Justifications for the Dooyeweerdian Approach
"Of course, that is not to say that the
exposition has got it all right! All I want to say is that the
analogies (grasping the sovereignty *and* universality of the spheres)
have always seemed to me to be one of the most fruitful analytical
tools that D. has given us. Certainly I have found exploring them
incredibly helpful in my own field of biology."
Arthur Jones, Biologist, Salisbury, UK, 2000.
Dooyeweerd's approach is unknown and rather unusual. So why should we take it seriously? Why should we trust it? Why not be content with the work of others; after all, we are progressing, and even the dialectical process leads to syntheses; can we not hope this would eventually lead us to a decent approach?
(This page is not yet written; this is only a brief list of some reasons. I hope to fill in the details later.)
- "The most profound, innovative and penetrating philosopher since Kant" (Giorgio Del Vecchio).
- "In Dooyeweerd the Church of God possessed a man of the quality of mind that appears but rarely in the space of several hundred years" (Evan Runner in The Banner, 16 March, 1977.)
- "one of the four most encyclopedically learned men in the
Netherlands in the twentieth century" (in Religion in essence and manifestation by Gerardus van der Leeuw).
- "the most original philosopher Holland has produced, even Spinoza not excepted." (by G.E. Langemeyer, the Dutch jurist, a humanist: See a fuller statement).
- "Herman Dooyeweerd is undoubtedly the most formidable Dutch philosopher of the 20th century ... As a humanist I have always looked at my own tradition in search for similar examples. They simply don't exist. Of course, humanists too wrote important books, but in the case of Herman Dooyeweerd we are justified in speaking about a philosopher of international repute." (P.B. Cliteur, professor of philosophy at the Technical University of Delft, and president of the Humanist League)
- "And now this giant among thinkers and this humble servant of Christ has passed into the full light of day. When I first heard Dooyeweerd's name I was just a twenty year old .... The news of his passing reached me just after I had passed my 61st birthday. My encounter with Dooyeweerd and his brother-in-law changed the whole course of my life. For me it is the end of an epoch. We who were privileged to know this man and see him at work can only feel immense gratitude to God for the incalculable ways in which his work has enriched our lives. Without doubt, the effects of his work will be increasingly felt in the years to come." (Evan Runner in The Banner, 16 March, 1977.)
Therefore Dooyeweerd's framework is at least worthy of exploration and refinement - and serious attempts to understand it aright. Which is why I am compiling The Dooyeweerd Pages.
I trust Dooyeweerd's suite of aspects more than those of the others because (this summarises a fuller discussion):
There is now a fuller discussion of why we may trust Dooyeweerd's suite of aspects that expands on these and other points.
Here I start to collect supporting ideas. But, in fact, most of the support is strewn in comments and discussion in other pages.
- He has given a sound theoretical basis for it.
- He spent a lifetime on thinking it out.
- He had no axe to grind: he was outside the major academic camps of the time.
- It seems to apply to itself (as above).
- Dooyeweerd's aspects are grasped by intuition.
- I like the way it restores dignity to everyday living.
- It restores dignity to intuition.
- I have yet to find something that lies outside it (apart from those
things like time and meaning and God that are meant to lie outside).
- People who meet it seem to like it. And they seem to grasp it quickly. Therefore it is at least usable.
- It states its own limitations. e.g. it does not seek to encroach upon the provinces of the special sciences themselves.
"For there are 'made' laws, 'discovered' laws, but also laws - a truth for all time. These are more or less hidden in the reality which surrounds us and do not change. Not only science but art also, shows us that reality, at first incomprehensible, gradually reveals itself, by the mutual relations that are inherent in things."
-Piet Mondrian, Figurative Art and Nonfigurative Art (1937)
Quoted by Prof Arthur I Miller "INSIGHTS OF GENIUS:
IMAGERY AND CREATIVITY IN SCIENCE AND ART"
Dooyeweerd's framework is not just integrated; you keep on finding unexpected integrations in it.
It's like a garden. As you take the first few steps into a garden you find beautiful things. Some gardens, however, disappoint you as you go further in after the first steps; you start to see ugly and untidy things left here and there. But in this garden, as you wander deeper into the garden, you keep on finding unexpected things of beauty, with each corner you turn. So this suggests the whole garden is beautiful, and carefully and skilfully designed. The beauty we see is not just skin deep, but characterises the very nature of the garden.
In the same way, Dooyeweerd's framework feels wholly integrated, harmonious, in its very nature. Not just the first few concepts, not just on the surface.
That is why I tend to think it is very likely to be true.
This is part of The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Questions or comments would be welcome.
Copyright (c) 2004 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.
Number of visitors to these pages: . Written on the Amiga with Protext.
Last updated: 21 December 1998 added personal view. 9 April 2000 incorporated Support section (was initially separate). 4 October 2000 added quote from AJ. 7 February 2001 copyright, email. 11 March 2002 link to fuller statement by Langemeyer. 20 January 2003 rearranged to place recommendations first, and added a couple more recommendations from others. 1 April 2005 link to why Dooyeweerd's aspects better; .nav,.end. 17 September 2010 link to fuller discussion of Dooyeweerd's suite.