jeudi, juillet 01, 2010

Dooyeweerd: Philosophy & Special Sciences/ Feallsanachd agus na Saidheansan Speisealta

"Pròbhadh air Eun am broinn Phump-Aeir"  le Joseph WRIGHT of Derby (1768)
     At this point, however, the question arises once again as to whether or not the special sciences can operate independently of philosophy. Although our transcendental critique of theoretical thought has led to a negative answer, a closer examination is not superfluous. For the prejudice concerning the independence of special science in respect to philosophy seems to be nearly unconquerable. It is argued that the special sciences wrested themselves free from philosophy with great difficulty. The Renaissance and the period following are marked by this struggle. Mathematical physics had to fight in order to free itself from the bonds of the Aristotelian philosophy of nature whose doctrine of substantial forms and especially whose non-mathematical conception of natural events was supposed to impede exact physical investigation. In the XIXth century jurisprudence had to struggle against the rationalistic philosophy of natural law (WOLFF c.s.). Even to-day, especially for the students of natural science, the example of "Hegelianism" demonstrates the dangers of a philosophy which tries to meddle in the problems of the special sciences.
     It may be that our transcendental critique has shown the impossibility of the autonomy of philosophical thought in respect to faith and religion. Its argument, however, that even the special sciences lack in principle this autonomy, because they necessarily are founded upon philosophical pre-suppositions, will meet with much more resistance, especially from the side of the exact sciences. And, at least nowadays, we have no occasion to ascribe this resistance merely to a conceited attitude with respect to philosophical reflection as such.
     Logic, ethics, and aesthetics arc generally considered as being parts of philosophy (1).
(1) I Cannot agree with this opinion; Only the special philosophy of logic, ethics and aesthetics does have this character. But, here too, philosophy permeates special scientific thought.
In addition, the concession is made that there must be room for a philosophy of the special sciences and for a general epistemology. But according to the generally held opinion, philosophy and science must remain separate, in order to insure the "objectivity" of the latter. When special sciences operate within their own sphere and employ their own scientific methods, they are to be considered as being independent of philosophy.

The separation of philosophy and the special sciences from the standpoint of modern Humanism.
     Nowadays, Humanism generally concedes that the special sciences are autonomous with respect to philosophy (2).
(2) In modern metaphysical Humanistic philosophy, however, there can be observed some reaction against the tendency of the special sciences to look upon philosophy as something quite indifferent from the view-point of their own empirical research. HANS DRIESCH, for instance writes: "sie i.e. die Naturphilosophie) will nicht nur den Naturwissenschaften eine Lenkerin sein, die ihnen sagt, welche Wege sie gehen müssen, und welche Wege sie nicht gehen dürfen, sondern sie will auch für die Philosophie den einen von jenen Sammelpunkten bedeuten, in welche alle möglichen Wege des Denkens über Gegebenes zusammenlaufen, und welche ihrerseits Wege ausstrahlen lassen in jenes Gebiet, das das Ziel aller Philosophie ist, in die Lehre vom Wirklichen, Nicht-blosz-für-mich-sein: in die Metaphysik (Zwei Vorträge zur Naturphilosophie, Leipzig 1910, S. 21/2. ["It (i.e. the philosophy of nature) does not only want to be a guide of the natural sciences, telling them which roads to choose and which not; but it also wishes philosophy to be one of these central points into which all possible ways of thought about the data meet. From this centre there are roads leading into the sphere that all philosophy aims at, i.e. the theory of reality, of the being that does not exist merely for me, viz. metaphysics. (Two Lectures on Nature-philosophy)]. DRIESCH recognizes that he opposes the commonly held view.
     In the positivistic period of the second half of last [19th] century, speculative philosophy was completely discredited. It has been extremely difficult for philosophy to regain general recognition. Therefore, Humanist thought now seeks to guard against its old errors and grants complete autonomy to the special sciences within their own sphere (3).
(3) On this standpoint it is pre-supposed that "empirical reality" does not have normative aspects, so that there is no room for "normative sciences".
     Even many adherents of the so-called Critical epistemology have changed their attitude in this respect.
     In his critical period, KANT proclaimed three-dimensional space, as an intuitional form, to be a transcendental condition of geometry (4).
(4) In his pre-critical period KANT had admitted the conceivableness of a non-Euclidean space. Cf. his Gedanken von der wahren Schätzung der lebendigen Kräfte (1747, 9 ff) ["Considerations on the true appraisal of the living forces"] and his Allgem. Naturgeschichte des Himmels (1755, IIIth chap.) ["Natural History of the Heavens"].
On this ground, several of his followers (L. RIPKE KÜHN and others) opposed EINSTEIN's theory of relativity. The Marburg school of neo-Kantians, however, hastened to accommodate the Kantian theory of knowledge to the non-Euclidean geometries (GAUSZ, LOBATSCHEWSKY, RIEMANN, BOLYAI and others). The same can be said about the Kantian apriori conception of causal natural law, which was orientated to the classic physics of NEWTON, but could not be maintained against the modern quantum-physics.
     An independent philosophical critique of the method and theoretical constructions of mathematical natural science is, however, impossible when epistemology is exclusively orientated to the "Factum" or (as the Marburg school prefers to say) to the "Fieri" of this science, which must be accepted as it is.
     The universal validity and autarchy of scientific theory must in this case be accepted apriori, since, in rationalistic immanence-philosophy, natural scientific thought occupies the same position in the sphere of "natural reality", as the divine world-order has in Christian philosophy. Epistemology has simply to follow in the footsteps of the special sciences and is thus safe from being in conflict with scientific progress. Philosophy does not guide or give advice but merely reflects upon the course which the special science has followed. It is consequently assured of the good graces of the latter. And the special sciences need take no cognizance of the way in which philosophy seeks to explain epistemologically the course of scientific investigation. The special sciences think they can remain philosophically and religiously neutral. Which sciences can be more neutral than mathematics and physics? When the other special sciences follow the same method, they will need no more philosophical guidance.
     Even when the methodological monism of the classical-Humanistic ideal of science is called into question, the neutrality of the special sciences is generally permitted to go unchallenged. In this connection we need only recall the views of RICKERT and LITT with respect to the relationship between philosophy and the special sciences.
     Nowadays, such conceptions are so deeply rooted in philosophical and scientific circles that very often any divergent opinion is quickly branded as an unscientific return to an antiquated conception of the task of philosophy. Yet we must not be frightened by an overwhelming "communis opinio". We must not hesitate to criticize the current distinction between philosophical and special scientific thought, when it appears to be incompatible with a really critical standpoint.
     We are not blind to the danger of apriori speculative metaphysics, if it concerns itself with the specific problems of science. It is not necessary to parade before our eyes this past spectaculum miserabile, because we reject in principle every speculative metaphysics and demand an integral empirical method in philosophic investigations.

