to a deeper unity and self-containedness (een-zelvigheid).

22. The movement of ex-stasis is expressed by the penetration of the temporal. The supra-theoretical knowledge of the heart must "penetrate" the temporal sphere of our consciousness" (NC, I, 55).

23. Because the Gegenstand has been lifted out of the temporal coherence, it does not correspond to ontic reality (NC II, 39). It is an intentional object, understood in the sense that we have by abstraction willed ourselves by the epoché to leave the temporal coherence. Empirical reality is not given in the dis-stasis, since it can only function in the continuous coherence of cosmic time (NC II, 472). The 'Gegenstand' of theoretical thought can never be temporal reality itself, nor can it be the "thing" in its cosmic systasis of meaning in reality (WdW II, 402; not in NC). Dooyeweerd's 1975 article emphasizes that theory does not correspond to ontic reality.

24. Thus, 'intentional' must not be understood in phenomenological terms. Phenomenology elevates this theoretical, merely intentional abstraction to reality ("32 Propositions on Anthropology").

25. Dooyeweerd says that the Gegenstand-relation gives rise to a theoretical "problem" (NC I, 18). Why does Dooyeweerd say that to speak of the "knowing subject" is so problematic? One reason must be that he has a very different view of 'subject' than does immanence philosophy. For Dooyeweerd, the subject is the supratemporal selfhood.

26. Because theory has abstracted from our selfhood, and because the Gegenstand has only an intentional and not an ontic reality, there is a problem in relating the results of our theory to our supratemporal selfhood. Intuition recognizes the theoretical datum, Gegenstand, as our own. In intuition we recognize the theoretical datum, the Gegenstand, as our own (NC II, 475-480). In other words, our intuition relates our theory back to our supratemporal self. Our intuition was required in order to enter time, and our intuition is required in order to relate this temporal experience back to our supratemporal selfhood. It is only because our intuition is active in the deepened analysis that theoretic thought can analyze the Gegenstand. Our intuition moves to and and fro between my deepened analysis and its Gegenstand and in intuition I relate the synthesis of meaning to the transcendent identity of the modal functions of meaning which I experience in the religious root of my existence. (WdW II, 414: NC II, 4798-79). The analyzed meaning must ultimately be related back to our true selfhood.

27. Our theoretical intuition is an absolutely transcendental condition of the meaning-synthesis by which we obtain knowledge. It can never be conceived in a category or a concept, but can only be approached in the transcendental Ideas. Only by these Ideas can we become cosmologically conscious (In our transcendental reflection, led by our transcendental ground-Idea, the implicit relation of the synthesis to the religious root is made explicit (NC II, 479)

28. In the 1946 edition of his Encyclopedia of Legal Science, Dooyeweerd refers to the central/peripheral distinction in the meaning of 'Encyclopedia.' The Gegenstand-relation is connected to this central/peripheral distinction.

Therefore, the Encyclopedia as a philosophical science does not need to systematically discuss the concrete material of science as such, but much rather it needs to discover the universal framework in which the material science groups its subject matter, and on which it constructs its system.
In this regard, the direction of its research proceeds from the center to the periphery; it is egkuklios.(pages 5-6).

What does Dooyeweerd mean? The word 'encyclopedia' comes from the French 'encyclopédie,' which in turn comes from the Greek enkyklios paideia. Paideia means education and enkyklios means "in a circle." So an encyclopedia is teaching in a circle. Unlike a reference work like a dictionary, which is merely arranged alphabetically, an encyclopedia arranges human knowledge in a circle. In an encyclopedia the footnotes of an article reference to other (not so) related articles of the encyclopedia, connecting all the articles inside a system. See the definiton for 'encyclopedia in the Online Etymology Dictionary.

So in his Encyclopedia of Legal Science (1946), Dooyeweerd says that it has two meanings: the philosophical one which is egkuklios (or enkyklios), and the practical one of paideia. Dooyeweerd says that the work is ambivalent [tweeslachtig, which literally means 'bisexual or 'androgynous.']. The philosophical one relates from out of the center, for Dooyeweerd says that philosophy is a "science of totality." (Encyclopedia, 1946 Edition, p. 10). Totality is supratemporal, as opposed to temporal diversity, so that is why the Encyclopedia is ambivalent, having two sides.

