© J. Glenn Friesen
Herman Dooyeweerd: De Wijsbegeerte
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.
[WdW II, 407] Study Notes
The synthesis of meaning is a subjective cognitive act, whose supra-individual universal validity depends on the cosmic law order that first makes it possible. As an actus [act] it presupposes the I-ness or selfhood that transcends time, and in accordance with the Archimedean point of our law-Idea, participates in the religious root of the whole temporal reality. In the direction of the synthesis of meaning to the selfhood, which is only possible in the transcendental direction of cosmic time, we discover the transcendent conditions of the cognitive synthesis of meaning. This is discovered in the selfhood, as religious root of all cognitive activity.
When our theoretic reflection on the possibility of synthesis of meaning chooses the transcendental direction, our attention is again drawn to the relation between the deepened theoretic analysis, in which we can perform the analytical epoché, and cosmic time, upon whose continuity this epoché is performed.
The theoretical concept of the analytical aspect is itself the product of a theoretical abstraction. That from which abstraction takes place in order to comprehend the analytical aspect in a synthesis of meaning, is primarily the continuity of cosmic time in the systasis of meaning of temporal reality.
If this is so, the actual analysis must be more than the analytical aspect that is itself only the product of abstraction in the synthesis of meaning.
The excess hides in that which cannot be theoretically isolated by the analytical aspect, because it is the transcendental condition of all theoretical isolation. It is the temporal bottom layer [dieptelaag] reality of our activity of thinking. By this our analytical function of thinking is itself fitted enstatically [ingesteld] within cosmic time, and through it this function of thinking remains in continuous temporal contact with all other aspects that our selfhood has as its own within time.
The temporal bottom layer of actual analysis is intuition, All epistemologies that seek to reach greater depths, from Plato onwards, have tried to spread clarity on this intuition. But its true nature must escape immanence philosophy, because such philosophy has apriori disconnected cosmic time from its epistemology.
Intuition cannot be theoretically isolated, just because of its continuous temporal character. The continuous coherence of meaning in the temporal refraction of meaning is grasped immediately by intuition behind all theoretical conceptual limits. Intuition is a cosmic intuition of time. Whoever tries to isolate it theoretically makes a theoretical concept of it in the synthesis of meaning. This disconnects exactly that which is the essence of intuition, its being embeddded in the temporal continuity of the cosmic coherence of meaning.
In the transcendental direction of theoretical intuition, by the transcendental leading of faith, our selfhood, in its transcendent unity as the religious root of our whole temporal existence, becomes cosmologically conscious of itself within the temporal coherence and temporal diversity of meaning of all its aspects.
It is the human personality itself, in the unity of its religious root, which is actually operating in cognitive acts, and not one or more of its modal functions. This is whether or not cosmic self-consciousness in the cognitive act is directed in Christ to the true Origin of all things, to the sovereign Creator and Father in Heaven, or whether in the fall into sin one’s self and one’s origin is sought within the temporal.
The modalities of meaning of the law spheres are not foreign to the human selfhood, in the sense of being transcendent to it. They are cosmically the selfhood’s own. Apart from the religious root in which our creation finds its totality of meaning, and in which our selfhood participates, these modalities have no meaning, and no existence [aanzijn].
In intuition, the analytical and non-analytical functions, which are all divided from each other by their modal meaning, actually come together in a relation of harmony.
In cosmological intuition, our selfhood experiences the temporal coherence of meaning between the modal aspects of reality. their deeper identity in creation’s religious fullness of meaning is experienced in the unity of the selfhood that transcends all diversity of meaning.
So long as the analytical aspect has not deepened itself in the transcendental direction of time, and so long as it remains resting inertly in the foundational direction of cosmic time, intuition can also not come to a free synthesis of meaning, but remains resting in the given systasis of meaning.
Or rather the other way round: it is by means of intuition that our modal analytical function of meaning enters the continuity of cosmic time. So long as intuition remains resting in the foundational direction of the cosmic order of time, the modal analytic meaning cannot unfold and arrive at a deepening of meaning. We are then not actually operating in the transcendental freedom of theoretic thought that follows the path of synthesis of meaning.
An intuition that remains merely resting in the cosmic systasis of meaning is typical of the attitude of naïve experience. All of us, whether or not we are practitioners of science, necessarily adopt the naïve attitude as soon as we are not engaged in theory. In our resting, pre-theoretical intuition we have an enstatic consciously knowing 'Hineinleben' ['beleven'] or living within [in-leven] the full temporal reality, as it gives itself in the individuality structure of things and their relations. This conscious living within is unfolded primarily in the full temporal experience of reality, to which each theoretical synthesis of meaning is foreign. It is an experience of reality that should not be mis-characterized in any way in reference to the functionalistic viewpoints of immanence philosophy (e.g. as mere sensory functions or as a synthetic logical ordering of sensory impressions).