The intrinsic untenability of a separation between science and philosophy.
     It is impossible to establish a line of demarcation between philosophy and science in order to emancipate the latter from the former. Science cannot be isolated in such a way as to give it a completely independent sphere of investigation, and any attempt to do so cannot withstand a serious critique. It would make sense to speak of the autonomy of the special sciences, if, and only if, a special science could actually investigate a specific aspect of temporal reality without theoretically considering its coherence with the other aspects. No scientific thought, however, is possible in such isolation "with closed shutters". Scientific thought is constantly confronted with the temporal coherence of meaning among the modal aspects of reality, and cannot escape from following a transcendental Idea of this coherence. As we have shown in the Prolegomena, even the special sciences investigating the first two modal aspects of human experience, i.e. the arithmetical and the spatial, cannot avoid making philosophical pre-suppositions in this sense.

The impossibility of drawing a line of demarcation between philosophical and scientific thought in mathematics, in order to make this special science autonomous with respect to philosophy.
     Is it possible that modern mathematics would escape from philosophical pre-suppositions with respect to the relationships and coherence of the arithmetic aspect with the spatial, the analytic, the linguistic and sensory ones? Is it permissable to include, with DEDEKIND, the original spatial continuity- and dimensionality-moments in our concept of number? Is mathematics simply axiomatical symbolic logic whose criterion of truth rests exclusively upon the principium contradictionis and the principium exclusi tertii? Does the "transfinite number" really possess numerical meaning? Is it permitted, in a rationalist way, to reduce the subject-side of the numerical aspect to a function of the principle of progression (which is a numerical law) and can we consequently speak of an actually infinitesimal number? Is it justified to conceive of space as a continuum of points? Is it permitted to designate real numbers as spatial points? Is motion possible in the original (mathematical) sense of the spatial aspect?
     This whole series of basic philosophical questions strikes the very heart of mathematical thought. No mathematician can remain neutral to them. With or without philosophical reflection on his pre-suppositions he must make a choice. The possibility of effecting a complete separation between philosophy and mathematics is especially problematical with respect to so-called pure ("non-applied") mathematics, because it is conceived of as an apriori science and its results cannot be tested by natural-scientific experiments (5).
(5) The opinion that pure mathematics would be apriori in this sense, that it may proceed from fully arbitrary axioms, is incompatible with the Christian conception of the divine world-order as the ultimate foundation of all scientific investigation. From our view-point the apriori-character of pure mathematics cannot mean that the latter would be emancipated from the modal structures of the mathematical aspects which are founded in the temporal order of experience. The investigation of these structures can only occur in an empirical way, since they are not created by human thought and are no more apriori "thought-forms", but rather are included in the "modal horizon" of our experience as apriori data. They must be discovered in reflection upon our experience of the mathematical aspects. The Kantian conception of the apriori and the empirical moments in human knowledge identifies the "empirical" with the sensory impressions. We have again and again to establish that this sensationalistic conception of the "empirical" is incompatible with our integral conception of human experience.
Is it not the very task of the philosophy of mathematics to investigate the modal structures of the mathematical aspects on which depend all well-founded judgments in pure mathematics?
     Is it possible to separate the task of mathematical science from that of the philosophy of mathematics by saying that the latter only seeks to explain the epistemological possibility of apriori mathematical knowledge, whose methods and contents must be accepted without any critique?
     But, by such an attempt at demarcation, mathematics is made a "factum", a "fait accompli", and the possibility of a real philosophical criticism of the latter is precluded.
     Such an attitude toward the special sciences may be acceptable in the cadre of a transcendental ground-Idea in which the Humanistic ideal of science has a foundational function, but, in the light of our transcendental critique of theoretical thought, it must be rejected as false and dogmatical.
     It is true that philosophy can only explain the foundations of mathematics, but this does not warrant the ascription of autonomy to mathematical thought, which reaches its focal point in the technique of reckoning, construction, and deduction. Philosophy cannot attribute this autonomy to it, because the mathematician must necessarily work with subjective philosophical pre-suppositions, whose consequences are evident in mathematical theory itself, as we have explained in the "Prolegomena".

