1. Introduction

176. We have seen in the last chapter that Dooyeweerd attempts to reveal the pre-theoretical, religious presupposition of theoretical thought through his transcendental critique. With this, Dooyeweerd strives to lay bare the possible religious starting points in the Western philosophical tradition. As a result, he developed the idea of the religious ground motive. This motive, according to Dooyeweerd, determines the content of the three elements of the transcendental ground idea, i.e., those of origin, unity (or totality), and diversity in coherence as a fundamental thought and cultural motive and as a radical driving force working in the heart. As the theoretical expression of a religious ground motive, these transcendental ideas form the inner point of contact between religious belief and theoretical (or scientific) thought, corresponding to the three transcendental basic problems of theoretical thought as discussed in chapter two. Dooyeweerd holds that this religious motive then controls the direction of thought and culture via its central ground ideas. In other words, the starting point of each attempt for theoretical synthesis and its transcendental direction are determined by this religious basic motive. In this way, Dooyeweerd tries to show through his transcendental criticism of Western philosophy that "philosophic thought is dependent upon the religious ground-motive of the thinking ego."(277) For Dooyeweerd, this ego is of a central communal character and there are two religious root-unities or spiritual communities, namely, that of Adam as the spirit of apostasy and that of Jesus Christ as the second Adam. Between the two, there is a radical and absolute antithesis.(278)

177. Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of Western philosophy has two main facets, viz., dialogue and antithesis. Based on the common structure of theoretical thinking, he sought open contact with other thinkers by analyzing their fundamental basic ideas. Dooyeweerd argues for the possibility of real contact between the different philosophical schools for the following four reasons: (1) all philosophers have to render an account of the same reality; (2) all philosophers, therefore, appeal to the same state of affairs in order to verify their accounts; (3) all philosophers are bound to the rules of theoretical thought, and hence they all appeal to the same rules in determining the validity of their arguments; (4) as far as Western philosophy is concerned, all philosophers participate in the same historical tradition or community of thought.(279)

178. At the same time, by revealing the dialectical tension in non-Christian philosophical systems, Dooyeweerd wants to disclose the ultimate direction, i.e., the deepest motive and its consequences for one's thought. Dooyeweerd argues that an inevitable religious dialectic takes place within the non-Christian ground motives because an absolutizing of one relative aspect of reality calls forth its correlatum which claims the same absoluteness over against the former. The theoretical synthesis then itself becomes polar, i.e., it seeks the higher unity in one of the two poles of the dialectical ground motive. Dooyeweerd, however, believes that the integral and radical character of the Christian motive allows for no such tension. In this way, he wanted not only to have a candid conversation within "the thought-community of the Western world" but also to engage in a profound confrontation with non-Christian philosophers.

179. With this in mind, we will investigate how Dooyeweerd actually executed his transcendental critique of ancient Greek, Roman Catholic, and modern humanistic philosophies by which he revealed the dialectical conflict within them. In other words, we will analyze Dooyeweerd's transcendental criticism of Western thought through the religious ground motives by looking at: (1) how each motive determines the content of the three transcendental ideas and how the idea of autonomy and absolutization of theoretical thought is related to this, and (2) how these ideas function in each critique.

180. In order to analyze the discussion between Dooyeweerd and other thinkers, a choice has to be made among the various critical responses to his view. For the ancient Greek philosophical view, attention will be paid to the discussions of A.P. Bos and D.T. Runia on Dooyeweerd's analysis of the form-matter motive. For Roman Catholic thought, the discussions made by H. Robbers, M.F.J. Marlet, and J.A. Aertsen on Dooyeweerd's critical analysis of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas will be dealt with. This is especially important since in the 1930's Dooyeweerd was deeply involved in the debate on the issue of anthropology, i.e., that of body and soul and the concept of substance. Discussions on Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of modern humanistic philosophy by J. van der Hoeven and J.F. Glastra van Loon will be briefly reflected on in this chapter. The criteria for analyzing all the discussions will center around the three main transcendental ideas, together with each relevant religious ground motive. Then concluding and evaluative remarks in connection with our main theme of dialogue and antithesis will close this chapter: Did Dooyeweerd succeed in achieving his goal? Has he done justice to the three transcendental ideas in his dealing with each religious basic motive? Has he revealed the problem of the autonomy, i.e., absolutization of theoretical thought? Are those who criticize Dooyeweerd correct in their analysis? Or is there any agreement between the opponents in the dialogue? Is there any tension in Dooyeweerd's critique? Or is it well integrated? In short, what might be the strong and weak points of his transcendental criticism of Western philosophy?

2. Dooyeweerd's Transcendental Critique of Greek Philosophy

181. In his first magnum opus, De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, Dooyeweerd treats ancient philosophy quite briefly, merely mentioning Aristotle and Augustine in connection with Thomistic philosophy.(280) Instead of making a separate transcendental critique of Greek thought, Dooyeweerd refers to the work of his colleague, D.H.Th. Vollenhoven, Het Calvinisme en de Reformatie der Wijsbegeerte, which deals with ancient and medieval philosophy from a reformational perspective. In Dooyeweerd's opinion, Vollenhoven had given an extensive analysis of the theological speculations which were the result of the synthesis of Greek philosophy and the Christian faith by early church fathers and later medieval Scholastics.

182. During the years 1938-1945, Dooyeweerd conducted extensive research in classical Greek philosophy. This study was motivated by the conflict between his philosophy of the cosmonomic idea and the standpoint of the theological faculty at the Free University.(281) The issue lies mainly in Dooyeweerd's rejection of the traditional anthropological view on the dualistic relationship between body and soul. This conflict actually originates from Dooyeweerd's new discovery that the subject of theoretical thought is not an autonomous, rational soul, but the concrete man in his heart, the religious centre of human existence.(282) With his transcendental critique, Dooyeweerd argued at first that only from the human heart can the coherence of the meaning-diversity of temporal reality be conceived. After the first attack made by his opponents, however, Dooyeweerd realized that the conflict with them could be made clear only when he could reveal their philosophical presuppositions and so prove that these presuppositions could not be united with an integral Christian approach.