But this conscious living within, which is in no way separate from the analytical function of thought, still lacks theoretic in-sight into the modalities of meaning of our experience. But theoretic in-sight, which first arises in the over-against attitude of thought, and which it sees-through [doorschouwt] as its ‘Gegenstand’ the aspects that are now dis-closed and laid open, cannot in itself experience the aspects as our own.
That which is essential self-given is never that which is merely theoretically seen-through [door-schouwde].
Only as disclosing, laying open, theoretical deepening of that which is given itself in the pre-theoretical conscious ‘Hineinleben’ [believing] is theoretic in-sight possible. Conscious 'Hineinleben' is the temporal foundational layer ['grondlaag'] of all knowing.
Already the analytical conformity to law of thought must itself be known intuitively if analysis is to be possible. And an intuitive insight into the ‘Gegenstand’ is a fortiori necessary as a condition of scientific knowledge. All actual knowledge, whether it is pre-theoretical or theoretical is a knowing. And all knowing is determined by our Hineinleben [‘beleving’], whether or not that knowing has been deepened to theoretical insight. This also applies to what is called discursive knowledge.
As soon as my intuition stops operating, I do not know anything at all.
Without theoretic intuition, neither the modal subjective-psychical nor subjective-logical functions can give us conscious insight into the sensory impressions or analytical coherences that reveal themselves in them.
According to Johannes Volkelt, the “logical necessity of thought” does not refer to intuition as its source. He means to say that the knowledge of logical necessity is not objectively founded in intuition, and he gives the following grounds for this proposition:
Volkelt shows here that he has not understood the transcendental meaning of intuition in thinking that joins and distinguishes meaning. This is also evident in a note where he says that intuition can be comprehended by psychological analysis. According to him, intuitive certainty when seen from the perspective of the logical is only “the subjective form, in which the objective force of the logical makes itself known.”
Unfortunately he argues further in a manner that can scarcely be taken seriously:
It is of course not a rational hypothesis that intuition could create logical truth. But does Volkelt’s view imply that the moral, aesthetic or “religious” intuition does create that in which it acquires insight? And is intuition insofar as it is directed not to the pre-logical but to the logical and post-logical law spheres, or even as pre-theoretical intuition places itself enstatically within certain individual structures and coherences of the full temporal reality, suddenly become something other than a subjective fallible insight into states of affairs that are not created by our intuition, but which only reveal themselves to it?
Volkelt’s meaning is clearer in an earlier context, where he contrasts two kinds of certainty (1) intuitive certainty (by which the “necessity of thought” is forced to our attention) and (2) the immediate certainty derived from the intelligible moral law. He says that the moral law does not rest on any foundation other than our intuitive certainty, while logical truth is founded in the “coherence of the understanding,” which only leaves subjective “traces” in our intuition.
What then does Volkelt understand by ‘intuition?’ "The immediate being certain of something that transcends experience!” And what does he understand by ‘experience?’ "The sensory-psychical (aspect) of experience!" This explains his assertion:
With this Volkelt has accepted in principle immanence philosophy’s (literally sense-less) concept of experience. And he shows that he proceeds from the same law-Idea that lies at the foundation of Kant’s dualistic conception of a realm of sensory reality and the super-sensory noumena. This serves to unmask Volkelt’s demand for an epistemology with absolutely no presuppositions.
In fact, Volkelt’s whole argument loses its foundation when we see that the limitation of experience to the sensory impressions [Empfindungen] amounts to the canceling of the possibility of experience. For the psychical only exists in the temporal coherence with all other aspects of reality, whereas on the other hand we can have no intuitive certainty of that which is in principle not experienceable. How then can I truly have knowledge of a sweet taste if I cannot relate this sensory impression to my self in my intuition, which enters the cosmic stream of time? I do not experience this sensory impression without some awareness of its objective or non-objective character. But only in the supra-modal intuition do I experience the coherence of meaning of the psychical impression with the pre-psychical sides of reality. By this I truly know for certain that my sensory impression is objective, since it is an impression that each person with normally developed feeling of taste must receive from the matter tasted, since in its psychical object-function sweetness belongs to the full reality of the matter tasted.
Human experience of the sensory side of reality is never separate from logical distinction. Only in intuition does our logical subject function come into actual temporal contact with the other aspects of reality.