The positivistic-nominalistic conception of the merely technical character of constructive scientific concepts and methods.
     The truce between philosophy and the special sciences formulated in the statement that each is to remain in its own sphere, in the final analysis signifies the sanctioning of the positivistic-nominalistic manner of thinking in the sphere of the special sciences. The theoretical scientist is inclined to maintain that — at least in his constructive work — he operates only with technical concepts and methods which are independent of philosophical and a fortiori of religious pre-suppositions.
     Thus a mathematician, for example, will say: In our profession, when we employ the concept of the actual continuity of the series of real numbers, we do so without any philosophical prejudice. We utilize such concepts merely, because we find them practical and instrumental in the acquisition of satisfactory results.
     Similarly, a jurist will say: we use the concept "corporation" (Rechtsperson) as a construction of thought under which we include a whole complex of legal phenomena. We do so from a purely technical juridical consideration, because it is useful and "denkökonomisch", that is to say, in conformity with the principle of logical economy. Behind this technical construction we grant philosophy complete freedom to seek a social reality, a collection of individuals, or a super-individual "person". Or if we formally reduce all positive law to the will of the state and declare the law-giver to be juridically omnipotent, then we do so, detached from each standpoint which is dependent upon a philosophy of law; we are equally detached from every political state-absolutism. We employ the concept of the source of law in a purely formal sense and thereby only express the fact that all positive law derives its formal validity from the state. We grant to the philosophy of law the complete freedom to criticize a specific statute as being erroneous and in conflict with justice. It is quite free to oppose a political state-absolutism by insisting upon the freedom of personality.
The positivistic view of reality versus the jural facts.
     In spite of such contentions, however, the truth of the matter is, that behind such would-be technical concepts are hidden very positive philosophical postulates. This is especially the case with the appeal to the principle of "logical economy" in order to defend the use of theoretical fictions which do not correspond to the true situation of things within the modal aspect of reality that forms the specific field of theoretical research. This appeal is characteristic of a nominalistic-positivism. In the general theory of the modal aspects we shall show in detail that the principle of logical economy has a logical sense only in indissoluble connection with the principium rationis sufficientis, which implies that we really account for the theoretical states of affairs in a sufficient way. It can never justify theoretical fictions, which are only introduced in order to mask the antinomies caused by a false theoretical conception of empirical reality.
     The ruling positivistic conception in jurisprudence identifies empirical reality with its physical-psychical aspects, that is to say with an absolutized theoretical abstraction.
     In this naturalist image of empirical reality there is no room for modal aspects of an intrinsically normative character. The juridical aspect completely loses its irreducible modal meaning if — in the line of the modern so-called "realistic" jurisprudence — it is reduced to physical-psychical phenomena. The juridical facts are the juridical aspect of real facts and within this aspect the latter cannot be established without jural norms to which they are subjected. As soon as in theoretical jurisprudence which maintains the normative character of the legal rules, this structural state of affairs is lost sight of and the "facts" within the juridical aspect are conceived of as "physical-psychical" ones, there originate theoretical antinomies which are usually masked by the introduction of "theoretical fictions". And again and again it is the principle of "logical economy of thought" which is called into play to justify these fictions.
     We shall return to this state of affairs in the second volume when we engage in a detailed investigation of theoretical antinomies.
     In the present context we want only to stress the fact that behind the so-called "non-philosophical" positivist standpoint in jurisprudence there is hidden a philosophical view of reality, which cannot be neutral in respect to faith and religion.

NB:  Sa chlàr bheag seo tha B, C, D ceangailte ris na sfèaran-lagha as àirde a bhuineas riu mar shuibseigean. Ach bu chòir aire a thoirt gu bheil iad fhathast gnìomhach mar oibseigean sna sfèaran uile eile aig "A". Mar eisimpler, faodaidh clach a bhi na samhla laghail is eachdraidheil; fuingsean soilleir a bhi aig craoibh no blàth sna raointean estètigeach, eaconamach, beusach, creidmheach; chìthear gu furasta gu bheil sèithear gnìomhach sna sfèaran eaconomach, estètigeach agus sòisealta; tha fhios gu bheil iad uile gnìomhach mar chuspairean cànain. Agus mar sin air adhart. Uime sin tha e deatamach a bhi cumail nar cuimhne gu bheil gach uile nì tìmeil (gnìomhan-smaoine daonna cuideachd) sìor-ghnìomhach ann an gach uile sfèar-lagha.

NB: Though this brief chart keys B, C, D to the aspects which qualify them as subjects, it should be borne in mind that each still functions as an object in the remaining "A-related" aspects. E.g. a stone can symbolize a legal, historical, boundary; a tree or flower may clearly function in aesthetic, economic, ethical, pistical aspects; a chair obviously features in economic, aesthetic, and social aspects; all feature lingually, and so on. Thus it is paramount to note that all temporal things (including human acts of thought) always function in all aspects. (F. MacFh.)