183. Because of the Second World War, the publication of his research was postponed until 1949, when his first book of Reformatie en Scholastiek appeared. After sketching the four religious ground motives in the history of Western philosophy as an introduction,(283) Dooyeweerd makes it clear that the original intention of writing this book was to answer the anthropological questions resulting from the opposition between the ground motive of the Reformation and that of Scholastic thought. But he realized that in order to do so, it would be necessary to reflect on the religious basic motive of Greek thought because he was sure that an attempt to synthesize this with the Christian motive had led to the Scholastic motive of nature and grace.(284) Thus in this book Dooyeweerd deals extensively with Greek philosophy up to Plato from the transcendental perspective via its religious motive of form and matter.

184. Dooyeweerd's analysis of Greek philosophy from its form-matter motive has been critically discussed among others by Vollenhoven, Popma, Bos, etc. In this chapter, however, I will concentrate on the view of Bos because he not only makes a sharp critique of Dooyeweerd's viewpoint but also wants to develop it further in a more persuasive way. In addition, we will reflect on Runia's article which compares the standpoint of Dooyeweerd with that of Bos. To begin with, I will analyze Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of Greek thought from its religious motive via the three central ideas and its dialectical nature. With this background, two main critical responses made by Bos and Runia will be summed up and then a conclusive evaluation will follow.

(1) The Greek Form-Matter Motive

185. Dooyeweerd claims that the "form-matter (morphè-hulè)" motive governed the Greek world of thought. It originated from the encounter between the older pre-Homeric religions of nature or life (matter) and the younger religion of culture of the Olympian deities (form).

186. According to Dooyeweerd, the matter motive is that of the divine everflowing stream of organic life, which issues from "mother earth" and cannot be bound to any individual form.(285) Because of the ceaseless repetition of the cycle of the life system, the deities were consequently amorphous, not of concrete form or personality but always fluid and invisible. Time was also viewed as cyclical, not linear. From this shapeless stream of everflowing organic life, the generations of perishable beings originated periodically and their existence was subjected to Anangke, the great law of birth and death through blind necessity.(286) The most pregnant expression of this motive was found in the worship of Dionysus. In brief, the matter-principle of the shapeless fluidity in Greek nature religion and philosophy is in essence absolutizing the organic life aspect of temporal reality.

187. On the other hand, the form motive is, Dooyeweerd explains, the main spring of the younger cultural religion of form, measure, and harmony.(287) This religion became the official religion of the Greek city-state (polis), which established Mount Olympus as one of history's first national religious centres. Hence it is called the Olympian religion. This religious motive found its most profound expression in the cult of the Delphic god Apollo, the lawgiver. According to Dooyeweerd, the Olympian gods left "mother earth" with its cycle of life and its inescapable Anangke to receive an immortal, personal and invisible form (eidos).(288) They acquired Mount Olympus as their home and were immortal with a personal form: invisible and "an ideal form of a perfect and splendid beauty, the genuine proto-type of the Platonic idea as the imperishable metaphysical form of true being."(289) In sum, this form-principle is essentially an absolutization of the cultural aspect of reality.

188. In his extensive study of main Greek thinkers, Dooyeweerd was reconfirmed in his initial conviction that the Aristotelian form-matter schema has a much more universal and deeper background and that it means indeed the philosophical expression of a dialectical ground motive which dominated the whole of Greek thought from its beginning.(290) To defend this view, Dooyeweerd mentions the following two points: (1) The fact that Aristotle himself, who lived in the world of Greek thought, treated the whole of preceding philosophy with this schema, implies that it is more than a subjective thought-construction. If this motive was indeed merely his own finding, then it would be impossible to place all pre-Aristotelian philosophy in that framework without denaturing it fundamentally and having his contemporaries point it out. (2) The steadfastness with which the form-matter motive has maintained itself and dominated the philosophical problems in the later Greek and the whole of Scholastic thought is more evidence that this is not just a philosophical construction belonging to Aristotle by which he had evaluated all his predecessors in some arbitrary manner.(291)

(2) The Dialectical Conflict in the Form-Matter Motive

189. Do these two polar opposites, form and matter, then lead to a religious dialectical conflict? How is this Greek motive worked out with respect to the three elements of the transcendental idea in Greek philosophy according to Dooyeweerd?

190. To deal with the first question, Dooyeweerd argues that this form-matter motive contains an intrinsically indissoluble dialectical conflict because the attempts to reconcile the two failed for the following three reasons:(292) First, the younger culture religion neglected the most fundamental questions of life and death. The Olympic gods were powerless before Anangke or Moira, the fate that held death for all individual forms of life. Second, the Olympian religion came into conflict with the morality of the Greeks because the Olympian deities lived beyond good and evil. Third, the total splendid array of Olympian gods was far removed from ordinary people. Dooyeweerd concludes, therefore, that the newer Olympian culture religion was only accepted as the public religion by the Greek people whereas in their private life they continued to observe the ancient nature religion. This dialectical tension appeared also in the Orphic school especially in their view of human nature, the dualistic conception of man composed of immortal rational soul and impure, material body.(293)

191. This dialectical conflict clearly appears in Greek philosophy, according to Dooyeweerd, by assigning primacy either to the one principle or to the other. How, then, was this Greek form-matter motive worked out with respect to the three transcendental ground ideas? At first, when the principle of matter predominated over that of form among natural philosophers, their main attention was paid to the idea of origin (arche) alone. The views of the ancient natural philosophers such as Thales, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, and Anaximander show that they deified water, air, fire, and the apeiron [the invisible, unlimited] respectively as the origin of all things. As an example of the dialectical tension, Dooyeweerd mentions the philosophy of Heraclitus in which the idea of the logos as the rational law of the world (the form principle) was placed against that of blind Anangke (the matter principle).(294) Dooyeweerd holds that because these pre-Socratic philosophers were continuously oriented to the idea of origin, they failed to connect it with the ideas of unity or modal diversity in coherence.(295)

192. The philosophy of Parmenides, Pythagoras, and Empedocles is situated, according to Dooyeweerd, in the transition period from natural philosophy to a philosophy driven by the form principle, manifesting the polar antithetic tension in itself. Parmenides, for instance, held that only through the theoretical view (theoria) can the essential form of being be known. He thus identified being with thinking.(296) But influenced by the Olymphic religion, his concept of the form principle was naturalized in the sense that the immortal form motive was applied to the whole divine, heavenly physis.(297) In addition, Dooyeweerd believes that in this period attention was paid not only to the idea of origin, and thus to the knowledge of god, but also to that of the self. For example, Pythagoras regarded the theoria as the way to true knowledge of god and conceived of the "soul" as the theoretical function of thought whereas the material body was considered the "tomb" of the soul.(298) He then attempted to synthesize the form-matter motive by considering number as the origin of the form principle (peras) and later also of the matter principle (apeiron).(299) As a result, this matter principle is formalized and the idea of origin lost its unity.(300) However, it is remarkable that the idea of meaning-diversity in coherence is not mentioned by Dooyeweerd.