The supposed “pure sensation” is a theoretical abstraction, which entangles itself in contradictions, since it is always product of the analytical epoché, and as such already cannot be “purely sensory." Only in theoretical intuition can I complete the synthesis of meaning, in which the epoché itself first becomes possible.
The meaning-synthesis thus appears to be possible only through theoretical intuition, in its necessary relationship to the transcendent selfhood. I can not understand the modal sense of a law sphere in an articulated theoretical concept if I lack the temporal theoretic in-sight into the aspect that has been set over against analysis. In the to and fro of my beholding [schouwende] intuition, I become aware of my theoretic freedom of thought. In this movement of my intuition, the deepened theoretical analysis and its ‘Gegenstand’ come into actual cognitive contact in the actual synthesis of meaning. This synthesis can never be explained from out of an isolated function of consciousness.
Only because this theoretical intuition is itself operative in the deepened analysis is it possible for theoretic thought to analyze its ‘Gegenstand’ in a meaning-synthesis. Theoretic distinction of meaning is in fact only possible in the intuitive theoretic joining of meaning. And in intuition I relate the meaning-synthesis to the transcendent identity of the modal functions, which I experience in the religious root of my existence.
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.
Theoretic intuition, which is actualized in meaning-synthetic thought [in theory] does not exist apart from pre-theoretical intuition, which is operative in en-static thought. And just as little can the foundational direction in the cosmic order of time be detached from the transcendental direction.
Theoretic intuition is [actualized as] insight, operating in the actual deepened analysis, the joining and distinguishing of meaning. Theoretic intuition is only to be understood as a deepening of the pre-theoretical intuition, to which it must always appeal in the foundational direction of time.
In the resting pre-theoretical intuition I, while thinking, experience the temporal reality as my own. In pre-theoretical intuition the transcendent root of our personality thinks inwardly [in-denken] en-statically in the cosmic temporal coherence of reality, and it consciously experiences the diversity of meaning, but without the articulated knowledge of the aspects. In contrast to theoretical self-consciousness we can speak here of a pre-theoretical cosmic self-consciousness.
In accordance with the cosmic law order, our theoretical self-consciousness remains founded in this pre-theoretical self-consciousness. At their foundation, there is an experience in identity [be-leving in identiteit] between all theoretical thought about the meaning-sides of reality and all intuitive in-sight. This identity can only be deepened in the theoretical-intuitive in-sight, but never sublated [opgeheven].
In the cosmos, only humans can possess cosmic and cosmological self-consciousness. Only the human cosmic structure is grounded in a time transcending religious root, in a selfhood, and only this selfhood, by its intuition of time in the cosmos, can think within [in-denken] and theoretically understand its modal aspects as split apart and joined together.
In contrast to those creatures who do not possess a self-consciousness and who are ex-statically absorbed in the temporal cosmos, the human religious personality is able to enter en-statically in the cosmos.
Although intuition transcends concepts made by the analytical function, we have approached intuition as the temporal bottom layer of this modal analytical function of meaning. This implies that we must reject each attempt to separate intuition from the analytical aspect, or to make it a mysterious metaphysical capability that is set over against all analyzing thought. Such attempts, by their depreciation of methodical theoretical conceptual thinking will always call up the one-sided reaction of those who believe that any such view of intuitive insight should once and for all be banned from epistemology as an “asylum of the ignorant.” A method of speculative thought regarding genius, in the line of Schelling’s romanticism, which tries to set an “intellectual intuition” above the primary principles of thought, is intrinsically internally contradictory. Not only because a “method of genius” in itself contains a contradiction, but above all because Schelling’s “intellectual intuition” carries a completely theoretical character, and rests on a theoretic abstraction which cannot exist without the analytical epoché.
In recent times, Henri Bergson has again introduced intuition as a metaphysical cognitive organ, which stands diametrically opposed to logical analysis. In a pragmatic naturalistic way, he ascribes [the origin] of scientific thought as a mere biological adaptation to matter. He says that science’s analyzing and setting apart with delimiting concepts has a technical use for human actions.
In contrast to such scientific thought is intuition, which according to him as an immediate subjective psychical ‘empathy.’ With “intellectual sympathy” such intuition penetrates into the “durée” (the creative and qualitative vital stream of time). Only this intuition can give us “metaphysical knowledge of absolute reality.”