The modal-functional and the typical structures of reality.
Under the mask of philosophical and "weltanschauliche" neutrality, the technical pragmatic conception of scientific thought has done a great deal of mischief, especially in the branches of theoretical research which find their "Gegenstand" in modal aspects of temporal reality whose laws are of a normative character.
     To make this clear I will briefly indicate the difference between the typical concept of a structure of individuality and the modal concept of function, which difference is set forth in detail in the second and third volume. In every modal aspect we can distinguish:
     1 - a general functional coherence which holds in mutual correspondence the individual functions of things, events, or social relationships within a specific modal law-sphere; this coherence exists independently of the typical differences between these things, events or social relationships which function within the same modal aspect.
     2 - the typical structural differences manifesting themselves within a modal aspect and which are only to be understood in terms of the structures of individuality of temporal reality in its integral inter-modal coherence.
     Some states of affairs taken from the juridical and physical aspects may suffice for the present to make clear this distinction. As we have observed in the Prolegomena, the structures of individuality embrace all modal aspects without exception and group them together in different typical ways within individual totalities. However, they also express themselves within each of their modal aspects by typicalizing the general modal relations and functions.
     In the juridical aspect of reality, all phenomena are joined in a jural-functional coherence. Viewed according to the norm-side of this aspect, this means that constitutional law and civil law, internal ecclesiastical law, internal trade law, internal law of trade-unions and other organizations, international law, etc. do not function apart from each other, but are joined in a horizontal-functional coherence, a coherence guaranteed by the modal structure of the juridical aspect itself. When we view only this universal functional coherence between the various sorts of law, we abstract it from the internal structural differences which the latter display.
     This general functional view-point is highly abstract; it only teaches us to recognize the modal functions within the juridical aspect apart from the typical structures of individuality which are inherent in reality in its integral character. It is absolutely impossible to approach the internal structural differences between the typical sorts of law, solely with a general juridical concept of function. Therefore, it must be clear that the general modal concept of law can never contain the typical characteristics of state-law.
     Similarly, the general functional coherence between phenomena within the physical aspect is to be abstractly viewed as indifferent in respect to the internal typical differences displayed by reality within its structures of individuality. To discover the general laws of physical interaction, physics views all physical phenomena under the modal functional denominator of energy.
     The physical concept of function (6) is a systematic concept "par excellence", because it possesses the capacity of grasping the universal horizontal coherence of all possible physical phenomena within this modality.
(6) It will be evident that we do not mean here the concept of function in the specific sense of the infinitesimal calculus. It is used here only in the sense of modal function, abstracted from the typical structures of individuality.
     As long as this functional view dominates exclusively, scientific thought does not view the actual things of nature with their internal structures of individuality. A tree, an animal, and so on (as well as an "atom", a "molecule", and a "cell") undoubtedly have physical-chemical functions in their internal structure as a thing of nature; but an exclusively functional view of the physical aspect of reality reveals nothing within the energy-relations of the universum that could eventually delineate itself as the typical structure of an individual totality. Such a functional view only discloses external relations of abstract "energy" or "matter", relations which exceed any internal structural difference, and which are grasped according to the functional aspect of physical law. This functional view was from the outset evident in the formulation of NEWTON's law of gravitation, which law is independent of the typical structures of "things", and actually dominates the physical universum. A pencil falling to the ground is subjected to this law just as much as the motions of the planets.
    But there is no single science, except pure mathematics, which is not confronted with reality in its typical structures of individuality. Chemistry essentially investigates the same modal law-sphere as physics, but it can no longer operate solely with a general concept of function, no more than physics itself, since the discovery of the internal atom-structures. Free fluttering electrons may only display bare functional properties of mass and charge, of motion, attraction, and repulsion, but as soon they function, bound within the structure of an atom or molecule, they display specific properties in which internal structural differences enforce themselves.
     The distinction between modal-functional and typical structures of reality which we have just shown to be present in the juridical and physical modalities, can also be discovered within all the remaining modal aspects. We shall later demonstrate this in detail.

