Video by Cristóbal VilaSchema of the basic structure and the polar types of the Humanistic cosmonomic Idea, in confrontation with the Christian ground-Idea.
In parts I and II of this volume we have examined in detail the antithesis between the basic structure of the Humanistic transcendental ground-Idea in its various types and that of the
Christian one. We will now give a parallel schematical presentation of both ground-Ideas and their different implications. A cursory glance will suffice here to show the impossibility of any real compromise.
- Dooyeweerd in his "New Critique of Theoretical Thought" presents the entire Humanist schema followed by the entire Christian schema. The liberty has been taken here to rather alternate the contrasting views heading by heading.
-When challenging terminology is encountered (e.g. "cosmonomic"), please visit Dr J. Glenn Friesen's excellent Dooyeweerd Glossary.
Basic structure of the Humanistic ground-Idea.
Basic structure of the Christian transcendental ground-Idea as theoretical expression of the pure Biblical religious ground-motive.
HUMANISTIC: Archimedean point is the selfhood in its apostasy to the immanence standpoint, in its conscious or unconscious absolutizing of the theoretical attitude of thought (the "cogito" in rationalistic and irrationalistic conceptions).
The insight that theoretical thought has been made absolute is completely lost in that irrationalistic conception of the Archimedean point according to which the cogito is replaced by the "vivo", or the "exsisto", respectively.
CHRISTIAN: Christ as the new religious root of the temporal cosmos, from which regenerate mankind receives its spiritual life, in subjection to the central religious meaning of the law: the love of God and one's fellow man with all one's heart.
Although in this Archimedean point philosophical thought is emancipated from the obscuring influence of sin, yet, in time, it continues to be subject to error, through the activity of the apostate root of existence.
Christian freedom is only guaranteed in constant subjection to the Word of God which reveals us to ourselves.
The heart in its pregnant Biblical sense as religious root and centre of the whole of human existence may never be identified with the function of "feeling" or that of "faith", neither is it a complex of functions like the metaphysical concept of soul which is found in Greek and Humanistic metaphysics; it is alien to any dualism between the body (as a complex of natural functions) and the soul (as a complex of psychical and normative functions).
The heart is not a blind, or dumb witness, even though it transcends the boundary of cosmic time with its temporal diversity of modal aspects, and temporal thought within this diversity. For it is the fulness of our selfhood in which all our temporal functions find their religious concentration and consummation of meaning; "Ego, in Christo regeneratus, etiam cogitans ex Christo vivo" ["I, made alive again in Christ, so think from within the living Christ" (trans. FMF)], versus the Cartesian "cogito ergo sum" ["I think, therefore I am"], and the irrationalistic "vivo in fluxu continuo, etiam cogitans" ["I live in continuous flux, thinking included." (trans. FMF)].
Religious ground-motive of philosophic thought::
HUMANISTIC: Nature and freedom. This dialectical motive originated from a secularization of the Christian Idea of creation and freedom, emancipating human personality from its religious dependence upon the God of Revelation.
- Basic problem: The intrinsically contradictory relation between the ideals of science and of personality with their different basic denominators.
- Polar tensions: manifesting themselves within particular types of antinomies:
- The Faustian passion to dominate reality, expressing itself in the Idea of creative scientific thought, versus the Titanic notion of practical freedom expressing itself in the idea of absolute sovereign personality.
- Pessimism versus optimism.
- Rationalistic individualism versus irrationalistic trans-personalism.
- Universal validity versus individuality, form versus matter, theory versus life.
- Speculative metaphysics of the science- or personality-ideal versus scepticism as the result of an unbridled extension of the ideal of science over its own foundations; concept of function versus concept of substance.
CHRISTIAN: The Biblical motive of creation, fall into sin, and redemption in Jesus Christ in the communion of the Holy Spirit. This implies the conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness in the root and the temporal coherence of our cosmos. It implies, too, the recognition of the checking of the disintegrating activity of sin by common grace, because of the regenerate human race that is accepted and hallowed by God in Christ as the Head (particular grace). This basic motive does not lead to antinomies in philosophical thought, but rather to an absolute antithesis with all philosophy which is dominated by apostate ground-motives. It also leads to a thankful recognition of all the gifts and talents that God has left to fallen humanity.
By belonging to Christ the Christian is in a daily fight, also in philosophical thought, against the "flesh", in its Biblical sense, against our apostate ego, which absolutizes the temporal and withdraws it from God.
