© J. Glenn Friesen
Herman Dooyeweerd: De Wijsbegeerte
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, 420] Study Notes
The view of theoretical meaning-synthesis that we have defended implies that no modal aspects that are set over-against the logical aspect, and not even the logical law sphere itself, may be logicized (that is, understood in a “purely logical” way).
If it were possible to logicize the ‘Gegenstand,’ this would mean the impossibility of all theoretical knowledge–however paradoxical this assertion may seem to the logicist. From this we can infer the limits of concepts and definitions of the modal meaning-structure. Whenever the modal kernel of meaning–the modal analogies [retrocipations] and anticipations of a law sphere–are properly understood in the theoretical meaning-synthesis, it is meaningless to ask for a more precise “conceptual determination” of the kernels of the aspects that are set over-against the logical in this process of analysis. In the actualized theoretical analysis they are by the theoretical seeing-through [door-schouwing] they are disclosed, laid open. It is the task of theoretical thought in concepts that have been deepened into Ideas to encompass the original modal kernels of meaning with their expression in the surrounding analogical and anticipating aspects. In the actual analysis they can be grasped only in an articulated seeing-through [door-schouwing] as to their subject side and law side and in their indissoluble correlation of subject and law sides.
In this theoretical laying open of modal meaning we do not view a rigid eidos, an “eternal essential structure,” a “thing in itself,” as modern phenomenology attempts to do in its intuition of essences. The theoretical Idea of the modal meaning-structure never comes to complete static clarity in theoretical insight [inzicht], to the fulfillment of what is subjectively intended in this Idea. That is excluded by the temporal structure of modal meaning itself. In the Idea of number, space, life, feeling, retribution, love, symbolic representation etc etc., true theoretical insight remains caught in the full movement of the unfolding process.
In this unfolding process, a truly Christian philosophy arrives more and more to the insight that the fulfillment of meaning which has been broken into modalities by cosmic time, does not give itself in an eidetic intuition, but only in the religious self-reflection of our participation in Christ.
The meaning-synthetic Idea of a modality of meaning is the theoretical approach to the transcendental limits of this modality in the articulated process of seeing-through. But it can never itself give us the fulfillment of the modality of meaning.
The Idea is the deepened concept. The concept is bound to the foundational direction of time; as such it always precedes the Idea. The deepened concept is a guarantee that the theoretical Idea cannot remove the analytical epoché from the continuity of cosmic time. In the Idea of a modality of meaning we understand by means of the seeing-through of theoretical insight the particularized meaning that has been conceptually analyzed, but this particularized meaning is understood in the all-sided coherence of meaning of cosmic time. The Idea remains a limiting concept, although in a different sense than intended by Kant. The Idea remains determined by the law-Idea, as the hypothesis of philosophic thought.
If the Idea of a modality of meaning could be truly fulfilled in theoretical insight, then it would be possible to have an adequate “Wesens-schau” [intuition of essence]. The Idea would then be eidos. Then theoretical insight would be able to adequately understand fullness of meaning, and the totality of meaning. It would then not have to merely intend the transcendental direction and merely have to point towards the transcendent root of all temporal meaning. But if this could be done, then all modality of meaning as such would be sublated [opgeheven]. For it is only fulfilled in the transcendent identity of all temporal modal meaning. But the identity that is intended by phenomenology in its “adequate intuition of essences” remains in the horizon of particularized meaning and caught within its coherence of meaning that cannot be closed off. Phenomenology’s idea of identity is theoretical and philosophical. It must of necessity then only be an identity in the analytical epoché of theoretical meaning-synthesis. 
For this reason, theoretical insight into the transcendental coherence of meaning of the aspects, which is intended [vermeend] by us in the modal Idea, must itself be intentional. For the modal ‘Gegenstand’ as well as the modal analytical aspect, in its restless, temporal, not closed up in itself mode of being, are themselves of an intending character!
I openly admit that modern phenomenology is a much more dangerous opponent for Christian philosophy than is classical humanistic idealism or naturalism. The reason is that in its problematic it has penetrated to an apriori layer of philosophic thought that had not been seen so sharply in previous humanistic views. Therefore the appearance of its “lack of presuppositions” is here so much stronger and deceptive.