Dooyeweerd’s use of the word ambivalent or 'tweeslachtig' may correspond to Franz von Baader’s use of the term ‘androgynous’. See Baader’s “Vorlesungen über Societätsphilosophie,” Werke 14, 141 ff, where he refers to a Center and a periphery being together in one individual essence, nature and creature. See also Fermenta, Werke 2, 326.

29. We live in two worlds, the supratemporal and the temporal, and it is only because we have a supratemporal selfhood that we can, by the Gegenstand-relation, have a philosophical Idea of the supratemporal. The Gegenstand-relation allows us to obtain a theoretical Idea of that which transcends our theoretical thought. Dooyewered makes this clear in the Encyclopedia of Legal Science:

Therefore by maintaining the Gegenstand-relation, the theoretical Idea relates the theoretical concept to the conditions of all theoretical thought, but itself remains theoretical in nature, thus within the bounds of philosophic thought. It is just in this that its transcendental character resides. For in theoretical thought, the transcendental is everything that, by means of the inner (immanent) structure of theoretical way of thought first makes possible theoretical thought itself; the transcendental is everything that stands at the basis of every theoretical conceptual distinction as its theoretical presupposition. (Encyclopedia., 2002 Translation, pp. 80-81, re-translated by myself).

In the 1946 edition of the Encyclopedia,Dooyeweerd also says that the Gegenstand is a reality that is foreign to our consciousness:

Now what is unique to naïve experience is that it does not set the functions of consciousness over against a reality that is foreign to it (the Gegenstand of knowledge, as it is called by the Germans).(p. 9)

Development of the Gegenstand Idea

We obtain a better understanding of the Gegenstand-relation when we see how it developed in Dooyeweerd's thought. We need to examine his unpublished article "Een kritisch-methodologische onderzoeking naar Kelsen's normative rechtsbeschouwing", part of which comes from 1922, but completed in 1926. (excerpts in Verburg 34ff). In that article he defends "critical realism." He refers to cosmic categories as ruling that which is opposed to our thought, which he calls the 'denkvreemdheid.' The cosmic categories are what he later will refer to as modalities. He says that such a conception has not been put forward in realism because of the notion that this would involve logical distinctions in a "metaphysical" sphere, and would result in a doubling of reality in the copy theory.

And in this article refers to our theoretical thought as a 'Gegenstandssfeer.' In later works he calls the 'Gegenstandssfeer' theoretical thought; it is then correlated with a Gegenstand. But here he says that the 'Gegenstandssfeer,' that which has a Gegenstand, is non-logical. Logic is limited to the logical system of pure categories (identity, diversity, relation, continuity and system) and pure forms of judgment analysis, synthesis, affirmation and denial, hypothesis and categorical explanation). This is different from the ground-categories, the modalities or area categories [gebiedscategorieën]. For logic, this ground-category or modality is that of "validity." See the discussion in aspects for the other modalities he lists in this article. Logical systems are systems in a static sense; this static sense of the logical is the correlate of the closed coherence of reality [wezenssamenhang] in the Gegenstand. The Gegenstand is transposed [getransponeerd] into thought by the logical categories of identity, diversity, relation and synthesis. It is not copied into thought as Husserl believes (p. 51, Verburg 38).

He asks why a 'Gegenstandssfeer' is necessary at all. He says that he agrees with the Kantians in this respect, that we must not withdraw the problems of reality from the control of our thought, and because there must be a ground for the immanent judgments of logic that are not based in psychological experience. But he opposes the Kantian view (and also the view of Emil Lask) that the Gegenstandssfeer has a logical character. This is because he opposes the dogma of the autonomy of thought. He says that the Gegenstandssfeer is "meta-logical." (Verburg 34-35).