193. Under the heading of the form principle, Dooyeweerd discusses the philosophy of, among others, Anaxagoras, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The main concern is now changed from the idea of arche into that of unity and self-knowledge although the attention to the former still remained. Protagoras, as the founder of so-called Sophist philosophy and the Greek "enlightenment", emphasized the central importance of human being as cultural being (homo mensura) instead of the divine physis.(301) Socrates deepened this anthropocentric thought by stressing the necessity of critical self-reflection via the way of theoria. The idea of root-unity in the biblical sense, according to Dooyeweerd, is still missing because of the dualistic motive.(302) Plato, also influenced by orphic dualism, thought of "the original polar conception of the transcendent world of eternal eide or pattern-forms of being over against the world of sensual phenomena, the material world of becoming."(303) Likewise, he maintained the dichotomy between the thinking soul and the material body.(304) When Plato attempted to reconcile this dualism by way of his dialectical method of theoretical thought, the fundamental dualism reappeared in his dialogue Timaeus where "the form-giving power of the divine Demiurge or divine Reason is set over against the original power of Anangke, the power of the principle of matter."(305) Aristotle also could not overcome this dualism, Dooyeweerd continues, even though he abandoned the Platonic idea of the transcendence of ideal form and considered matter as a pure possibility of being. As Dooyeweerd writes, "his metaphysical theory of being reveals the polar antithesis of pure matter (proote hule) and pure form (the divine thought) and he does not know a higher principle as starting point for a true synthesis."(306) Aristotle's anthropology shows the same problem, according to Dooyeweerd. "Although apparently `soul' and `material body' are bound together to a `substantial unity' and rational soul is conceived as form of the body.... the dualism reappears in Aristotle's conception of the nous poietikos, that is, the act of thought which is conceived by him as completely separated from the body and as an immortal divine `substance', coming `from outside' (thurathen), in the human soul."(307) Moreover, the idea of modal diversity in the coherence of cosmic time in this period is not fully discussed by Dooyeweerd, either.(308) Only the theoretical Gegenstand-relation is mentioned in the philosophy of Anaxagoras and Plato, which is, according to Dooyeweerd, misinterpreted metaphysically because the theoretical-logical thought function is viewed as completely independent from the material field of research (the Gegenstand) and it thus fell into a logical reductionism, violating the principle of sphere-sovereignty.(309)

194. Dooyeweerd also points out that the Greek idea of theoria became the autonomous way to critical self-reflection, which oriented self-knowledge to a concept of divinity, i.e., the knowledge of god in theoretical thought itself.(310) Anaxagoras, for example, absolutized the nous (intellect) which is active in theoria as the divine form-giving principle.(311) For Plato and Aristotle, just like their predecessors, philosophical theoria is the only way to come into religious contact with divinity.(312) In this way, Dooyeweerd demonstrates that the idea of human autonomy is clearly revealed in the absolutization of theoretical thinking.

195. To sum up, we can say that Dooyeweerd could have more consistently applied the structure of his transcendental critique to his analysis of Greek philosophy if he had worked out the significance of the form and matter motive sufficiently in all three transcendental ideas. Dooyeweerd's main discussion of the form-matter motive was focused on the first two ideas, pointing out the religious dialectical tension in each one. But he did not pay enough attention to the third one.

(3) Critical Responses

196. A.P. Bos, professor of ancient and patristic philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam, made an intensive and critical discussion of Dooyeweerd's analysis of Greek philosophy from the perspective of the form-matter motive.(313) Basically he agrees with Dooyeweerd's fundamental thesis concerning the religious motivation of philosophical thinking. In his first contribution to this issue, however, Bos maintains that the development of ancient philosophy is determined by internal factors rather than by a religious dialectic based on an unresolved conflict between nature and culture religions. Further he holds that a religious motivation can manifest itself in various ways depending on which part of reality is absolutized or overvalued so that there cannot be any single ground motive.(314)

197. In an article published in 1986, Bos makes a more comprehensive criticism on three points: (1) Dooyeweerd's postulation of the religious ground motive of Greek philosophy in terms of the dialectical polarity of form and matter is mainly influenced by certain studies of Hegel, more particularly by Nietzsche's Die Geburt der Tragoedie aus dem Geiste der Musik [The birth of tragedy from the spirit of music] as well as by the works of well-known classicists of his time and thus "uncritically based on a view of Greek religion now generally regarded as historically unsound."(315) The distinction between a more ancient, pre-Hellenic Dionysian nature religion and a later, Hellenic Apolline culture religion is untenable "in the light of historical evidence that has been uncovered since then and has given a rich insight into the continuity of Greek religion with Mycenean, Minoan and even earlier periods."(316) (2) Dooyeweerd's interpretation of the succession of the gods in Greek tradition is also unacceptable because to begin with, three rather than two supreme gods (Kronos and the Titans versus Zeus and the Olympic gods) are to be mentioned: the first, Ouranos, was usually left out of the picture but in fact exclusively worshipped as the god of the heavens.(317) Inspired by the study of J.C. de Moor, a Dutch Semitist, Bos strives to develop an alternative theory by turning to "mythical ideas drawn from the Near East, in which gods represent the changing of seasons."(318) Thus he connects Kronos with the fertility brought by the autumn rains which allow nature to bring about the germination of seeds and the growth of crops. Zeus is represented as the period of cultivation, man's great achievements. (3) Placing the myth of Kronos and the Titans in a wider context, Bos regards it as "a kind of archetypal story that reveals the zin-perspectief [meaning-perspective] of Greek culture and philosophy."(319) Bos then proposes his interpretation of the Titanic meaning-perspective as the theme of "the god deprived of his divine magnificence through his own fault", a theme which occupies a central place in important areas of both the tradition of Greek philosophy and the para-philosophical tradition of Orphism and Gnosticism.(320) In the Greek philosophical tradition, Bos holds, this meaning-perspective brought about a consistent viewpoint, namely, that "a part of cosmic reality is characterized as, properly speaking, divine, but deprived of divine splendour through its `bondage' to the non-divine."(321) Anthropologically speaking, man was considered "fallen and captive in the darkness of ignorance, from which he can be rescued through deliverance of his `supra-earthly' and divine part, i.e., his rational soul or mind."(322) In this vein, Bos argues that this "Titanic meaning-perspective" could be offered as an alternative ground motive of Greek thought and culture.

