The Idea of the Individuality Structure and the Thomistic Concept of Substance: A Critical Investigation into the foundations of the Thomistic doctrine of being
by Herman Dooyeweerd
Excerpts translated by J. Glenn Friesen (2007)
Translator’s IntroductionThis is an important article by Dooyeweerd contrasting his Idea of the individuality structure with the concept of substance. It is a very long article (original 131 pages), and was published in four installments. Most of the article concerns detailed criticism of Aristotle and of Thomas Aquinas.
Below is a translation of about 26 pages of the article. The largest excerpt is from the concluding installment, pages 41-52. I believe that these excerpts in particular help to understand Dooyeweerd’s own ideas. In particular, we see how his Idea of individuality structures is something that can be understood only from the standpoint of our supratemporal religious root-unity. Dooyeweerd also says that Aristotelian logic is inextricably linked with the view of substance, an idea that Dooyeweerd rejects. We can also understand how, although he is critical of Roman Catholic thought in this article, Dooyeweerd later appreciates the new Catholic theology with a different view of the selfhood.
Apart from clarifying the Idea of individuality structures, this article is helpful in understanding Dooyeweerd’s Idea of the Gegenstand-relation. It is therefore useful in understanding Dooyeweerd’s last article, where he says that the Gegenstand-relation has been confused by some reformational philosophers with the subject-object relation.
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