The absolutization of the concept of function and the illegitimate introduction of a specific structural concept of individuality as a functional one.
     What have we seen take place under the influence of the positivistic view of the task of science? In keeping with the postulate of continuity of the Humanistic science-ideal, the concept of function was absolutized in order to eradicate the modal diversity of meaning which exists between the modal aspects. At the same time the attempt was made to erase completely the typical structures of individuality which reality displays within the modalities investigated. But, especially in the so-called "pure theory of law" (reine Rechtslehre) and in "pure economics", there often can be observed a curious confusion of the modal-functional and the typical structural view-points. Often unintentionally, under the guise of a general concept of function, a specific concept of a typical structure of individuality is introduced in order to level all other typical differences of structure within the investigated aspect of reality.
    Consequently, the supposed merely general modal concept of function is in truth transposed into a typical structural concept.
   Under the guise of an abstract purely functional view-point the so-called Austrian school in its "pure economics", absolutized free market relations at the expense of the other typical structures of society, which manifest themselves within the economic aspect of reality.
    In the same way the so-called "pure theory of law", developed by HANS KELSEN and his neo-Kantian school, tried to construe a merely functional-logical coherence between all typical spheres of positive law, either from the hypothesis of the sovereignty of state-law or from the hypothesis of the sovereignty of international law. In the first case, all the other typical juridical spheres were in a pseudo-logical way reduced to state-law; in the second case, to law of a supposed international superstate (civitas maxima). The confusion between modal-functional and typical-structural view-points was completed by the pseudological identification of law and state, or of law and super-state, respectively.
     But if state and law were identical, it makes no sense to speak of state-law. And if — as KELSEN thinks — from a purely juridical view-point all positive juridical norms are of the same formal nature, and typical material differences should be considered as meta-juridical, then it is contradictory to introduce into this modal-functional conception of law the typical characteristics of state-law or super-state-law.
     Just as all other spheres of human society, the state possesses an internal structure of individuality which functions in all modal aspects of temporal reality. This is precisely the reason why the state cannot be grasped in an abstract concept of function, no more than its typical juridical sphere.
     The modal concept of function is falsified, if under the guise of a merely functional view of law, the whole problem of the sources of law is orientated toward the state or the international community of states, respectively (7).
(7) In biological theory there is often found a confusion of the modal-functional concept of organic life with a concept of substance, referring to a living being as an individual totality. Compare DRIESCH' conception of "organic life" as an entelechy, or WOLTERECK'S conception of organic life as a material living "substance" (matrix), which has an outer material constellation and an inner side of life-experience. Cf. my treatise The concept of substance in recent natural philosophy and the theory of the enkaptic structural whole ("Het substantiebegrip in de moderne natuurphilosophie en de theorie van het enkaptisch structuurgeheel") publ. in the quarterly review Philosophia Reformata (15th year p. 66 140).
     Setting aside this aberration, it is advisable to make the following clear: The absolutization in scientific thought of the functionalist view-point is not neutral with respect to philosophy or religion. Rather it must be viewed as the fruit of a nominalist view of science which is grounded in the Humanistic science-ideal, although nowadays this latter has undergone a degeneration in consequence of its purely technical conception, especially in the positivist school of ERNST MACH and the younger logical positivism of the Vienna school. In modern times psychology and the cultural sciences have reacted against the complete domination of this functionalistic science-ideal. In the main this reaction comes from the side of the irrationalistic antipode of this functionalism.