198. Moreover, in his recent contribution of 1994, Bos works out his argument further, pointing out the inappropriateness of Dooyeweerd's theory of Aristotle's form-matter idea as the decisive motive for the whole of Greek philosophy.(323) Bos argues that Aristotle began his argument with his theory of four causes (material, formal, efficient, and final) or principles of explanations instead of a twofold schema.(324) The reason why Aristotle developed this theory of the four causes was, according to Bos, to make clear the difference between his views and those of Plato.

(4) Evaluative Remarks

199. In light of Bos' critical comments, we might easily conclude that Dooyeweerd's transcendental criticism of Greek philosophy via the form-matter motive has totally failed. But is this true? The following comments can be made.

200. First of all, it should be noted that both Christian thinkers agree with the central tenet concerning the presupposed religious root of philosophical thinking. Runia is also of the same opinion. Concerning the historical background of this religious root, Bos irrefutably criticizes the historical untenability of Dooyeweerd's interpretation of the religious motive of Greek philosophy and culture in terms of a dialectical polarity. Indeed, Dooyeweerd confusingly connects the Greek form-matter motive with the nature and culture religions even though theoretically he makes a clear distinction between religious thinking and religious basic motive.

201. Bos is indeed correct when he points out the influence of, among others, Nietzsche on Dooyeweerd. Dooyeweerd's transcendental analysis of ancient Greek thought took place after he had made his criticism of modern and Thomistic philosophy. In other words, he seems to execute his critical analysis of earlier thought from the viewpoint of modern thought. Since he presupposes that every absolutization implies a dialectic, and since the Greeks, being pagans, of necessity had to absolutize some aspect of created reality, he, therefore, of necessity had to search for a dialectical pair of opposites in Greek philosophy. In this sense, Dooyeweerd was guided by modern dialectical interpretations, such as those of Nietzsche and others.

202. Strictly speaking, however, Bos' critique of the background of religious history is not of definitive significance. More essential is the philosophical analysis itself through the transcendental ground ideas. The three basic ideas are of philosophical significance, since they actually correspond to the three basic philosophical questions and at the same time their content is ruled by the religious ground motive. Unfortunately, however, Bos does not deal with this transcendental ground idea characterized by the form-matter motive.

203. The second issue concerns the nature of the dialectic in the three central ideas. We have already seen how Dooyeweerd reveals the dialectical conflict in Greek philosophy as caused by its dualistic form and matter motive. This basic motive resulted in the dualism of arche and human being. However, there is no similar dialectical character in the Titanic perspective of meaning even though it has a tension between a divine part of reality (man's rational nature) and a non-divine part (perishable corporeality and material reality). This tension is not a process of being drawn back and forth between the poles in a dialectical manner as Dooyeweerd explains.(325) The reason why Bos rejects dialectical tension in Greek philosophy is because there has been no such historical indication that human culture was regarded as secondary and successive to the conception of human life's being dependent upon the fruitfulness of the earth and nature.(326) Instead, Bos suggests a different kind of dialectical relation between the work of nature and the cultural work of human being.(327) These two do not, however, originate from two different religions as in Dooyeweerd's theory, but belong together in some myths of nature religions. The former designates the rainy season when seeds germinate, grow, and bear fruits whereas the latter is the dry period when man must work hard to cultivate the land. Here, there is no dialectical tension between the two, i.e., the absolutizing of one aspect of reality against another thereby not allowing synthesis in philosophical thought.

204. The fact that the religious historical information proves to be inadequate cannot be the reason to reject Dooyeweerd's transcendental criticism. How much difference is there then between Bos' alternative "Titanic meaning-perspective" and Dooyeweerd's idea of the religious ground motive? By "meaning-perspective", Bos means "the whole of basic convictions and commitments guiding and determining human experience within a certain cultural tradition."(328) Actually, it seems to me that this "meaning-perspective" is a kind of worldview and so quite different from Dooyeweerd's religious basic motive in the sense that it does not determine the content of the three central philosophical ideas.

205. Runia also mentions that the "Titanic meaning-perspective" cannot be claimed to be the exclusive ground motive in the Dooyeweerdian sense because it illuminates only a limited part of the Greek philosophical tradition, focusing on a restricted religious mythical theme.(329) Only "because of its prominent place in Greek culture, it is thought to come closest to occupying that central position, and as such is presented as an alternative."(330) In addition, it is also questionable, as Runia points out, that "the specific, viz. Ugaritic myth of the succession of the gods, and especially its anthropological component, played the dominant role suggested by Bos."(331) Since various interpretations of this myth are possible, Runia introduces another interpretation, for instance, made by Versnel.(332) Consequently, it is quite difficult to substitute Dooyeweerd's religious motive with Bos' idea of "meaning-perspective." Runia is, therefore, closer to Dooyeweerd's view by arguing for the necessity of polarity if the dialectic of the ground motive is to work and so suggests the polar opposition between the `divine' and the `random.'(333)

206. Thirdly, it is true that Dooyeweerd does point out the autonomy of human theoretical thought by relating the Greek idea of theoria intimately to the form principle because it absolutized autonomous theoretical thinking itself as the only way to truth and knowledge of man and god, and was the opposite of doxa [uncertain opinion] which belonged to sense perception.(334) Thus according to Dooyeweerd the autonomy of theoria "did not at all imply a loosening of philosophic thought from the central religious ground motive."(335) However, he adds that Greek philosophers could not achieve true knowledge of the self and the origin because they were not based on the Christian motive of creation, the Fall into sin, and redemption.