Idea of origin:
HUMANISTIC: with hypostatizing of modal laws (rationalism in all variegations, from naturalism under the primacy of the science-ideal to freedom-idealism under the primacy of the ideal of personality, with its hypostatizing of the categorical imperative): "Reason" as lawgiver.
- Under the primacy of the science-ideal: absolutized special scientific thought (mathematical, mechanical, biological, psychological etc.);
- Under the primacy of the ideal of personality: transcendental thought in its apriori syntheses, directed towards the Idea of freedom.
- With the dualistic-transcendental type of ground-Idea (KANT): transcendental thought in its relation to the experience of nature, as the formal origin of the laws of nature, and transcendental thought as "practical reason" in its direction toward the Idea of autonomous freedom, as the origin of the norms of moral freedom.
- With the speculative metaphysical conception of the ideal of science or ideal of personality: "reason" (in a theoretical or in a practical sense) is, in a final hypostatization, identified with the deity.
- with hypostatizing of the individual subjectivity (irrationalism in all its variegations, from biologistic vitalism to irrationalistic dialectical spiritualism and historicism): the dialectical, or the hermeneutical thought which absolutizes the subjective side of reality in one of its modal aspects, and rejects the conception of general laws; in a speculative metaphysical trend of this irrationalistic Idea of origin the ἀρχή (archē) is called "spirit" (Geist), with the idealistic, and "Lebenstrom", with the naturalistic and historicist types. Usually "Lebens-philosophie" lacks insight into the theoretical character of its Idea of origin.
CHRISTIAN: The origin of the Law and of individual subjectivity, according to their religious unity and temporal diversity in the coherence of meaning, is God's holy sovereign creative will. Our cosmos is equally the creation of God with respect to its law- and subject-side; the law is the absolute boundary between God and His creation, that is to say all creatures are by nature subject to the law, God alone is "legibus solutus" (sed non ex lex, as in nominalism).
Idea of the totality of meaning:
HUMANISTIC: With hypostatizing of modal laws:
- Under the primacy of the science-ideal: the mathematical or natural scientific system of functional relations within the absolutized aspect of temporal reality, considered as an infinite task for scientific thought; thereby all other aspects are conceived of as modi of the aspect which has been absolutized in theoretical thought (e.g. the mathematical, mechanical, biological or psychical).
In the metaphysical-speculative trend of the science-ideal the Idea of the totality of meaning is grasped in the metaphysical concept of substance, (dualistic, pluralistic and monistic systems have been elaborated in this sense).
- Under the primacy of the ideal of personality: the Idea of the "homo noumenon" as a categorical imperative (FICHTE in both of his earlier periods etc).
- The dualistic-transcendental ground-Idea of KANT lacks an unequivocal circumscription of the Idea of totality of meaning. The latter should here also be conceived in a dualistic sense. But KANT holds to an agnosticism in respect to the metaphysical background of "nature", the "Ding an sich"! The theoretical Idea of totality is exclusively conceived of in its relation to natural science, but does not refer to the root of reality. The practical Idea of totality is conceived of in the moralistic sense of moral autonomy and freedom.
- In the modern idealistic value-philosophy the transcendental trend continues to recognize the primacy of the ideal of personality. The Idea of totality is here grasped in the Idea of the "totality of values" (in which theoretical and a-theoretical values are united into a hierarchical order to be established by human personality in autonomous freedom).
- With hypostatizing of modal aspects of the individual subjectivity (irrationalism):
Under the primacy of the ideal of personality: in a metaphysical vitalistic trend: the creative "Lebenstrom" (vital stream) with its infinite succession of individual forms (BERGSON)
- In a psychological trend: the totality of feeling (feeling-philosophy: compare GOETHE: "Gefühl ist alles"!).
- In a historicist trend: the historical stream of experience (DILTHEY, SPENGLER etc.).
- In an absolute idealist trend: the absolute Idea in its dialectical development through the totality of creative individuality under the common denominator of the absolutized aspect (aesthetic, moral, historical irrationalism, etc.) : a formal limitation is possible through the system of transcendental thought forms.
CHRISTIAN: The direction of philosophical thought toward Christ as the root and fulness of meaning of the cosmos; Christ fulfilled the law and in Him all subjective individuality is concentrated in its fulness of meaning; nothing in our temporal cosmos is withdrawn from Him, there is no sphere of "indifferent things" - "adiaphora" (Compare ST. PAUL'S statement: "Whatsoever ye eat or drink, do to the glory of God."