He says that if we regard the Gegenstand as having a logical character, we then regard logic in one of the following wrong ways:
--We see it as the creative thought of thinking itself, which creates its own Gegenstand (Marburg school)
--We see it as based on experience (Hume, Locke, etc.), which undermines the basis of logic
--We regard it in metaphysical terms, which robs us of the transcendent meaning of logic (Aristotle) and leads us to naive realism.

In its immanent sense, logic postulates a transcendent Gegenstand that cannot itself be of a logical nature. The Gegenstand cannot be any element or part of the Logos, but rather that which is a-logical material for the Logos.

There is a distinction between logic and epistemology. The rejection of the autonomy of thought necessitates this distinction, which is often eliminated. Epistemology must precede logic. Epistemology is 'Gegenstandstheorie'–the theory of Gegenstand. Logic is the system of categorical determinations of the Gegenstand in the judgment. And the Gegenstand of the pure of so-called formal logic is the pure categories and the pure forms of judgment. [This appears to be when the logical aspect itself forms the Gegenstand].

There is a difference in method between Epistemology as Gegenstandstheorie and logic. Gegenstandstheorie can only become aware of the upper categories of thought in an intuitive way [schouwend bewust]. Pure logic has as its object only the formal unity of the categories and forms of judgment, and places them in a system using its method of identity, distinction and synthesis. the basic categories of thought in their objective coherence are Gegenstand material for logic, but not objective-task [object-opgaaf].

The Gegenstandssfeer [our thought] demands a subjective contemplative center [beschouwingscentrum], just as pure logic requires an "epistemological subject." Dooyeweerd says he cannot work this thought out further in the article. But he says that intuition [schouwen] must precede logical thought. And he says that the unity of intuition, thought and knowledge is rooted in the cosmic selfhood [ikheid]. And this cosmic selfhood does not coincide with the psychological self, nor with the "epistemological subject," nor with the "contemplative center."

The Idea of a Gegenstandssfeer leads to a "science of the sciences." But the special sciences, which apply logic to different Gegenstände, are systematically placed in a hierarchy based on the degree of Gegenständlichkeit of their modalities or 'gebiedskategorieën.' However, in this article, he places pure logic, with its simplest determination of Gegenständlichkeit, as the first element in the series. Dooyeweerd's later development of thought placed mathematics as the simplest. But Dooyeweerd's placement here of the logical as the simplest may explain why he says that intuition is the bottom layer of the logical aspect, whereas elsewhere he says that intuition is the bottom layer of cosmic time. At the time of writing this article, Dooyeweerd had not yet arrived at a view of cosmic time. [As I mention in the note on cosmic time, Dooyeweerd's views on cosmic time do not appear until after the republication of Baader's book on time].

On the other hand, logic may be the simplest of the special sciences. It is applied to each of the other sciences in order to have a special science. Logic applied to the mathematical aspect produces the special science of mathematics.

And here we must ask, why does Dooyeweerd place this emphasis on the logical? Is this an over-estimation of the logical? Another way that he emphasizes the logical is his view that all post-logical aspects (the normative) are founded in the logical aspect. This again stresses the importance of the logical.

One answer is that Dooyeweerd distinguishes between our act of knowing and the logical aspect. This is emphasized in his last article. Our theoretical analysis of this act, in which we distinguish various aspects and functions, is not the same as our act of knowing. Our act of knowing functions in all aspects. Like all acts, it proceeds from out of our supratemporal center. There are three different intentional directions of our acts: the knowing, the volitional and the imaginative directions (NC III, 88). These are all ways in which our supratemporal center interacts with the temporal.

We have seen that Dooyeweerd denies Strauss's view that the Gegenstand-relation can be explained by the logical aspect. Even if this is so, why is the logical aspect so important in the Gegenstand process, and why do no other aspects have the capability of dis-stasis? Is there some unacknowledged acceptance by Dooyeweerd of the logos doctrine? Logos is the realm of meaning; logical thought is only a part of it. And yet it is noteworthy how important logic still is. But it is not self-sufficient. As logos, the analytical gives us the power of disclosing reality, of deepening our relation to it. In saying this, I am aware that Dooyeweerd criticizes Kuyper for his teaching about the Logos [logosleer] in the article "Kuyper's Wetenschapsleer." Nevertheless I believe that it remains in Dooyeweerd. Perhaps what he objects to is using the Logos doctrine to speculate on universals as the ideas of God.