207. In Bos' critique, this absolutization of theoretical thought is again connected with the "Titanic meaning-perspective". The question is then to what extent the three transcendental ideas can be found in Bos's alternative theory. However, in his critical discussion Bos does not approach the tradition of Greek thought via the transcendental basic idea, as I have already mentioned. He does not discuss, for example, the idea of self-knowledge in connection with the knowledge of the origin whereas Dooyeweerd's presentation of the Greek ground motive has a strong anthropological emphasis because, as Runia writes, it is religious in the sense that "it springs from the centre of man's existence [since] that is focussed on the true or imagined Origin of reality."(336) Instead, Bos explains only the absolutization of one aspect of reality in Greek thinking, viz., the logical one. In this sense, his critique lacks depth. To be brief, we see clearly the structural difference between Dooyeweerd's view of the dialectical ground motive in Greek philosophy together with its three transcendental ideas, although he did not fully apply them to his actual criticism, and Bos' Titanic perspective of the meaning of reality.

3. Dooyeweerd's Transcendental Critique of Thomistic Philosophy

208. In his dialogue with Roman-Catholic thinkers, Dooyeweerd chiefly concentrates on the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas as the most representative one.(337) This dialogue already began in the series of articles in Antirevolutionaire Staatkunde. It is remarkable that here Dooyeweerd uses the term "synthesis" in a rather positive way, saying that Augustine has given "Christian thought its own starting point, its own synthetic idea of law."(338) Moreover, Aquinas' acknowledgement of independent nature as preamble of grace, making use of the Aristotelian concept of entelechy [created goal within itself], is also positively evaluated as progress when compared to Augustine's Platonic idealism.(339) Yet, Dooyeweerd also criticizes Aquinas for not having fully acknowledged the law as the boundary between God and creatures.(340)

209. In De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, Dooyeweerd begins to use "synthesis" in a critical sense, a form which tries to combine the Christian motive with the Greek motive. Thus, for instance, he criticizes the Thomistic idea of law as being characterized by the unbiblical nature-grace schema in which the Archimedean point for philosophical thinking is sought in natural reason (nous).(341) After that, in a series of articles in Philosophia Reformata starting from 1941, Dooyeweerd consistently analyzes Thomistic thought from the perspective of the nature-grace motive, focusing on the concept of substance. The major part of the latter constitutes the main text for the second book of Reformatie en Scholastiek, which was, however, not published.

210. One of the most important intentions of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of Thomistic thinking was, in connection with the anthropological dispute in the 1930s, to refute his opponents who rejected his viewpoint. Through his critical analysis of the Thomistic concept of substance, therefore, Dooyeweerd attempts to prove the impossibility of combining the Greek motive with the biblical one thereby revealing the religious dialectic of the Scholastic motive.

211. Dooyeweerd's analysis of Thomistic thought has been critically discussed by H. Robbers, M.F.J. Marlet and J.A. Aertsen. We will pay attention to each of them because they were deeply interested in the nature-grace motive in Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique. First, I will analyze Dooyeweerd's criticism of Thomistic philosophy via its religious basic motive and its dialectical nature in the three transcendental basic ideas. Against this background, the dialogue between Dooyeweerd and Robbers and the critical responses of Marlet and Aertsen will be dealt with. Then evaluative remarks will follow in connection with two issues, namely, the autonomy of theoretical thought and the possibility of dialogue.

(1) The Scholastic Nature-Grace Motive

212. For Dooyeweerd, the Scholastic motive of synthesis between Greek thought and the Christian religion had already germinated in the thought of the church fathers because they were influenced by the Greek motive. They struggled to protect the Christian truth from the attack of Greek philosophy but failed to see that the radical Christian motive demands an inner reformation of one's entire world and life view. So they adapted Christian doctrine to Greek philosophical ideas. For instance, Dooyeweerd mentions the logos-speculation which degraded the Word to a "semi-god" who, as "mediator" of creation, stood between God and creature.(342) Even Augustine was influenced by the Greek motive although the basic motive of his thought was undoubtedly biblical, says Dooyeweerd.(343) Thus Augustine was tempted to accommodate the Greek motive and the Christian one by way of subjecting philosophy to dogmatic theology just as Aristotle had subjected all other sciences to metaphysics. Since the attempt was made to reconcile two antagonistic religious motives in medieval Scholastic thinking, Dooyeweerd contends that this synthetic motive resulted in a new dialectical theme, viz., that of nature and grace.

213. The Roman Catholic view of nature gives evidence of the attempt made to reconcile the Greek (and in particular the Aristotelian) view of nature, which was entirely determined by the dualistic form and matter motive, with the Scriptural conception of nature based on the divine order of creation. By alternating the ancient concept of "nature" from a formless stream of becoming and decay to an imperishable and invisible form, Aristotle sought to reconcile the form and matter principles. Adopting this Aristotelian view of nature, the Scholastics argued that whatever was subject to birth and death, including man, was composed of matter and form. Thus they viewed man, being composed of a "rational soul (anima rationalis)", as form-substance and "material body".(344)

214. Furthermore, Scholasticism maintains that when God created man, He provided him with the "supra-natural gift (donum superadditum)" of grace, a superhuman faculty of thought by which man could have fellowship with God. At the Fall, according to the Scholastics, man lost this gift and thus became mere "human nature" with all its inherent weaknesses. This human nature, guided by natural reason (ratio naturalis), remained intact and was only "weakened" by sin. It was therefore not in need of restoration by Jesus Christ. Nature is the autonomous basis of supra-natural grace. And this grace can be restored by Christ and earned by good works through the mediation of the institutional church.

215. Thomas Aquinas made the greatest contribution in forming the nature-grace motive by regarding nature as the autonomous "preamble" or "stepping-stone" of grace.(345) Dividing the creation order into a natural and supra-natural realm according to the Greek form-matter scheme, Aquinas placed the state, family, science, technology, art, business, philosophy and commerce in the natural realm where reason could function correctly apart from revelation; church and theology, however, were situated in the supra-natural realm of grace. Within the natural sphere, therefore, a relative autonomy was ascribed to human reason, a faculty which was supposed to be capable of discovering some natural truths by its own light.(346)

(2) The Dialectical Conflict in the Nature-Grace Motive

216. Dooyeweerd tried to reveal the dialectical conflict of this Thomistic motive in the three moments of the transcendental basic idea. First, concerning the idea of origin, Dooyeweerd argues that Aquinas did not fully acknowledge the boundary between God and creatures because of the Aristotelian influence with its form-matter motive, even though he fully confessed the sovereignty of God as the Creator.(347) This is closely related with Aquinas' preference of intellect to will. For Aquinas, there is an affinity between God and man in reason. And the nature of the creature is not founded in the will of God but in the ideas which belong to its essence. In other places, Dooyeweerd describes Aquinas' idea of God, following Aristotle, as the "first unmoved Mover and Cause", "absolute Form in opposition to absolute matter",(348) and "pure, actual form, in which the ideal of the pure `theoria' finds its fulfillment."(349) Here we see clearly the influence of the Greek motive on the Thomistic idea of origin. His various proofs for God's existence actually follow in Aristotle's footsteps by attaching the religious priority to the Greek form principle.

