© J. Glenn Friesen 2003-2008
Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless
for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance
is in pdf format.)
II, 401, 411 ['gevoelig'], 125
NC I, 52 (feeling cannot have an intentional relation to a Gegenstand)
NC II, 112 (unlike volition and knowing, feeling is not an act,
but only a modality), 373
||NC II, 370-86
NC III, 38
I, 50, 73, 75 (in Kant)
II, 404, 413, 417
Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique
of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25
(1960, 97-150, at 135.
||I, 27, 68
II, 404, 406, 483-84
NC II, 117 (modal psychic modality in its merely retrocipatory
structure is sensory)
NC III, 38
||II, 410, 483
The psychical aspect is the aspect of feeling. Like the nuclear moments
of all aspects, the nuclear moment "feeling" cannot be defined.
This is the "sensation moment as such". "Was
man nicht definieren kann, das sieht man als ein Fuehlen an." Only
it would be quite wrong to suppose that this is a trait characteristic
of the sensation aspect of reality and of it alone. In fact we encounter
the same situation in all the other aspects.("Introduction to a
Transcendental Criticism of Philosophic Thought," Evangelical Quarterly
XIX (1) Jan 1947, 47).
This same article gives the following retrocipatory analogies of the
Round this central or nuclear "moment" are
grouped analogical "moments". We find in the first place an
analogical "moment" which recalls the nuclear "moment"
of the bio logical aspect of reality. There is a living sensation and
in this "vital moment" the sensation aspect discovers its
indissoluble liaison with the aspect of organic life. The living sensation
is not identical with the organic life of our body. It obeys its own
laws, which are of a psychological nature. It remains characterised
by its own nuclear moment, the "sensation moment." Nevertheless
there is no living sensation possible without the solid foundation of
an organic life in the biological sense.
Then in the structure of the sensation aspect we find
an analogical "moment" which recalls the nuclear moment of
the physical aspect, i.e., movement. No sensation life is possible which
does not reveal itself in emotions. Emotion is a movement of feeling.
But a movement of feeling cannot be reduced to a physical or chemical
movement. It remains characterised by its nuclear "moment"
and submissive to its own psychological laws. Only, every emotion takes
place on the solid foundation of the physical and chemical movements
of our body.
Next we find in the structure of the sensation aspect
an analogical "moment" which recalls the nuclear moment of
the spatial aspect of reality. In the life of sensation there is necessarily
a feeling of space which corresponds to perceived space, and is differentiated
as optical, auditive and tactile space. This perceived space is not
at all identical with mathematical space but it is not possible without
the foundation of the latter.
Finally, we find in the structure of the sensation
aspect an analogical "moment" which recalls the nuclear moment
of the arithmetical aspect, i.e., quantity or number. There is no emotional
life possible without a multiplicity and diversity of sensations. This
multiplicity is not at all identical with multiplicity in the arithmetical
sense. It is qualitative and psycho logical. It allows no quantitative
isolation like the different parts of a straight line. The different
sensations penetrate one another. Only, this multiplicity is impossible
without the foundation of an arithmetical multiplicity.
So far we have analysed the structure of the sensation
aspect only in the analogical direction. That is the "primitive
or closed situation" in which we find the sensation life in the
animals. But when you study the sensation life of man you discover moments
of anticipation by which the life of feeling relates itself to the nuclear
"moments" of all the later aspects of reality. We meet successively
a logical feeling, an historical feeling, a linguistic feeling, a social
feeling for propriety and tact, an economic feeling, an aesthetic feeling,
a feeling for right, a moral feeling and a feeling of unshakable certitude
which is akin to faith. (47-48)
Psychologism is the absolutization
of this aspect. It views all of consciousness in terms of the psychical
aspect. However, there is a view of consciousness that is not limited
to the psychical. Dooyeweerd himself speaks of a cosmic
Dooyeweerd says that many psychologists do not want to
limit their field of research to this psychical mode, because they proceed
from a concept of the psyche that derives from Greek philosophy, and that
tires to encompass the whole inner life of consciousness of the ensouled
beings. But these concepts of "soul" or "psyche" or
"spirit" are merely absolutized theoretical absractions from
out of the integral structure of human embodiment
(lichaamelijkheid). (Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij
“A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata
25 (1960), 97-150, at 135.