The dependence of empirical sciences upon the typical structures of individuality. The revolution of physics in the 20th century.
     I do not deny that experimental and descriptive sciences are strongly bound to empirical reality in its modal-functional and in its typical structures. In other words I do not deny the fact that the insufficiency or incorrectness of rationalistic levelling methods can appear in the course of empirical research by the discovery of stringent facts. In the twentieth century physics, for example, underwent a revolution and had to abandon its classic functionalistic concept of causality, matter, physical space and time. The theory of relativity and the quantum-theory have reduced NEWTON's physical conception of the world to a mere marginal instance.
     In keeping with the Humanist ideal of science, the classic mechanical concept of causality aimed at an absolute functionalization of reality in a strictly deterministic sense. This concept of causality could not explain the micro-structure of the physical side of reality, disclosed by continued investigation. PLANCK's discovery of the quantum-structure of energy and HEISENBERG's relations of uncertainty made it no longer possible to reduce the physical processes to a bare continuous causal coherence. On experimental grounds, the quantum theory and the theory of relativity radically broke with NEWTON's conception of matter as a static substance filling absolute space and subject to completely determined causal processes in "absolute time".
     The discovery of radio-activity taught the physicist to recognize an autonomous physical change which takes place entirely within the internal structure of the atom, and which cannot be explained in terms of any external functional cause. But the discovery of phenomena which cannot be comprehended in a classical concept of function does not in any way insure that they will be interpreted correctly and in a manner that is philosophically and religiously neutral. On the contrary, it is quite obvious that the scientific attitude of the leading investigators of nature is profoundly influenced by their theoretical total view of reality. It is evident, for instance, that MACH's and OSTWALD's opposition to the acceptance of real atoms and light waves, and their attempt to resolve the physical concept of causality into a purely mathematical concept of function, was dependent upon their positivist sensualistic standpoint in philosophy. B. BAVINK pointed out that the modern trend in physics which, following HEISENBERG and JORDAN, declared itself to be in favour of a fundamental abandonment of the concept of causality in physics, did so on the basis of philosophical considerations which it owed to MACH and AVENARIUS (8).
(8) Ergebnisse und Probleme der Naturwissenschaften ("Results and Problems of the Natural Sciences") (9th ed. 1948, p. 233 fl.). In my opinion it is not permitted to identify this fundamental concept with the deterministic one, which has originated from the classic mechanical image of reality. The concept of causality has a so-called analogous character. Every empirical science must conceive it in the special modal sense of its field of inquiry. The mechanistic-deterministic conception has turned out to be incompatible with the very nature of physical phenomena. But this does not prove that every physical concept of causality has become meaningless.
     The conflict concerning philosophical foundations is not alien to the heart of special sciences. In fact it is the physicist who is in danger of uncritically accepting positivist and nominalist pre-suppositions. By blindly contemplating the "technical" side of his field, he is soon inclined to accept, without even being aware of their philosophical implications, a nominalistic view of physical problems and a merely technical-constructive view of physical methods and concepts.
     From the standpoint of physics alone, may a physicist accept the thesis that a mathematically formulated theory must be considered as correct, if it explains in the simplest way possible the phenomena known up until the present time by bringing them in a functional coherence? In other words is the principle of logical economy in the positivist and so-called empirio-critical sense, in which it is conceived of by MACH and AVENARIUS, the only criterion of correctness in physics?
     Recall the conflict concerning EINSTEIN's theory of relativity which was not only conducted in philosophical circles but also in natural-scientific ones.
     Recall the controversy between PLANCK, V. LAUE, LENARD and other physicists on the one hand, and SCHRÖDINGER, HEISENBERG, JORDAN on the other, in which the question was discussed as to whether or not the physical concept of causality could in principle still be maintained in the further development of the quantum theory.
     Was the former situation in classical physics a matter of indifference to the Christian examiner of nature? Was it of no consequence to him, that classical physics adopted an essentially rationalistic view of empirical reality in which the entire individual factual side of the physical aspect was fundamentally reduced to the purely functionalistically conceived of law-side? In other words ought we to accept physical determinism as correct with respect to the situation of physics in the 19th century, because it could arrange most of the then known phenomena in a systematic functional coherence?
     And is it immaterial to the Christian physicist whether or not physics may be identified with the conventionalist conception that the Vienna school has of it? If it really was indifferent to physics to choose a position in this question, the term "science" might become meaningless. For science pre-supposes a theoretical view of reality (9), because it must continually appeal to it.
(9) BAVINK (op. cit., p. 271) remarks: "Für die Physik sind vielmehr die Moleküle und die Lichtwellen, die Felder und ihre Tensoren" u.s.w. von genau derselber Wirklichkeitsart wie Steine und Bäume, Pflanzenzellen oder Fixsterne." ["For physics the molecules and light-waves, the electromagnetic fields and their tensors etc. are rather of exactly the same sort of reality as stones and trees, vegetable cells or fixed stars]. But he overlooks the fact that physics has eliminated the naïve view of reality!
The defense of the autonomy of the special sciences from the so-called critical realistic standpoint.
     From the standpoint of so-called critical realism (10), B. BAVINK, the famous German philosopher of nature, has tried to make clear that natural science is autonomous with respect to philosophy: "The principal point is not at all with what methods and means of thought we should approach things, but rather what resulted and probably will result further from this approach which for centuries we have executed with the greatest success without any epistemology. The whole question is not at all a question of epistemology, but rather of ontology, that is to say, it does not matter how I ought to think the world or can or must think it, but how it really is" (11).
(10) "Critical" realism (Ed. v. HARTMANN, ERICH BECKER, RIEHL, MESSER, KÜLPE, and others) proceeded from KANT's critical conception of human knowledge. But, in contradistinction to KANT, it acknowledges that the categories of thought sustain a relation to the "Dinge an sich": It repudiates the Kantian view that the "thing in itself" is unknowable. Thus it falls back upon the metaphysics of the Humanistic ideal of science, which in BAVINK is accommodated to scholastic realism (universalia in re et ante rem; see his cited work, p. 264). In opposition to KANT's transcendental idealism it accepts a metaphysical conception of the categories.
     BAVINK thinks that the categories can only be derived aposteriori from a scientific investigation of nature. He rejects KANT's categories of relation as being in conflict with the present state of physics. In contrast, he ascribes to KANT's teleological view of nature a real rather than a fictitious significance in respect to "nature in itself". Because of its starting point, "critical realism" must misconstrue and reject the naïve experience of reality. In volume III we shall develop this point at greater length.
(11) Op. cit., 5th ed. 1933, p. 204: "Es handelt sich gar nicht zuerst darum, mit welchen Denkmethoden und Denkmitteln wir an die Dinge heran zu gehen hatten, sondern darum, was bei diesem Herangehen, das wir ohne alle Erkenntnistheorie seit Jahrhunderten mit grösztem Erfolge ausgeübt haben, herausgekommen ist und mutmaszlich weiter herauskommen wird. Die ganze Frage ist gar keine Frage der Erkenntnistheorie, sondern eine Frage der Ontologie, d.h. es kommt nicht darauf an, wie ich mir die Welt denken soll oder kann oder musz, sondern wie sie wirklich ist." In the 9th ed. the first sentence has been omitted, but the standpoint itself has not been changed.
     This statement seems to be philosophically neutral, but it really depends upon a sharply defined apriori philosophical view of the cosmos. It is only meaningful on the condition of our accepting a constellation of reality in which the physical universum is opposed to human thought as a "world in itself", a constellation in which reality is shut off in its pre-sensory natural aspects (12). There is a connection between this view of the cosmos and BAVINK's agreement with the epistemological conception of the merely subjective character of "secondary qualities" (the objective sensory properties of colour, smell, taste, etc.) (13).
(12) BAVINK does not consider "nature" and "reason" as two absolutely distinct and uncrossable spheres, but considers "nature" as being "rational" in its deepest foundation (op. cit., p. 273 fl.). This is in keeping with critical realism, especially in its scholastic accommodation to the Augustinian doctrine of the divine Logos. It does not contradict the metaphysical conception of a physical world "in itself", independent of the mutual coherence of all modal aspects in cosmic time. It does only imply that in this physical world "in itself" is expressed the "divine Reason" which is also the origin of human reason. According to this view "nature in itself" must be "rational" in an absolute objective sense. This objective rationality of physical order is quite independent of and has in itself no relation to the logical subjective function of man. But the latter has a relation to the former.
(13) Op. cit., p. 59. In this connection I am speaking of "objective" as related to possible adequate subjective sensory perception or sensation. BAVINK does not see the modal difference between the physical electromagnetic waves with their different frequencies and the objective sensory qualities which are founded upon the former. But his opinion is in keeping with the current physiological and psychological conception which lacks an insight into the modal structures of the different aspects.
     If it is true, however, that cosmic reality, as a universal and temporal coherence of meaning, does not permit itself to be enclosed within its pre-sensory sides, then BAVINK's view of reality and his conception of the autonomy of science is false. In other words, if the physical aspect of the cosmos is not separate from the psychical-sensory and logical, and, if subject-object-relations exist in reality, then it is meaningless to speak of a "nature in itself".
     The physical modality of reality does not permit itself to be comprehended by scientific thought apart from a subjective insight into the mutual relation and coherence of the modalities within the cosmic temporal order.