In his 1923 article, "Roomsch-katholieke en Anti-revolutionaire Staatkunde," (excerpts in Verburg 48 ff), Dooyeweerd writes more concerning the Logos. He has a special chapter entitled "Kosmos and Logos." He says that the cosmos includes the whole ordered created world. Logos includes the realm of meaning. Logos is the more inclusive word. We can speak of cosmos only when we have examined the area of Logos (p. 37, Verburg 52).

In this 1923 article he also emphasizes the relation between intuition and logic:

Al het bestaande ligt gebonden aan zijn objectieven zin, die zijn wezen uitmaakt. Het schouwen is gebonden aan zijn gezichtsvelden, het denken aan zijn kategorieën. In deze binding van schouwen en denken ligt hun objectieven zin. Waar nu het bewustzijn niets meer autonoom stelt, maar alles heeft ontvangen, in alles gesteld is, als objectieven zin, nu de wet der heteronomie onbeperkt in al het bestaande gaat heerschen, ook in het zingeven bewustzijn, komt de vraag naar den wetgever, den ordenaar, den Schepper van zelf naar boven. (cited by Verburg 60)

[All that exists is bound to its objective meaning, which gives it its essence. Intuition is bound to its fields of view and thinking is bound to its categories. In this relation of intuition and thinking lies their objective meaning. If now our consciousness no longer autonomously sets its own meaning, but rather has received everything, has been set or placed in everything, as objective meaning, and if now the law of heteronomy can rule unhindered in all that exists, even in the consciousness that gives meaning, the question then arises as to the lawgiver, the one who orders, the Creator].

He refers again to the Logos in his 1928 article "Het juridisch causaliteitsprobleem in 't licht der wetsidee," (excepts in Verburg 113ff).

In het reflexief-analytisch karakter van den Logos ligt reeds het appèl der analyse op de synthese. In de Logos duikt voor 't eerst het Gegenstandprobleem op, en al fungeert hier de Gegenstand nog slechts als logisch-analytisch wezen, de Gegenstand appelleert op zijn souvereinen wetskring ter openbaring van zijn souvereinen wezenszin.

De kennis kan dus slechts worden bereikt in een synthese van Logos en den ter kennis opgegeven wetskring. Het logisch subject bereidt de kennis voor door zijn analytischen arbeid, de tegenoverstaande wetskring zelve moet de gezochte wetten openbaren. Willen we b.v. kennis verwerven omtrent de physische energiewetten, dan eischt de souvereiniteit in eigen kring een methodische uitschakeling van alle andere wetten dan die van de Logos en die van den physisch-energetischen wetskring. Die uitschakeling kan natuurlijk geen elimineering zijn van Logos en Physis uit den kosmischen samenhang der wetskringen, doch slechts een doelbepaling, een richtingsfixeering van de logische reflexie op den wetskring achter den logischen Gegenstand.

[In the reflexive-analytical character of the Logos there already lies within our analysis an appeal for synthesis. In the Logos the Gegenstand problem first appears, and although the Gegenstand here is still only the logical-analytical reality, the Gegenstand appeals to its sovereign law-sphere for the opening up of its sovereign essential meaning.

Knowledge can therefore only be reached in a synthesis of Logos and the law-sphere that is given up for knowledge. The logical subject prepares knowledge for its analytical work; the law-sphere that is set over against it must itself reveal the laws that are sought. If for example we want to obtain knowledge concerning the physical laws of energy, then the sovereignty in its own sphere demands a methodical elimination of all other laws than that of the Logos and that of the physical-energy law-sphere. The elimination can naturally be no elimination of Logos and Physis out of the cosmic coherence of the law-spheres, but only a determination of a goal, a fixing of a direction of the logical reflexion on the law-sphere behind the logical Gegenstand.]

