Dr J Glenn Friesen writes:
This translation of excerpts, notes and commentary are intended for study purposes. I love Dooyeweerd’s philosophy, but I believe that it has been seriously misunderstood. The primary purpose of this translation of excerpts from his work is therefore to correct the widespread ignorance of what Dooyeweerd really said.
We must be careful not to try to simplify what Dooyeweerd himself acknowledges is complex. Dooyeweerd does not set out his philosophical arguments in a series of syllogisms. I believe that the main difficulty with these texts is the fact that Dooyeweerd is using ideas in a new way. We cannot understand Dooyeweerd if we try to interpret him from the standpoint of empiricism, or from a dualistic kind of theism. Furthermore, Dooyeweerd's ideas are inter-related and cannot be understood apart from each other. There is a kind of circularity here that is unavoidable, and if we try to understand his terminology from another viewpoint, we will miss his entire philosophy. Dooyeweerd continually uses terms that he says will be explained later in the text. Dooyeweerd’s translators were well aware that some terminology could only be explained later.
I believe that the circularity of Ideas – and their inter-related nature – can now be captured using hypertext links. I have made many thousands of these inter-connected links. This has not been done before for Dooyeweerd's philosophy (or perhaps for any other philosophy). I believe that it will allow a new understanding of Dooyeweerd's original intentions. Because when we do not see his thought as a whole, we tend to view his philosophy from out of a standpoint that is foreign to his philosophy. The hypertext links serve the purpose of reminding the reader to try to view this philosophy in its inter-related wholeness.
Because of the inter-related links, I suggest that the reader should take his or her time in reading through these translated excerpts. Do not assume that you know the meaning of a term. Follow the link, because in many cases, Dooyeweerd uses terms in a very different way than you might expect. Read the translation slowly, carefully, and meditatively, attempting to relate Dooyeweerd's Ideas to your heart, the center of your selfhood. For Dooyeweerd himself emphasizes the importance of religious self-reflection.
De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee
The Philosophy of the Law-Idea
(Amsterdam: H.J. Paris, 1935-36)
Translation [Excerpts] and Meditational Study Guide
by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen