Dooyeweerd’s account of abstraction is examined and found to be faulty. He holds that abstract thinking isolates aspects which must then be synthesized, whereas I argue that we cannot isolate any aspect from the others however so hard we try. But our very inability to isolate aspects is then turned into an alternative version of a transcendental critique of theory making. Instead of asking for a basis for synthesizing aspects we have isolated, the new version asks: what is the nature of the aspectual connectedness which is so strong that it cannot be interrupted even by abstraction? I argue that it is impossible for anyone to understand the meaning of a concept fully without taking a position on this issue, whether that is done implicitly or explicitly. Moreover, every answer to this question presupposes a divinity belief. Hence, this recasting of the critique yields a demonstration of the religious regulation of all concepts and every theory. In this way the goal of Dooyeweerd’s critique is achieved, even if not in the way he envisioned.
Philosophia Reformata – Brill
Published: Nov 29, 2009
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