Several important points appear here:

-- He refers to the physical sphere, which he omits in the WdW.
-- The Gegenstand that is analyzed is a "logical Gegenstand."
-- And he speaks of a "logical subject" that is opposed to the Gegenstand.
-- He refers to a reflexive-analytical character of the Logos. He criticizes this in the WdW
-- And he says that this is where the Gegenstand problem first appears.

I understand Dooyeweerd to say here that the first Gegenstand is that of the analytical aspect itself, and demands an opening up of the logical aspect itself. Thus Strauss is wrong in finding that it is only much later that Dooyeweerd allows the logical to itself be a Gegenstand. The opening up process seeks synthesis by the sphere universality of the logical aspect itself. That is what Dooyeweerd says elsewhere. And in his 1931 De Crisis der Humanistische Staatsleer, he says

De "Gegenstand der Erkenntnis," onstaat eerst door een bewuste uiteenstelling van de systatische realiteit, door het verrichten van een analytische epoché aan de continuïteit van de kosmische tijdsorde, waardoor de a-logische, tegenovergestelde zin-structuren in logische discontinuïteit worden gefixeerd. Dat de verdieping van het systatisch, naive denken langs dezen weg van "tegenoverstelling" moet geschieden, verklaart zich uit de analystische structuur van de logische zinfunctie zelve. Slechts in logische discriminatie kan de analystische zinstructuur haar universaliteit in eigen kring openbaren! (pp. 102-3, excerpt in Verburg 143).

[The "Gegenstand of Knowledge" first arises through a conscious dis-stasis of the systatic reality, by setting up an analytical epoché from the continuity of the cosmic order of time. Through this the a-logical meaning structures that are set over against the logical are fixed in a logical discontinuity. The deepening of systatic, naive though must occur by means of this "setting over-against." This is seen in the analystical structure of the logical function of meaning itself. Only in logical discrimination can the analytic meaning-structure reveal its universality in its own sphere!]

This does not mean that the Gegenstand-relation is itself based on logical discrimination. That would amount to Strauss's logicism, which Dooyeweerd rejects. Rather, it means that such discrimination is needed to show the sphere universality in the logical, but that this can occur only after the setting apart of the spheres. Logical "dis-continuity" is the opposition of the logical to the other spheres. It is not the same as logical distinciton.

In the WdW, he also says that the universality within the logical aspect can only occur after the deepening of being split apart.

The answer must be: because in the modal sense of analysis itself, according to its “universality in its own sphere,” the demand is given to find no rest in the mere systasis of meaning of cosmic reality. The universality in its own sphere of the logical aspect can only reveal itself in a deepening of meaning of analysis, in which the modal structures of meaning of the law spheres themselves, which are only given in the continuity of the cosmic coherence of meaning, are split apart [uiteen-gesteld, dis-stasis] in logical dis-continuity.

The logical law sphere in its mere enstatic function can never approximate the totality of meaning in its own aspect of analytical meaning. In enstasis, it only is able to analytically distinguish things and relations between things by their sensorily founded characteristics.(WdW II, 403; slightly different in NC II, 470).

This passage raises the following points:

--The deepening of the logical law-sphere cannot be done in naive experience. Elsewhere, Dooyeweerd says that the deepening depends on the Gegenstand-relation
--Elsewhere Dooyeweerd says that the dis-stasis is from the continuity of cosmic time.
--Following the deepening in which the law-spheres are split apart, the logical aspect reveals its own sphere universality.
--As I understand it, it is only after the logical aspect reveals its own sphere universality that it can set other aspects over-against it and open up their sphere universality. Until then, naive experience has been restricted to the retrocipatory moments.

Can it be that the opened out analytical aspect is the Logos, as opposed to the closed-up merely analytical function of naive thought? That to open up the analytical we need to anticipate the future coincidence of meaning, and so the logical aspect becomes Logos? This is speculation on my part, but I am trying to understand how Dooyeweerd says that it is within the analytical aspect that our capability to set ourselves over-against other aspects arises.