217. Since self-knowledge is directly related to the knowledge of God, the Thomistic idea of the former is determined by that of the latter. If God is absolute Form in opposition to absolute matter, then man can discover himself only in the form, namely, anima rationalis (rational soul).(350) While Aquinas regarded this anima rationalis as substance, Aristotle considered it as the form of material body (not substance), and so the human soul as anima rationalis can never be separated from the material body.(351) Therefore, Dooyeweerd contends that the dualistic tension of the Greek motive remains between rational soul and material body.(352) In other words, this dialectical conflict is clearly revealed in that if Aquinas tries to conceive of man as a combination of two substances, it is impossible to resolve what then makes this combination itself a unified substance of man.(353) Aquinas' view is that only material substance (corporalis substantia) ceases to be "independent" in the substantial combination with the rational soul whereas the latter remains as substance. But for Dooyeweerd, this view of the anima rationalis as substance, which is nothing but a theoretical abstraction from the temporal physical existence of man, is the origin of all the antinomies in Scholastic thought concerning the relationship between body and soul. The independence of this theoretical abstraction as a "spiritual substance", which supposedly exists independent of the material body, results in the view of man as a combination of two substances: a physical and a spiritual.

218. Dooyeweerd also argues that Aquinas could not recognize the radical and integral character of the Christian motive because he did not have insight into the root-unity of man, the heart. Rejecting Aquinas' view of the Fall into sin, and redemption, Dooyeweerd stresses that nature is totally corrupted in its root by the Fall and can be restored only by the grace of God in Christ. In Thomistic metaphysics, all theoretically analyzed diversity in temporal reality finds its deeper unity in the concept of being.(354) But for Dooyeweerd, this analogical concept of being cannot function as the idea of unity or totality because it, as a purely analogical concept of totality, lacks the concentric direction which is inherent in the transcendental ground idea of meaning. In other words, "[i]t does not direct the modal diversity of meaning in theoretic thought to its unity of root, but remains dispersed by this diversity."(355)

219. Thirdly, concerning the idea of diversity in coherent time, Dooyeweerd holds that Aquinas' metaphysical idea of analogia entis excludes the irreducible kernel-moments of modal aspects which first qualify the modal analogies. Aquinas had no insight into the modal structures of the distinguished aspects of temporal reality, says Dooyeweerd, because his metaphysical ontology neglects the time-horizon.(356) Aquinas' doctrine of categories views time only as an outward accidental determination of the being of "substances" and thus does not acknowledge the inner universal cosmic structure-order of all temporal creatures.(357) Analyzing the Thomistic view of categories further, Dooyeweerd points out its dialectical problems from the perspective of his theory of modal aspects. In Dooyeweerd's view, the basic dualism of the form-matter motive reappears in the theory of categories. By distinguishing "formal" and "material" accidentia, the metaphysical foundation is laid for the theoretical dichotomy, by which the logical aspect, together with the following aspects (in Dooyeweerd's theory) and the aspect of feeling, are separated from those of number, space and movement and exalted to accidentia of a "pure spiritual substance".(358)

220. The above three points are closely related to Aquinas' idea of the autonomy of theoretical thought. Dooyeweerd contends that the theoretical activity as Gegenstand-relation cannot be autonomous because it exists only within the reality-structure of the theoretical epistemological act as the product of an intentional abstraction, directed to the given structure of temporal reality.(359) According to Dooyeweerd, in the human thinking act, the entire human body is active in all the aspects as a temporal whole. In other words, there is an individuality-structure in the human body which makes the theoretical thought-act possible. Thus he calls this individuality-structure the "act-structure of the human body."(360) In short, theoretical thinking is possible from the integral centre of the human nature (heart, soul, spirit) only within the human body, which he calls the "encaptic structural whole of temporal human existence." For Dooyeweerd, Aquinas misunderstood the actual nature of the theoretical synthesis and so chose the theoretical-logical thought function as his starting point of synthesis thereby not doing justice to the non-logical character of the other aspects in the Gegenstand-relation.(361)

(3) Critical Responses

a. H. Robbers

221. H. Robbers, whose view on the first way of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique has been already discussed in the previous chapter, made some critical responses to Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of Thomistic thought. Subsequently, a very sincere dialogue took place between the two.(362) We will discuss Robbers' criticism from the same perspective, in light of the three elements of the transcendental idea and the idea of autonomous natural reason, together with Dooyeweerd's response to him.

222. To begin with, in his article, "Het natuur-genade-schema als religieus grondmotief der scholastieke wijsbegeerte [The nature-grace-schema as religious ground motive of scholastic philosophy]", Robbers tries to demonstrate that the nature-grace motive is in accordance with the Scriptures (especially the New Testament) and the ancient Christian tradition, although he acknowledges that the terms "nature" and "supra-natural (bovennatuurlijk)" do not appear in the Bible in the typical Thomistic sense.(363) Thus he opposes Dooyeweerd's view that nature and thus natural reason are intrinsically affected by sin. If the latter was the case, says Robbers, nature would fall together with man's "fall from God" and so become the "object of God's wrath".(364) For Robbers, Dooyeweerd seems to advocate grace replacing nature like a consuming fire, against the scholastic adage: gratia non tollit, sed perficit naturam [grace does not take away nature but fulfills it].(365) In other words, nature is eaten up by grace.

223. Dooyeweerd responds to this by saying that this is a misunderstanding because nature is not replaced but renewed by grace and the consuming of the sinful nature is not the same as the destroying of creatures.(366) Since Robbers did not accept Dooyeweerd's radical view of sin which has a cosmic effect but nevertheless does not destroy created structure, he could not understand Dooyeweerd's view of grace, either.