Already in Part 2 of Volume I we have referred to the lack of critical reflection in this irrationalistic-psychologistic metaphysics, which loses from view the fact that the isolation of an actual psychical “intuition” and “durée,” by “purifying” them of all relations with the remaining aspects of reality, must itself be the product of a theoretical analysis and meaning-synthesis (albeit an incorrect analysis). And we have seen that each attempt to theoretically isolate an intuition involves an elevation [of the temporal].
In spite of himself, Bergson sees a necessity to link intuition to concepts . But he does this in an internally contradictory way by taking away all conceptual delimitation from the intuitively founded concept. He regards intuitive concepts as fluid expressions of “psychical empathy,” This he says is lacking in the analytical epoché, which is essential to theoretical thought. He says that philosophy cannot be genuine
In the same work he says,
The correct state of affairs is as follows: If the analytical epoché from out of the continuity of cosmic time–which Bergson functionalistically identifieswith the psychical duration of feeling–is cancelled [opgeheven], we necessarily fall back into the mere en-static intuitive attitude of thought. It is exactly from this intuitive attitude of thought that Bergson wants to completely withdraw in his attempt to theoretically isolate intuition from analysis. With respect to human knowledge, there is then no third possibility between theoretical meaning-synthesis and pre-theoretical naïve experience.
In Bergson’s idea of “pure duration,” the meaning-synthesis with its analytical epoché is clearly demonstrated, although in a false irrationalistic turn. For this “durée” is won by him by theoretical abstraction from out of the full temporal reality. And [inconsistently in his thought], that is done with the aid of an intuitively founded analysis! Bergson does not see this, because he proceeds from a metaphysical prejudice that the full, absolute reality is in the actual psychical stream of time. From this point of view, the other aspects of reality can only be modi of this psychical stream of time.
In other words, Bergson proceeds from a metaphysical absolutization, in which the primary analysis and synthesis of meaning remain hidden to him. His lack of a truly critical-transcendental self-reflection is strongly revealed in his optimistic belief that if his intuitive-metaphysical method were to be generally accepted by philosophy,. then the strife among the different philosophical currents would cease. For he wants to explain this strife from the circumstance that we have improperly forced philosophy to adopt methods of technical scientific thinking. 
Intuition does not allow itself to be isolated from analysis! Conversely, as we have earlier emphasized, analysis can never function without intuitive insight. This has been convincingly demonstrated by Henri Poincairé in his La Valeur de la Science and his Science et Hypothèse, in contrast to the supposed “pure analysis” in the mathematical sciences.
How does this fit with the irrefutable fact that truly inventive and original thinkers with their theoretical intuition can sometimes understand a theoretical state of affairs in one glance before the details are theoretically analyzed? Is there then not something like an actual intuition that can do without the modal analytical function? Does there not exist an immediate beholding [schouwende] intuition of genius that is separate from all logical activity of thought? There is nothing easier than to interpret the facts in this way, but nothing is more confusing.
But a simple consideration must convince us of the opposite. The intuition of genius as a subjective intuitive activity is in no way infallible but can in fact go off on the wrong track. It can only obtain true theoretic insight whenever it logically distinguishes and logically identifies. Where this subjective modal analytical function is lacking, then at the most is operative an animal instinct, but not a theoretical intuition.
Now it is certainly possible that theoretical intuition, in the free turning of its theoretical attention , understands certain modal conformities to law in a synthesis of meaning, without having first analyzed in a meaning-synthesis the law-conformity of the founding modal substratum spheres.
In this respect the so-called arithmetization of geometry is instructive. The general theory of functions, as it was arithmetically founded by Weierstrasz, is (as Poincaré correctly clarifies) not discovered in a completely “purely analytical” way. Poincaré demonstrates that it was discovered by intuitive insight into arithmetical regularities [law-conformities]. We may add to this statement that the discovery was made under the guidance of the intuitive hypothesis of an apriori modal sense of movement, without which hypothesis insight into the arithmetical transformation of series.
Riemann on the other hand (the second founder of the general theory of mathematical functions) directed his intuitive theoretical attention much more on the modal sense of space. He was much more a geometrically than an arithmetically-minded thinker.
If we now identify analysis with arithmetical analysis, then we would name Riemann an “intuitive” and Weierstrasz an “analytical” thinker. This would introduce a false opposition between intuition and analysis. The true state of affairs has here been misinterpreted.
Great confusion is also caused whenever we want to relate theoretical intuition (with its various directions of theoretical attention) to the analytical function and to contrast this with a totally separate pre-theoretical intuition. For even the pre-theoretical intuition can not dispense with analytical distinction in the knowledge it gives of pre-theoretical states of affairs. What it lacks is the actual meaning-synthesis, in which analysis is deepened to scientific analysis.