Phenomenological “positivism” says that it does not want to fix itself in any directions, that it only demands of the philosophical researcher a phenomenological “attitude” to “the things,” to the “essence,” to the “purely given.” It wants to include the religious “Tatsachen des Bewusztseins” [facts of consciousness] along with the other attitudes–the pre-theoretical, the special sciences and the epistemological–that are intended [vermeend] in the “Act of Consciousness.” It says that it only requires the philosophical researcher to use any “Tatsache” [matter of fact] in the phenomenological reduction  in order to bring the eidos the essence of this matter of fact to full intuitive insight (in its intentional noetic as well as its supposes noematic side).
The phenomenologist will also promptly acknowledge that concepts and definitions are bound to limits, although his meaning will be totally different than ours.
But the phenomenologist would qualify as internally contradictory assertion the view that the “intuition of essence” cannot adequately give the “essence” of what is intended. If the essence of a matter of fact has been intuited, what remains that has not be understood in this insight? 
Immanent critique of the “phenomenological attitude” is extremely difficult because phenomenology in fact diverges in various very different directions. We need only compare Husserl, Pfänder, Scheler, Heidegger, Hoffman). These proceed from mutually differing types of law-Ideas. I am content here just to clarify that the “phenomenological attitude” is a certain type of the immanence standpoint.
The phenomenological “intuition of essence” is founded on something that is not itself accounted for by phenomenology, a deeper level of the apriori  than the merely transcendentally rooted [immanent] level. It must be ultimately founded on a view of meaning as the mode of creaturely being. Whoever in the Biblical spirit confesses the non-self-sufficiency, the non-closed up nature of all meaning, cannot accept the phenomenological “attitude” because it is in conflict with the Truth.
In principle, the phenomenological attitude lacks the transcendental self-consciousness. This lack has already been expressed in its demand that the “phenomenological reduction” must include the investigator’s own selfhood.
Whoever has attained to true self-knowledge also sees the transcendental impossibility of the existence of a “pure essence” in the phenomenological sense, as well as the impossibility of equating the fullness of meaning from what is possible in a the analytic epoché of theoretical intuition.
As to the modal aspects, the synthesis of meaning, and the actual theoretical in-sight into them, their essence lies non-closed-up in the complete relativity of the temporal coherence of meaning. Even the coherence of meaning has no “absolute essence,” but refers above itself towards the fullness of meaning, which transcends all transcendental limits of experience. Only in Christ is meaning fulfilled in an adequate manner, since in Him meaning is completely directed towards God, that is, in the absolute non-self-sufficiency that is proper to meaning.
[Note: the next excerpt is from a later part of Volume II]
Go to next page of translation: Horizon and Levels
Footnotes for these excerpts
 Husserl says that the phenomenological 'Wesensschau'always moves in acts of reflexion [durchaus in Akten der Reflexion bewegt; Ideen I, p. 144]. But w. Ehrlich in his study Kant und Husserl (1923) p. 96 ff. has proved that such a Wesensschau cannot adequatley graps the essence of the "immediately experienced" ("schlechthin erlebte"). Husserl himself speaks of "modificaitons of experience through reflexion" ("Erlebnismodifikationen durch Reflexion"), p. 149.
 See Scheler in his Phänomenologie und Erkenntnistheorie (Schriften aus dem Nachlass, Vol. I, 1933), p. 288 (treatise written after his chief work). “Absoluter Masztab jeder “Erkenntnis” ist und bleibt die Selbstgegebenheit des Tatbestandes, gegeben in der evidenten Deckungseinheit des gemeinten und des genau so wie gemeint auch im Erleben (erschauen) Gegebenen. Etwas das so gegeben ist, ist zugleich absoalutees Sein, und der Gegenstand der nur Gegenstand eines solches Seins ist, eines solchen puren Wesens, ist in idealem Masze adäguat gegeben.” [The absolute criterion of every cognition is and remains the state of affairs as it presents itself, given in the evidence coalescence of what has been intended and of what has been given in immediate experience (contemplation) exactly as it has been intended. Something given like that is at the same time an absolute being, and the Gegenstand which is merely the Gegenstnad of such a being, of such a pure essence, is given adequately to an ideal degree].
The reader should notice the incorrect identification of “Erleben’ and ‘Erschauen’[experience and intuition].
Go to next page of translation: Horizon and Levels
Revised Oct 13/08