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Dooyeweerd Ahead of His Time

In many respects Dooyeweerd was not just a purveyor of a 'different' philosophy, but was in fact several decades ahead of his time. What he worked out in the 1930s and 1950s today's thinkers seem to be just now moving into. Not only did he see them from afar, but worked many of them out in ways that might be helpful today (which are indicated by '[Contribution today]').

This page lists a number of the topics where this might be so. Note: it is not well written.

Hard-Soft Paradigms.

Dooyeweerd foresaw the shift away from positivism, rationalism, etc. But he did not simply react against them, as did the early interpretivists and constructivists, but [Contribution Today] he gave a sound theoretical foundation for why we should move away from them.

Critical Realism.

Now that interpretivism is wearing a bit thin, at least in the information systems community, a new paradigm is emerging, based on the critical theory of Habermas. This has two main thrusts with which Dooyeweerd would agree and which he worked out in more depth than many have achieved today.

One was that both Habermas (with the critical theorists) and Dooyeweerd maintain there is a reality, though human interpretation is seen as part of that reality. [Contribution today] However, while critical realism says we can never know that reality, Dooyeweerd goes further. He agrees that we can never know it *theoretically*, but that we can truly know it with our intuition. Our intuition has true knowledge of reality, even if not complete and sometimes distorted.


The second similarity between critical realism and Dooyeweerd is in presuppositions. While the old objectivist stances assumed direct knowledge, phenomenologists recognised presuppositions but wanted to 'remove' them, Habermas recognises that presuppositions are there and cannot be removed. So does Dooyeweerd, and it is a fundamental part of his thinking. [Contribution today] Again, Dooyeweerd goes beyond Habermas, in clearly opening up the nature of presuppositions as religious commitments that are beyond theoretical thought.

On knowledge.

Dooyeweerd's saw knowledge not as a commodity, knowledge, as a functioning, that is knowing. This view is being contended for by a number of people today, such as Ulrich. [Contribution today] Yet again, Dooyeweerd goes further. Having established knowing is functioning, and in recognising a number of ontologically distinct aspectual modes of functioning, he then proposes that each aspect has a distinct way of knowing. For example analytical knowing is fundamentally different from social knowing. The 'someone' does not recognise this, but tries to restrict knowledge to analytical types.
This is part of The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Questions or comments are very welcome.

Compiled by Andrew Basden. You may use this material subject to conditions.

Number of visitors to these pages: Counter. Written on the Amiga with Protext.

Created: 9 November 2001. Last updated: 21 November 2005 .nav, .end.