Dr. J. Glenn Friesen

Herman Dooyeweerd:
De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee (1935-36)
Dis-stasis and Synthesis

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

De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee Volume III
Foreword to Vol III

Other articles by Dooyeweerd
32 Propositions on Anthropology

Responses to the Curators (1937-38)

Dooyeweerd's 1964 Lecture, and Discussion

Dooyeweerd's last article (1975)

1974 Interview of Dooyeweerd, with mp3 audio files.

The last interview of Dooyeweerd (1975)

“The Problem of Time in the Philosophy of the Law-Idea” (1940)

The Idea of the Individuality Structure and the Thomistic Concept of Substance

Encyclopedia of Legal Science (1946)

The Romantic Poetry of Herman Dooyeweerd 1912-13

Dooyeweerd's student article: “Neo-Mysticism and Frederik van Eeden”(1914)

Other articles about Dooyeweerd

Dooyeweerd's Encyclopedia of the Science of Law: Problems with the Present Translation

Dooyeweerd versus Vollenhoven: The religious dialectic within reformational philosophy.

J.H. Gunning, Christian Theosophy and Reformational Philosophy

Dooyeweerd's Philosophy of Aesthetics: A Response to Zuidervaart's Critique

The Religous Dialectic Revisited

Why did Dooyeweerd want to tear out his hair?

Kuyper, Dooyeweerd and the Quest for an Ecumenical Orthodoxy

Imagination, Image of God and Wisdom of God: Theosophical Themes in Dooyeweerd's Philosophy

Dooyeweerd versus Strauss: Objections to immanence philosophy within reformational thought.

Dooyeweerd and Baader: A Response to D.F.M. Strauss

Dooyeweerd, Spann and The Philosophy of Totality

Revised notes regarding aevum

Individuality Structures and Enkapsis: Individuation from Totality in Dooyeweerd and German Idealism

Monism, Dualism, Nondualism: A Problem with Vollenhoven’s Problem-Historical Method

Vollenhoven's disagreements with Dooyeweerd; translations of three of Vollenhoven's articles.

Johann Stellingwerff: History of Reformational Philosophy (review)


© J. Glenn Friesen


Herman Dooyeweerd: De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee
The Philosophy of the Law-Idea

(Amsterdam: H.J. Paris, 1935-36)
Translation [Excerpts] and Meditational Study Guide
by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen
Notes on this Translation

The Dutch Academy of Sciences has made all three volumes of De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee available online (in Dutch). These three volumes can also be downloaded here in .pdf format from the website of The Association for Reformational Philosophy.

The text below is a provisional translation. Copyright is held by the Dooyeweerd Centre, Ancaster, Ontario, and publishing right is held by Mellen Press, Lewiston, New York. A definitive translation will be published in the series The Collected Works of Herman Dooyeweerd.

§ 2 The Relation Between Synthesis of Meaning and Deepened Analysis. The Objective-Analytical Dis-Stasis and the Analytical Character of the Epoché

[WdW II, 403b] Study Notes

We now want to first give an account of the question why the deepening of meaning of analysis can only be done in thought that seeks a synthesis of meaning. This question deserves our special attention.Why cannot the deepening of meaning in the mode of the analytical aspect not remain at rest in the cosmic systasis of meaning? Why must the unfolding meaning of analysis abstract its ‘Gegenstand’ from out of full temporal reality?

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, 404] Study Notes
Why the naïve concept of a thing can
not be based on a synthesis of meaning.

[The fact that naïve analysis distinguishes things on the basis of sensory characteristics] does not mean that the naïve concept of a thing is based on a synthesis of meaning of the analytical and psychical aspects. That would imply that naïve, pre-theoretical thought could be in a position to analyze the psychical modal function of meaning by taking it from out of full temporal reality and making it its ‘Gegenstand!’

The truth is that the naïve concept of a thing remains inert [traag], [enstatically] fitted within the full temporal systasis of meaning of naïve experience, of which it makes an inseparable subjective component. Because of this, pre-theoretical thought is not in a position to make an analysis of the modal aspects of the reality of a thing.

Naïve analysis does not penetrate behind the objective perceptual appearance [oogenschijn] and can therefore not comprehend in a meaning-synthetic sense the functional laws of the law spheres. It makes do with pre-theoretical, practically oriented distinctions, which find their touchstone in the sensory aspect of experience and are not ordered from out of a systematic-methodical viewpoint.

But it is just the analytical meaning that now requires the Idea of its completion of meaning in the analytical comprehension of the totality of the modal functions of meaning themselves with their [modal] conformity to law.

In this Idea of analysis, the cosmic given is not left in rest. Rather the functions of its own substratum [the pre-logical], and the modal analytical aspect itself, which is abstracted in the synthesis of meaning is split apart in dis-stasis.

[WdW II, 405] Study Notes
The analytical character of the epoché

Analysis that has been deepened in the synthesis of meaning thus performs an analytical epoché from out of the continuity of the temporal coherence of meaning of reality.

Naturally, the continuity of cosmic time does not allow itself realiter [in actuality] to break through this analysis. As we know, such a breaking through would mean the end of the possibility of analysis itself. The analytical epoché moves in principle within the continuous temporal coherence of meaning.

Only in the concept within the synthesis of meaning is the ‘Gegenstandabstracted from the continuity of the coherence of meaning. As we shall later see, this insight is of fundamental importance if we want to give account of the possibility of a synthesis of meaning.

[WdW II, 405b] Study Notes
Unfolding of the logical anticipatory sphere
in the pre-logicalGegenstand.’

This deepened analytical aspect may make the pre-logical law spheres into its ‘Gegenstand.’ Thereby the concentration on a particular ‘Gegenstand’ (e.g. the numerical, kinetic, biotic or psychical law spheres) always proceeds from an actual directing of theoretical attention that cannot be explained from the analytical aspect alone. The pre-logical spheres that are made into a ‘Gegenstand’ then unfold their meaning under the functional leading of their anticipatory logical sphere. This is a state of affairs that we have already given our attention to in the General Theory of the law spheres [Part I of Volume II].

The numerical, spatial, kinetic aspects, etc., sovereign in their own sphere with their own law-conformities, follow the leading of the systematic analysis, and reveal their coherence of meaning with the logical aspect.

In the pre-logical aspects, abstracted into a ‘Gegenstand’ by the theoretical analysis, the law spheres unveil themselves as “having the predisposition” towards the systematic tendency of theoretic thought. There is an anticipatory call for systematic analysis.

[WdW II, 406] Study notes
Deepening of the logical object-side
of reality in theoretical thought.
T he objective-analytical dis-stasis

At the same time, the logical object-side of reality is deepened in the subject-object relation. It changes from merely being fitted into temporal reality as an objective-logical systasis to an objective-logical setting apart, to an objective dis-stasis of a functional multiplcity in the analytical aspect.

In theoretic scientific thought the logical object-side is opened in the concept of function.

No longer is analysis content with the sensorily founded distinction of things whose aspects have not been analysized. Rather, analysis penetrates to the setting apart of the aspects themselves. Only now are the pre-logical aspects analytically [distinctly] articulated and objectified. But this objective-analystical dis-stasis is no more a subjective creation of theoretic thought than is the objective-analystical systasis a creation of pre-theoretical thought. Rather, it belongs to the deepened objective-logical aspect of the full temporal reality, and it is only unveiled by theoretical analysis.

In being directed to the pre-logical law-spheres, theoeretical analysis is bound to the objective-analytical dis-stasis of temporal reality. It is just in this inner being bound to reality that the analytical aspect finds the full weight of its non-analytical "Gegenstand."

The epoché, which is characteristic of theoretic thought, therefore completes itself in the deepened analysis itself. It functions within the logical law-sphere, but it is the theoretical synthesis of meaning that relates the analytical aspect to its "Gegenstand."

Now that the modal meaning of the theoretcial epoché has been cleared up, the question of the possibility of the synthesis of meaning demands our attention.

From the already theoretically abstracted analytical aspect this possibility can never be explained. Much rather, this theoeretical abstraction itself presupposes , as we have seen, the synthesis of meaning.


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Revised Oct 13/08