Experiments do not disclose a static reality, given independently of logical thought; rather they point to the solution of questions concerning an aspect of reality which, under the direction of theoretical thought, is involved in a process of enrichment and opening of its meaning.
     The physical aspect of reality does not represent itself in sensory perception as upon a sensitive plate in a photographical apparatus, nor is it arranged "an sich" according to theoretical categories. But, because of the very intermodal coherence of the aspects, physical phenomena have an objective analogon in the sensory ones; they must be subjectively interpreted in scientific thought and thereby logically opened. In this connection the question as to how the physical aspect ought to be understood in its relation to the other aspects of reality is extremely important.
     The experimental method is essentially a method of isolation and abstraction. Experiments do no more disclose to us the physical aspect of phenomena as a fixed or static reality in itself, independent of theoretical thought, but rather as an opened aspect of meaning, which, in its cosmic coherence with the logical one is enriched and unfolded by disclosing its logical anticipations under the direction of scientific thought. For, as we have observed repeatedly, every modal aspect of temporal reality expresses its cosmic coherence with all the others in its modal structure.
     Experiments are always pointed to the solution of theoretical questions which the scientist himself has raised and formulated.
    BAVINK's opinion that in the course of centuries physics has been able to achieve its greatest results without any aid from epistemology is unworthy of a thinker who is trained in the history of science and philosophy. The truth is that modern physics rests upon epistemological pre-suppositions which have had to wage a sharp fight against the formerly ruling Aristotelian conception of nature (14), and which only little by little have been generally accepted since the days of GALILEO and NEWTON.
(14) One need only think of the application of the mathematical concept of function and the introduction of the exact method of experimentation without which modern physics would be impossible.
Most physicists carry on their investigations without being conscious of their philosophical implications and accept the fundamentals of their science as axioms. This sort of philosophical naïvety is very dangerous for a Christian scientist.
     For in addition to the gains that it reached in physics, GALILEO's and NEWTON's epistemology implied a purely quantitative and functionalistical view of reality. The latter was not restricted to physics and became the very content of the rationalistic Humanistic science-ideal.
     BAVINK's arguments in defence of the philosophical neutrality of physics, which at first glance seem to be strong, on second thoughts appeared to be not free of pre-suppositions which exceed science. Although he rejects apriori rationalism and the nominalist conventionalism of the Vienna circle, his own opinion concerning the philosophical neutrality of science depends upon a specific philosophical view of reality which to a high degree rests upon an absolutization of the functionalistic view-point of natural sciences (15), which has no room for naïve experience.
(15) Compare especially op. cit. p. 272 fl.
The appeal to reality in scientific investigation is never philosophically and religiously neutral. Historicism in science.
     The appeal to "reality" in scientific investigation is never free from a philosophical and religious prejudice. Allow me this time to choose the example of the science of history. RANKE said of the latter, that it only has to establish how the events have really happened ("wie es wirklich gewesen ist"). But in the word "wirklich" (really) there is a snare. For it is impossible for a particular science to grasp an event in its full reality. History, as all other special sciences, can only examine a particular aspect of the latter. Consequently, it groups and arranges historical material in a theoretical modal analysis of temporal reality, without which it could not focus its attention upon the historical aspect.
     In the second volume we shall analyze in detail the modal structure of the latter in order to delimit the true "Gegenstand" of historical investigation. This branch of science pre-supposes a theoretical view of reality which has a philosophical character, since historical investigation can only comprehend the historical aspect in its theoretical coherence with the remaining aspects. Now it is extremely easy for Historicism to gain adherents among historians. Historicism, as we know, is a view of reality which eradicates the boundaries between the modalities and subsumes all other aspects of temporal reality under an historical common denominator. In Part II of this volume we have seen how, since the beginning of the 19th century, Historicism exerted an enormous influence upon the foundation of scientific thought.
     The Historical school of jurisprudence proclaimed positive law to be an "historical phenomenon". At the same time it had a great influence on the current view of society and on the theory of the state.
     If the state is viewed historically, then it is especially considered in its modal aspect of power. As we shall show in the second volume of this work, power is the central moment in the modal structure of the historical aspect. Under the influence of Historicism this fact has given rise to the idea that the state, in its total reality, is an organization of power. The empirical reality of the state is, in this way, theoretically identified with its historical aspect.
     As a matter of fact, the integral typical structure of the state is in this way completely misrepresented. It cannot be enclosed in its historical aspect of power, no more than it can be comprehended as a purely juridical, economical, or psychological phenomenon. Its typical structure embraces all these modal aspects, but cannot be identified with any of them.
     The attempt to comprehend the state purely in its historical aspect of power, accompanied by a claim to religious and philosophical neutrality, results in a view which offers a false theoretical abstraction instead of the state as it veritably exists.