Dooyeweerd's use of the terms 'logos,' 'penetrating,' totality,' and 'center' will no doubt encourage some readers to dismiss his thought as logo-phallo-centric or some such postmodern term. It would be better to reject Dooyeweerd than to pretend to be an adherent and to consistently misinterpret him. But before his thought is dismissed on these postmodern grounds, we should carefully consider his ideas as a whole It is helpful to see them as they were originally developed in Baader. In our theoretical thought, we move into the temporal world because of wonder. In an act of loving kenosis, we gather up of sparks of God in a non-egotistical way, in order to preserve them forever without loss of distinction.

Some comparisons to Baader

a) Dooyeweerd says that theoretical thought is based on what he calls the Gegenstand-relation; the Gegenstand-relation is not to be confused with the Subject-Object relation. Baader makes the same distinction. According to Sauer, Baader rejects the naïve realist model of knowledge because it leaves unexplained the Subject-Object relation. The Subject-Object Relation must be explained before the theoretical Gegenstand-relation (Sauer 31).

b) Dooyeweerd says that ever since Kant, the object of our thought has been identified with the Gegenstand. Kant viewed the Gegenstand as purely sensory; this sensory manifold is then formed by our thought in a logical act of the understanding (NC II, 368). Neither Baader and Dooyeweerd accept Kant’s view of the Gegenstand; they use the word, but in a different way.

c) Baader says that our theory is based on a Gegenstand: ‘Philosophy is thinking or reflection over a Gegenstand’ (Werke VIII, 36; cited by Sauer 23). Since Kant and Fichte, the word ‘object’ has been used in the narrow sense of ‘that which finds itself in front of me.’ Baader says it should apply equally to that which is above and below me–to that to which I am subordinated and that which is subordinated to me. Fichte has completed reduced the concept of object to an enemy obstacle (Fermenta V, 7). Our knowledge differs depending on which realm we are considering–the supratemporal, or one of the temporal realms [animal, vegetable, mineral]. The manner in which God knows Man, or in which Man knows an animal, are not the ways in which an animal knows Man or Man knows God). Our ‘knowing’ cannot be used in the same sense when the knowing subject finds itself face to face with (gegenüber) the known object, as when the subject stands above or below it. Knowing, insofar as it is downwards from a higher to a lower, is a ‘fathoming and a founding’ (Ergründung und Begründung), and also an ‘understanding and a circumscribing’ (Begreifen und Umgreifen) (Susini II, 30, 31, citing Werke I, 51, s.2; Weltalter 116).

d) We are not normally face to face with the realms of minerals, plants and animals. But in the Gegenstand relation we attempt to place ourselves on the same level, to become over-against [gegenüber] these other realms. In the Gegenstand-relation we stand opposite to these other realms.

e) For Baader, the Gegenstand relation demands a movement out of our supratemporal center to the realm of temporal reality in order to stand opposite it. The reason for moving into temporal reality is in order to act as a center for temporal beings which were previously unmediated. We make this movement out of love, in order to save those beings, just as Christ was incarnated in order to save us.

f) Dooyeweerd also speaks of theory as a movement out of oneself. As we have seen, he characterizes naïve experience as an enstasis, a resting. In contrast to this, thinking is a going outside of our self; it involves an ek-stasis and a divergent direction. I understand this as an entering into cosmic time by the self whose Center stands outside of cosmic time.

g) Baader refers to the resistance of theoretical thought. He says that the resistance of theoretical thought is for our own good, because it represents a temptation to remain in the ex-stasis.

h) Baader refers to a suspension of time. I see this as related to Dooyeweerd's epoché from time.

i) Baader also emphasizes the relation between our intuition and our thinking. In a variant of Kant, he says,

Schauen ohne Denken blind; Denken ohne Schauen sinnlos wäre (Werke 1,191 Sauer 46)

[Intuition without thinking would be blind; thinking without intuition would be meaningless]

Kant’s statement was that thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.

(j) Baader compares the way that our power of thought works in its Gegenstand to the way that a Ground-Motive works in us (Werke 2, 506).

For a history of the development of Dooyeweerd's thought, see my article "Two Ways of Reformational Philosophy: Early Writings of Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd."

Revised Sept. 25/07
Ju14/11 Added reference to 2011 article