Saturday, March 08, 2008

Philosophy and the special sciences

Here’s a succinct summary of Dooyeweerd’s understanding of the relationship between philosophy and the special sciences:

“each special realm of theoretical inquiry, whether or not it is called “empirical” in the narrower sense, pre-supposes a theoretical vision of temporal reality. And such a vision of reality must necessarily exhibit a philosophical character. Consequently it appears at the same time, that no single special science can possess an essential autonomy with respect to philosophy in the sense of a theory of reality” (NC I 49)

I think that it is worth pointing out that such a “vision of reality” does not require full comprehension of reality. Its purpose is to set the tone of ones research based on an insight on how things hang together. This is often a reductionist vision taking one of the (abstracted) modal-spheres as the theoretical entry-point to reality, but it need not be. It is the positive contribution of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy to sketch what an anti-reductionist ontology looks like.

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