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Footnotes for these excerpts
 Gewissheit und Wahrheit (1918), p. 579, also p. 224: “Der logischen Notwendigkeit bin ich als einer rein sachlichen, überpersönlichen, nach Grund und folge zusammenhängenden, also (! in völligem Gegensatze zu allem Intuitiven stehenden Notwendigkeit gewisz. Werde ich gefragt, warum ich mich zu irgend einem logisch-notwendigen Satze bekenne, so antworte ich nicht, “wil ich dieses Satzes intuitiv gewisz bin,” sondern: “weil dieser Satz sachlich begründet ist, aus sachlichen überlegeungen folgt, auf Beweisen beruht.”
 “Die intuitive Gewissheit ist also nicht die Erzeugerin der logischen Wahrheit, sondern nur die subjektive Art und Weise, wie mir die sich selbst tragende logische Wahrheit zu Bewusstsein kommt. Es handelt sich hier also [!] keineswegs um einen tyupus der intuitiven Gewissheit, welcher der moralischen, religiösen und ästhetischen Intuition an die Seite gestellt werden könnte.
op. cit., p. 224. “Wenn ich der Empfindung des Süssen unmittelbar gewiss bin, so its dies kein intuitives Geiszsein; wenn wir dagegen nach Kant der in unsererm intelligibelen Ich lebenden Sittengesetzes unmittelbar gewisz werden, so liegt intuitive Gewiszheit vor.”
Introduction à la Métaphhysique (now included in La Pensée et la Mouvant, 2d ed., 1934, p. 213): “Certesl, les concepts lui sont indispensable, car toutes les autres sciences travaiilent le plus ordinarierment sur des concepts, et la métaphysicuqe ne saurait se passer des autres sciences.” [Certainly, concepts are indivispensable to it, for all the other sciences mostly work with concepts, and metaphyiscs could not do without theother sciences].
 op. cit., pp. 213, 214.“Elle (i.e. “la philosophie”) n’est proprement elle même que lorsqu-elle dépasse le concept ou du moins lorsqu’elle sIaffranchit des concepts raides tout faits pour créer des concepts bien différent de ceux que nous manion d’habitude, je viex dire des représentations souples, mobiles, presque fluides, toujours prêtes á se moujler sur les formes fuyantes de l’intuition” (my italics).
 op. cit. pp. 21, 22. “si la métaphysique est possible, elle ne peut être qu’un effort pénible, doulourexu même (!) pour se placer tout de suite, par une espèce de litation intellectuelle, dans la chose qu’on étudie, enfin pour aller de la realité aux concepts et non plus des concepts à la réalité.”
 op. cit. p. 240: “Les difficultés inhéhrentes à la métaphysique, les antinomies qu’elle soulève, les contraditioons où elle tombe, la dision en écoles antagoniste et les oppoistions irreducitibles entre systèmes, viennent en grande partie de ce que nous appliquons à la connaisassance désintéressée du réel les procédés don’t nous nous servons couramment dans un but d’utilité pratique. Elles viennent principalement de ce que nous nous installons dans l’immobile pour guetter le mouvant au passage, au lieu de nou replacer dans le mouvant pour traverser avec lui les positions imobiles…” [The difficulties inherent in metaphysics, the antinomies it evokes, the contradictions into which it gets involved, the division into antagonistic schools and the irreducibile oppostions between the systems, are for a large part due to the circumstance that we apply to the disinterested knowledge of realty, the methods we usually employ for a practical purpose. They originate chiefly from our taking up a position in what is immobile in order to watch the moving in its passage, instead of placing ourselves in the moving in order to traverse the immobile positions with it].
 This free turning of (theoeretical) attention is typical of theoretical intuition in distinction from the pre-theoeretical, which in in the turning of its attention remains rigidly fixed to psychical factors.
See in this regard August Mesmer’s Psychologie (5th ed., 1934), p. 282 ff. “Natürlich entstehen für uns durch unsere Aufmerksamheit nicht blosz die Objekte (!) unseres Fühlens, Wertschätzens, Strebens und Wollens. Ja, diese atheoretischen Kräfte in uns sind die wichtigsten Ursachen des Aufmerkens,” This shows that Mesmer has not seen the characteristic difference between the free (meaning-synthetic) direction of theoretical attention and the pre-theoretical consciousness. Similarly, his attempt to psychologically explain attention shows a lack of insight into its supra-functional intuitive depth [dieptelaag]. Other interesting explanations by him about the relation between attention and theoeretical analysis suffer from the same lack.
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Revised Oct 13/08