Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Critique as unmasking

Dooyeweerd assures his readers that his transcendental critique does not cut each philosophical school off from each other in incommensurable starting-points. It is instead the dogma of theoretical autonomy that threatens genuine philosophical dialogue.

“Our transcendental critique wages a merciless war against the masking of supra-theoretical prejudices as theoretical axioms which are forced upon the opponent on penalty of his being viewed as an outsider in philosophical matters. In other words, it aims its attack against the dogmatic exclusivism of the schools, all of which fancy themselves to possess the monopoly on philosophical truth” (NC I 70)

Dooyeweerd emphasises again and again that it is the Christian understanding of the radicality of evil that cuts off any theoretical pride in claiming to possess the monopoly on theoretical truth. In contrast humanism, under the inspiration of the enlightenment, has become more dogmatic in affirming its supra-theoretical beliefs as irrefutable rational certainties.

Humanism that holds to the autonomy of theoretical thought must conclude that exclusive '
supra-theoretical prejudices' which reside at the base of theoretical thinking must cut off philosophical communication. Dooyeweerd's emphasis on the fundamental antithesis between the central motive of Christianity and that of all other religious impulses which have guided philosophy is surely poof of such obscurantism, yet he insists on the continuing contact between Christian philosophy and immanence philosophy.

“this radical rupture with the starting-points and transcendental ground-Ideas of immanence-philosophy does not mean, that an intrinsically re-formed Christian philosophy should intend to break off philosophical contact with Greek, scholastic, and modern Humanistic philosophy. On the contrary, because of its radical-critical standpoint, the Christian philosophy developed in this work is enabled to enter into the most inward contact with immanence-philosophy”
Dooyeweerd further insists that his philosophy “will never break the community of philosophical thought” because to do so would be to return to a dogmatic conflation of religious pre-suppositions and theoretical axioms (NC I 115). Then a few pages on Dooyeweerd writes that his philosophy “is wedded to the historical development of philosophic and scientific thought with a thousand ties” (NC I 118). It would be good to see more work done on exploring these ties.

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