224. What did Robbers then understand with respect to the contex of the three transcendental ideas? In order to understand his idea of origin, first of all, it is to be noted, that for him, the basic motive of Thomistic philosophy is not that of nature and grace, but the scholastic saying, esse est intelligibile [being is knowable or understandable]. By this he meant that "all being, all reality and the aspects of reality are meaningful."(367) The order of being is congruent with that of knowledge. The idea, which belongs to knowledge, is the theoretical expression of being.(368) In God, these two (esse and intelligibilitas) are totally identical.(369) God is seen as the "absolute Nous, in which human reason takes part. He is the fullness of Meaning because He is the fullness of Being."(370) Robbers rejects Dooyeweerd's basic distinction between God as the Creator and the creatures as meaning. For Dooyeweerd, meaning is always dependent upon the Creator but the true Origin is absolute and self-sufficient and thus not meaning at all. This implies, for Robbers, that the being of God is neither understandable nor knowable.

225. The idea of root-unity in Robbers' thought is found in his idea of analogia entis, a concept which understands both creatures and Creator in one concept of being. Of course, the being of God, Robbers admits, is not the same as that of creatures. The former is absolute and original whereas the latter is relative and created. The relationship between the two is, therefore, "analogical". Dooyeweerd, on the other hand, argued that this analogical concept of being not only disregards the absolute boundary between God and creatures but also lacks the insight into the idea of a root-unity and thus the basis for a real analogy.(371)

226. Robbers replied to this critique by contending that the idea of root-unity is implied in the idea of an origin-unity (oorsprongseenheid) because God is in undivided unity and all creation in its diversity is related to God in its root.(372) But Dooyeweerd rejects this argument because for him, the relationship between the two is only of an analogical character and this analogy has no idea of unity . Nevertheless, Robbers regards the idea of analogia entis as a transcendental basic idea, to use Dooyeweerd's terms. But Dooyeweerd points out that this idea originated from Greek philosophy and is thus determined by its religious basic motive of form and matter.

227. Robbers' idea of diversity in coherence, is found again in the principle of esse est intelligibile and analogia entis. According to him, Aquinas viewed "being" as all-embracing, so the cosmic time-order, for example, is also included in it.(373) "The idea of being is then involved in the real state of affairs, and it contains reality... And that being of the cosmic order of time is... all involved in the eternal God, in all aspects, which come together and are conceived and rooted in being."(374) Dooyeweerd reacts that this shows no insight into the modal and individuality-structures of reality because of the metaphysical turn which is given to Aquinas' theoretical synthesis between the Aristotelian and the Scholastic theory of being.(375) Moreover, Dooyeweerd continues, it does not take the real state of affairs in reality into consideration and so does not do justice to reality, because it does not offer a foundation for the insight into the mutual relationships and inner coherence of the various aspects of human experience.

228. Against the Thomistic idea of analogy, Dooyeweerd contends that the concept of analogy refers to the modal diversity within cosmic time: meaning-moments in which one aspect refers to another. In this way, it expresses in the temporal horizon of human experience the coherence among various aspects, which then points to the deeper root-unity of meaning in the religious centre of human existence, and this unity again refers to the divine Origin. To sum up, Dooyeweerd claims that "analogy is exclusively of a creaturely nature."(376)

229. As we have already seen, Dooyeweerd speaks of the nature-grace motive in connection with the Greek form-matter motive. Theoretical thinking (theoria) is here seen as a natural ability that can lead us to the true knowledge of God in spite of the effects of sin. The bridge between God and man can be found in thinking itself. Then, Dooyeweerd argues, the radical unity of man in his true religious centre is denied and theoretical thinking is exaggerated. Dooyeweerd's characterizing of Thomistic thought by the nature-grace motive is coherent with his conviction that this thought does not choose its starting point in Christ, but in theoretical thought itself.

230. Robbers points out that Dooyeweerd cannot defend his religious starting point of philosophy theoretically because in his critique of the dialectical character of the non-biblical ground motives, the dialectical character cannot be an argument against those non-Christian basic motives since the dialectic itself cannot be grounded on reasonable thought.(377) Dooyeweerd responds to this criticism by distinguishing the theoretical dialectic from the religious one and by saying that the latter cannot be theoretically solved because of its absolute character, nor can it be overcome via theoretical arguments. But Robbers rejects this distinction by regarding it as indecisive.(378) Due to his starting point, esse est intelligibile, Robbers cannot separate the religious from the theoretical. If the starting principle of philosophy is determined by religious presuppositions which cannot be grasped theoretically, then there cannot be any common basis for meaningful discussion in philosophy. Robbers doubts, therefore, the possible rapprochement between the philosophy of the cosmonomic idea and Thomistic thinking and thus characterizes the former as "irrationalistic, voluntaristic and fideistic".(379) In short, the autonomy of human natural reason is for Robbers the condition for the possibility of philosophy.

b. M.F.J. Marlet

231. M.F.J. Marlet expresses his view of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of Thomistic philosophy in his Ph.D. dissertation(380) and later in other articles. At first, he seems to agree with Dooyeweerd because he also recognizes the necessity of a transcendental critique of philosophy and thus the religious a priori of all theoretical thinking.(381) In this sense, the main concern of contemporary Roman-Catholic thinkers, he says, is also a Christian transcendental philosophy, being conscious of Christian revelations a priori. Influenced by the "new theology (théologie nouvelle)" and Christian existentialism and personalism, Marlet applies a personalistic interpretation to the philosophy of the cosmonomic idea as well as to Thomism and even tries to prove that the former is actually neither new nor specifically Calvinistic but rather belongs to the age-old "philosophia in Ecclesia recepta ac agnita [philosophy in the church accepted and acknowledged]."(382) Rejecting the autonomy of philosophical thought in an existential sense, he even acknowledges the radical effect of sin and its consequences for philosophical thinking and the need for the latter to be freed and redeemed by grace.(383) Moreover, following Dooyeweerd, Marlet calls the human heart the religious center of human existence in which the work of grace begins.(384) This means, for Dooyeweerd, that Marlet has broken through the traditional Thomistic-Aristotelian concept of "reasonable human nature" as a substructure of grace whereby the autonomy of natural reason had become highly problematic.(385)

