August 05, 2006

A totality that needs to be individuated

by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen
[17] Dooyeweerd’s reference to “serious misunderstanding” by some adherents would seem to include Roy Clouser. Clouser says that the modal structures of the aspects can be deduced from the individuality structures, by an ever-increasing abstraction of properties into “kinds of properties.” Clouser sees only a difference in intensity between pre-theoretical and theoretical concept formation; aspects are “kinds of properties.” In his book The Myth of Religious Neutrality, Clouser says (p. 54) that in theory we intensify the focus of our attention to such a degree that we isolate a property from something, and focus on the property itself; he calls this “high abstraction.”
In his article, “Dooyeweerd’s Metathetical Critique and its Application to Descartes and Heisenberg” Clouser says that naïve experience sees an entity-with-its-properties, as opposed to a theoretical analysis of the properties in themselves. But the Dooyeweerd Archives in Amsterdam contain a letter from Roy Clouser to Dooyeweerd dated June 21, 1972. It confirms that Dooyeweerd still objected to the idea of modes of experience being referred to as ‘property-kinds.’ This was after Clouser completed his dissertation, and despite extensive discussions between Clouser and Dooyeweerd the year before. This corresponds to what Dooyeweerd says in the New Critique: We cannot obtain true structural concepts of individuality by means of the procedure of gradual abstraction. Nor can we obtain theoretical insight into the modal structures of the law-spheres by gradual abstraction (NC II, 417).
[19] Dooyeweerd thus distinguishes between the aspects and functions. Reformational philosophy usually sees these terms as synonymous. But aspects belong to the dimension of modal aspects, and functions belong to the plastic dimension of structures of individuality. In an early article, Dooyeweerd says that aspects are “gezichtsvelden,” perspectives of our full supratemporal selfhood on the temporal world. . The “aspects” are abstracted from out of our subjective [as supratemporal subjects] activity of thought; in the epoché, we “refrain” from the continuity of cosmic time (II, 402; NC II, 468 ft.1). The abstraction of theoretical thought is not just from the continuity of cosmic time, but from the actual, full selfhood that thinks and expresses itself in all its functions (I, 6; NC I, 5). The “functions” relate to the objective reality (understood in terms of the subject-object relation).
[20] This whole idea of a gradual individuation into various individuality structures depends on Dooyeweerd’s starting point with a totality that needs to be individuated. He says in this article, “For without the foundation of modal structures with no individuality…”. The modal structures have no individuality, and provide the foundation for individuality structures. There is a difference between modal structures and individuality structures. Modal structures have no individuality, but they are prior to the individuality structures. Home Dooyeweerd

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