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Herman Dooyeweerd - Biographical Details

Herman Dooyeweerd: Philosopher, Musician, Lawyer, Christian.

See also 'Herman Dooyeweerd, The Man', which gives a portrait of his character and development drawn from the Tribute to Dooyeweerd by the late Even Runner, and also provides an 'everyday' view of his academic activity.

Brief Biographical Notes

These biographical notes draw upon Henderson's excellent Illiminating Law: The Construction of Herman Dooyeweerd's Philosophy.

Dooyeweerd's Thinking:

As Volume IV of Dooyeweerd's [NC] shows, Dooyeweerd is probably one of the most widely read philosophers the world has known. His reading covered many Greek thinkers, from the pre-Socratic period and through the next 10 centuries, including Anaxogras, Anaximander, Hesiod, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the schools, such as the Alexandrists, Atomists, Epicureans, Orphists, Sophists. He read Scholastic thinkers like Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Althusius, Averroës, Avicenna, Blondel, Duns Scotus, Macchiavelli, Marsilius, Melanchton, and Occam. He read Reformation thinkers like Luther, Calvin, Grotius, and thinkers from the Renaissance onwards, such as Galileo, da Vinci, Newton, Leibniz, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Descartes, Rousseau, Schiller, Spinoza, Voltaire, and Wolff. He read Kant in depth, and Hegel. Nineteenth Century thinkers include Cassirer, Comte, Dilthey, Driesch, Durkheim, Husserl, Kroner, Maimon, Natorp, Nietzsche, Rickert, Darwin, Fichte, Freud, Kuyper, Marx, Scheler, Schelling, Shaftesbury, Simmel, Spengler, Tönnies, Troeltsch, Weber and Windelband. Thinkers of the 20th century include Barth, Bavink, Bergson, von Bertallanffy, Beseler, Binder, Brunner, Buber, Einstein, Graebner, Haering, Hartmann, Heidegger, Heisenberg, Helmholtz, Herder, Jaspers, Lask, Litt, Lowie, Margaret Mead, Münch, Mussolini, Pfänder, Rickert, Riehl, Russell, Schmidt, Spann, Stoker, Vierkandt, Vollenhoven, Voltereck, Whitehead. These are in addition to scores of legal theorists, political theorists, and many in most of the sciences. As far as possible, Dooyeweerd read these thinkers in their original languages, since he we proficient in Greek, Latin, German, French, English as well as Dutch, and he sought to understand each in their own terms, in terms of what was meaningful to them at their own time.

Interestingly, his discussion of American Pragmatists like Peirce or James is almost non-existent -- a major gap. He was of course too early to read thinkers prominent today, like Habermas, Giddens, Foucault, and Bourdieu, so with such philosophers we must ourselves apply his methods if we find them useful.

See the pages that compare Dooyeweerd with other thinkers.

This is part of The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Questions or comments are very welcome.

Compiled by Andrew Basden. You may use this material subject to conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext.

The picture was created by Andrew Basden for the Herman Dooyeweerd Foundation from a photograph supplied by Magnus Verbrugge.

Created: 16 May 2003. Last updated: 19 May 2003 notes added. 26 April 2013 removed 'page started' and defunct link to "", new intro. 3 September 2015 corrected '../'; rid counter; new .nav. 13 October 2016 list of thinkers Dooyeweerd read.