The conflict between the functionalistic-mechanistic, the neo-vitalistic and holistic trends in modern biology.
     Biology also offers many examples of a functionalistic view of reality in which a specific modal aspect is absolutized. The theory of evolution developed a mechanical genetic concept of species that eradicated the internal structural principles of individuality. It was believed that this did not exceed the limits of biological thought.
     Modern biology has become the scene of a sharp internal controversy due to the different theoretical views of empirical reality. The holistic school has sought to reconcile the conflict between the mechanists and the neo-vitalists. The former operated with a mechanical concept of function, and attempted to reduce the modal aspect of organic life to the physical-chemical which was conceived of in the obsolete mechanistic sense.
     The neo-vitalists, following DRIESCH, have seen that the mechanistic method is insufficient to grasp the material examined by biology. DRIESCH, however, did not attack the mechanistic conception of matter as a purely physical-chemical constellation which should be enclosed in itself and completely determined by mechanical causality. He only denied that organic life can be reduced to a physical-chemical constellation of matter. He did not see that organic life is nothing but a modal aspect of reality. Consequently, he proclaimed it to be a reality in itself: an immaterial entelechy, a substance which would direct the material process without derogating from the principle of conservation of energy. Thus the attempt was made to correct an absolutized concept of function by means of a concept of substance, understood in a pseudo-Aristotelian sense. But this "immaterial substance" was itself the result of a new absolutization. And the latter was destructive for the theoretical insight into the typical temporal coherence between the biotical and the physical-chemical aspects, within the total structure of individuality of a living organism.
     Holism made the attempt to conquer the antinomical dualism of DRIESCH's conception. It had the intention to bridge this dualism by a conception of structural totality. The typical structures of individual totalities, however, cannot be grasped in theoretical thought without a correct theoretical insight into the mutual relations between its different modal aspects. The holistic school lacked this insight. Consequently it fell back upon the functionalist attempt to construe a conception of the whole of a living organism by levelling the modal boundaries of meaning of its different aspects. Whereas mechanism tried to reduce the biotical aspect to the physical-chemical one, holism followed the reverse procedure.
     The philosophical conflict concerning the foundations of biology intervenes in the centre of scientific problems (16), and up to now, it is exclusively conducted within the cadre of a Humanist view of science.
(16) Any one who wants to acquire a sharp view of this state of affairs, should read the work of Prof. Dr R. WOLTERECK, Grundzüge einer allgemeinen Biologie (1932) {"Principal Traits of a General Biology"}.
Can the Christian biologist choose sides in the sense of a mechanistic, a vitalistic or an holistic view of the living organism? Or will he consider it safer to hide behind the positivist mask of neutrality? For it is a naïve (17) positivism that has caused the idea of philosophical neutrality to dominate the special sciences.
(17) Translator's note: Naïve in the sense that the thinker is ignorant of his own philosophical pre-suppositions. D. H. F. [David Hugh Freeman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Wilson College, 1953]
Our conclusion is, however, that the positivistic conception of special science cannot be reconciled to a Christian cosmonomic Idea.
     As soon as a special science was born, it was confronted with philosophical problems concerning the modal structure of the special aspect which has to delimit its field of research.
     It makes no sense to say that special science can neglect these problems, because it has to do with the investigation of empirical phenomena alone. Empirical phenomena have as many modal aspects as human experience has. Consequently it cannot be the phenomena themselves which constitute the special scientific fields of research. It is only the theoretical gegenstand-relation between the logical aspect of our thought and the non-logical aspects of experience which gives rise to the fundamental division of these fields and to the philosophical problems implied in it.
     No more can philosophy neglect the results of special scientific research of the empirical phenomena, because exactly in these phenomena the inter-modal coherence between the modal structures of the aspects is realized. And the typical structures of individuality can be studied only in their empirical realization, on condition that their modal aspects are correctly distinguished.
     Therefore an interpenetration of philosophy and special science is unescapable, although the former cannot restrict itself to the philosophical problems implied in the special sciences, since it has also to give an account of the data of naive experience.

     The relationship between special science and Christian philosophy has up until now only been provisionally considered. It has been treated here within the general cadre of our transcendental critique of scientific thought. What I am suggesting concerning the mutual penetration of Christian philosophy and science can only be presented in a more concrete fashion after the development of our general theory of the modal aspects and of the typical structures of individuality. With respect to jurisprudence and sociology I have done this in detail in my Encyclopaedia of Jurisprudence (3 vols.), which will soon be published. With respect to the biological problems I may refer to the second volume of my Reformation and Scholasticism in Philosophy. Furthermore, I may refer to many special investigations by others who adhere to this philosophy. For the present our only concern was to show that, in the light of the Biblical ground-motive of the Christian religion, the modern Humanistic division between science and philosophy cannot be maintained. In fact, even upon the Humanistic standpoint this division cannot hold its own against a serious immanent critique.

Herman Dooyeweerd, New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol I/ Part III/ Chapt 2/§ 3 pp 545-566)