Idea of the inter-modal coherence of meaning between the modal aspects of reality:
HUMANISTIC: with hypostatizing of modal laws (rationalism)
- Under the primacy of the science-ideal: the continuity of the movement of thought within the absolutized aspect of meaning is made the philosophical basic denominator of reality (therefore, different types of this idea of continuity: mathematicism, mechanism, biologism, psychologism) : recognition of a relative diversity of meaning as to the other aspects of reality in the continuous coherence of thought.
- Under the primacy of the ideal of personality: the continuity of the Idea of freedom which intends to establish a deeper coherence between the different modal aspects by means of a common denominator chosen in a normative aspect of temporal reality; in value-philosophy: the axiological hierarchy of values, established in autonomous freedom.
- With hypostatizing of modal aspects of the individual subjectivity (irrationalism) : Under the primacy of the ideal of personality:
- In the metaphysical, psychological-vitalistic trend : the continuous coherence of the creative stream of life in which all individual moments permeate each other in a qualitative duration.
- In the relativistic-transcendental trend within historicism: the continuous dialectical historical stream of experience (the transcendental "vivo").
- In the absolute idealistic trend: the logical-dialectical continuity in the self-development of the absolute Idea in its dialectical passage through the totality of its individual forms in historical time.
Observation concerning above: the Humanistic Idea of the coherence of the different modal aspects of the cosmos is at every point incompatible with the acceptance of a divine cosmic order which would abolish the sovereignty of reason or of theoretical consciousness.
CHRISTIAN: The inter-modal coherence of meaning is not a construction of philosophical thought but is rather sustained by the divine temporal world-order which is also the condition of theoretical thought.
The modal aspects of meaning have with respect to each other, as law-spheres, sovereignty in their own sphere. Each aspect points in its own structure toward, and is an expression of, the temporal coherence of meaning which points beyond itself toward the fulness of meaning in Christ. The cosmic order of time guarantees the integral coherence of meaning between the modal aspects. A pre-logical natural reality "an sich", apart from the normative aspects of reality, does not exist.
The modal concept of law and subject:
HUMANISTIC: with hypostatizing of the law-side of the cosmos:
- Under the primacy of the science-ideal : A law is a general concept of function, in which the genetic coherence of reality is created by theoretical thought; individual subjectivity is a dependent "exemplary" instance of this law, it is a particular function of it.
- Under the primacy of the ideal of personality in the transcendental idealism of KANT : the law in the sense of the universal law of nature is a transcendental thought-form, through which the sensory material of experience is determined; the law in the super-sensuous realm of autonomous freedom is a "categorical imperative" identical with the pure will of human personality; all pre-logical functions of reality are objects of consciousness, not subject; the only subject is the transcendental consiousness and the "homo noumenon" as lawgiver, respectively. [Objectivity is identified with universally valid law-conformity, and then both are identified with "Gegenständlichkeit"].
- In the dualistic-transcendental type of cosmonomic Idea (KANT) : there is an unbridgeable cleft between two types of laws: laws of nature and norms of freedom;
- In the monistic-transcendental type, the law of nature is deduced from the ethical norm (FICHTE).
- With hypostatizing of modal aspects of the individual subjectivity:
Laws, as mathematical natural scientific concepts, are technical symbols which denaturalize reality in order to dominate nature for the benefit of the biological adaptation of man : (NIETZSCHE, BERGSON, HEIDEGGER, and others). The subject is the creative actual individuality which is not subject to a universally valid law; it has its individual and irrational law in itself, in nature as well as in culture and ethics.
General observation: The preceding schema includes the most prominent types of the transcendental Humanistic ground-Idea in its pure basic structure. The synthesis of the ground-motive of this basic Idea with the ground-motives of the cosmonomic Idea of Greek or scholastic-Christian thought, gives rise to new complications and tensions. This requires a special?investigation. The ideal of science and the ideal of personality as a secularizing of the Christian Idea of creation and freedom is foreign to pre-Humanistic systems.
CHRISTIAN: The law in its modal diversity of meaning is the universally valid determination and limitation of the individual subjectivity which is subject to it. The subject is sujet, that is subjected to the law in the modal diversity of the law-spheres. There is no law without a subject and vice versa.
Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 1 pp 501-508.