Our sensory perception is related to the psychical aspect.
Kant regarded sensory perception as chaotic sense impressions that had
to be ordered by thought. Kant tried in this way to synthesize empiricism
with rationalism. But Dooyeweerd criticizes this view as a dualistic opposition
of the logical to the sensory. Kant also saw the sensory merely as "object"
and did not recognize the subjectivity within the psychical aspect.
For Dooyeweerd, our naive thought is limited to such
sensory perception (II, 404). But he also says
The sensory aspect of perceiving does not at all play
that preponderent role in naive experience which the current epistemological
opinion ascribes to it. (NC III, 38).
I believe that this is because of Doyeweerd's view of
individuality structures, which are not things in themselves that exist
independently of our senses. See my article: "Individuality
Structures and Enkapsis: Individuation from Totality in Dooyeweerd and
Dooyeweerd's view of perception is very different from
that of Vollenhoven. See Dooyeweerd's views of perception in relation
to the subject-object relation within the modal aspect of the psychical
(NC II, 370-86).
The reality that we experience in naive experience is
not static, but dynamic. He contrasts this with the static view of Heidegger.
Heidegger regarded temporal reality as static, "Vorhandenes."
He did not recognize its dynamic nature in the inter-connectedness
of the aspects, and in their relation to the religious root.
Nevertheless, Dooyeweerd says that this naive experience,
limited to sensory perception, needs to be opened
up, unfolded and deepened.
Unlike the logical aspect, the psychical aspect cannot
set itself over-against a Gegenstand. Dooyeweerd
is therefore opposed to any philosophy of feeling or "Erlebnis."
He criticized Jacobi for this (NC I, 451). Dooyeweerd characterizes it
as part of the irrationalist trend in the Humanistic personality-ideal.
Baader also criticized Jacobi for his emphasis on feeling.
Dooyeweerd says that the possibility of objectification
in the modal aspect of feeling is primarily bound to the retrocipatory
structure of this aspect (NC II, 373). This is not really surprising,
since all objectification is related to preceding aspects.
Dooyeweerd also opposes any view of feeling as a faculty
of knowledge along with volition and knowing. Feeling is not one of our
ways of acting out of supratemporal selfhood.
Our psychical function is an outer sensation, in the
periphery. In the deepening, we rely on a turning inwards.
Baader also makes a distinction between our inner and
It is of interest that Dooyeweerd was aware of the work
of William James in psychology. He refers for example to James's view
of the "specious present":
Zoo is b.v. de duur van den z.g.n. presentietijd (de
"specious present" in de subjectief zinnenlijk gewaarwording
een andere dan die van de met den presentietijd correspondeerende objectief
zinnelijk phasen van het waargenomen begeuren, b.v. het instorten van
een huis, het vallen van een steen, het afgaan van een schot, enz.)
("Het Tijdsprobleem in de Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee," Part
II 1940, 212.)
[So far example, the duration of what is called 'presence
time' (the 'specious present' in the subjective sensory perception is
different from the corresponding objective sensory phases of the perceived
event, e.g. the falling in of a house, the falling of a rock, the report
of a shot, etc.]
His footnote says,
De term "Specious present" is, gelijk bekend, door E.R. Clay
ingevoerd en vooral door W. James in zijn Principles of Psychology (v.
1 pp. 609 fl.) in het psychologish spraakgebruik verbreid. De objectiveering
van den presentijd in den klokketijd geeft volgens nieuwere experimenten
een variatie van 1/2 tot 4 sec., waarbij blijkt, dat de duur van dezen
waarnemingtijd zeer verschilt bij verschillende individuen en sterk
wordt beinvloed niet alleen door de intensiteit van de aandacht en belangstelling,
maar ook door vermoeidheid, alcohol, verdoovende middelen, enz.
[As is well known, the term "specious present"
was introduced by E.R. Clay and brought into psychological use especially
by W. James in his Principles of Psychology (v. 1 pp. 609 ff). The objectification
or measurement of this specious present time in clock time in recent
experiments shows of variation from 1/2 to 4 seconds, which shows that
the duration of this perception time differs greatly in different individuals,
and is strongly influenced not only by the intensity of the attention
and interest, but also by tiredness, alcohol, drugs, etc.]
See also image for a discussion of psychic or
Revised Jan 29/08