232. Nevertheless, Marlet's view is not totally the same as that of Dooyeweerd nor Robbers. Whereas Robbers places emphasis on the scholastic thesis that grace does not remove nature but rather presupposes and fulfills it, Marlet pays attention to the other side of the coin by arguing that not only grace presupposes nature but nature does grace, too. In other words, there is a reciprocity between the two.(386) Consequently, arguing that the Thomistic view of nature-grace is different from Dooyeweerd's opinion of its structure, Marlet does not depreciate the nature-grace schema, but rather defends the position that nature could have an autonomy in itself from the beginning by depending on grace, whereas grace has two kinds of function: it orients man to his original Creator and it restores the right relationship with God.(387) Marlet also asserts that Thomistic thinking as theoretical thought directs itself to its religious presupposition, in a transcendental-critical way, of absolute Origin, Christian root-community, and cosmic coherence.(388)

233. How does this reciprocal relationship between nature and grace then determine Marlet's view of the three transcendental basic ideas? To begin with, Marlet describes the absolute Origin as "the first and last condition of all reality" and fully acknowledges "the structural distinction between finite reality and God as its Origin."(389) Just like Robbers did in his own way, Marlet also maintains the idea of analogia entis, understanding God as Being Itself (Zijn Zelf).(390) He later describes the relationship between God the Creator and creatures as the "fundamental correlation of normative-being, which distinguishes the creatures as `meaning' from the Creator as `I AM' and in this distinction connects with Him."(391) With this, Marlet wants to understand Dooyeweerd's transcendental idea of the divine Origin of all things and the Thomistic analogy of being from the same perspective. He even speaks of the ideas of God, self and cosmic coherence as part-intuitions of the concept of being.(392)

234. However, it is not clear how Marlet can describe the relationship between Creator and creature as "correlation", i.e., reciprocity. This view is actually opposite to Dooyeweerd's idea of "boundary". The reason why Dooyeweerd is opposed to the Thomistic concept of substance as reality-centre, is because of its substantiation of created reality over against God. But Marlet argues that Dooyeweerd's interpretation of the substance-concept of Aquinas is too rationalistic, because Dooyeweerd followed Sertillanges' analysis in his Saint Thomas d'Aquin.(393) Against this, Dooyeweerd questions whether Marlet distorts the original thought of Aquinas.(394) The central problem is, for Dooyeweerd, that the metaphysical concept of being in Aquinas' thought includes God and the creatures in one denominator and the concept of substance means the self-sufficiency and absolutization of created reality.(395) This Aristotelian-Thomistic concept of substance is incompatible with the creaturely mode of existence, contends Dooyeweerd.

235. According to Marlet, the difference between the philosophy of the cosmonomic idea and Thomistic philosophy lies in the fact that the former is determined by a theological background: Calvin's one-sided emphasis on God's sovereignty as the "first cause" through which the "second cause" is neglected. Dooyeweerd, however, rejects this interpretation by saying that nature is then eaten up by grace again. In his response to Marlet, Berkouwer also clarified that the exclusive activity of God (Allein-wirksamkeit) is different from the universal activity of God (All-wirksamkeit).(396) To sum up, the central difference between the philosophy of the cosmonomic idea and neo-Thomistic thought, according to Dooyeweerd, does not lie in different views of the relation between God and creatures, but rather in the fact that the former, based on its integral biblical starting-point, has broken away from the nature-grace motive whereas the latter continues to cling to it.(397)

236. The reciprocal relationship between nature and grace typifies also Marlet's second transcendental idea which he describes as "the correlation of subject-subject and of subject-object which conditions the function of the individual totalities in the whole cosmic coherence of time."(398) The subject-object correlation means here "the personal mode of being of man and the non-personal way of being of other creatures."(399) The problem is here then, as Klapwijk rightly points out, not merely that Dooyeweerd's typical distinction between the subject and object functions is disregarded but also that the transcendental unity of man's heart as the concentration point of logical and other functions is replaced by the concept of person.(400)

237. Moreover, this correlative relationship between nature and grace is also manifested in Marlet's view of the relation between philosophy and theology. For Marlet, just as nature is dependent on grace in order to reach its goal and to be redeemed from sin, philosophical thought is dependent on a theological a priori. On the other hand, theology needs philosophy because theological concepts, through which revelation is explained, are developed in philosophy. There is thus an interaction between the two. However, Marlet's view of interaction between the central religious sphere of the heart and philosophical thinking does not fit into Dooyeweerd's thought because for him the relationship between the two is that of divergence and concentration rather than interaction.(401)

238. Concerning the third transcendental element, Marlet accepts Dooyeweerd's view that within the total experience of concrete reality, theoretical thinking is that of abstracted and set-apart aspects which are experienced as a diversity within unity.(402) But Marlet again adds, "the idea of the process-character of the cosmos as the correlation of coming into being and passing away", which is to be compared with Dooyeweerd's view of cosmic time.(403)

239. Further, we can also say that both the ideas of analogia entis, by which Marlet conceives of God and creatures in one idea of being, and esse est intelligibile, imply the overestimation and autonomy of theoretical thought in Marlet's thinking. Remarkable is that in this vein Marlet formulates the coherence of the three central ideas of philosophy as the tension-unity (analogy) of "being" whereas Dooyeweerd formulates it that as the "cosmonomic idea" and later the "transcendental basic idea".(404)

c. J.A. Aertsen

240. J.A. Aertsen disagrees with Dooyeweerd's view of Thomistic philosophy as synthetic accommodation philosophy driven by the nature-grace motive. Like Marlet, Aertsen argues that Dooyeweerd interprets Aquinas too exclusively from the perspective of Aristotle and too little as a Christian thinker. Since Dooyeweerd argues that the dialectical character of the Thomistic synthesis is clearly manifested in his view of creation as the point of contact between Christian revelation and Greek thought, Aertsen focuses his attention on this subject. By analyzing Aquinas' view of creation, Aertsen tries to show that it is considerably different from that of the Greek philosophers and rather that "Thomas' quest for the origin of being radically transformed the Aristotelian universe" because for Aquinas the index of creatureliness is not the composition of form and matter but the ontological difference between essentia and esse.(405)

241. From the perspective of the transcendental basic idea, it is clear that Aertsen discusses mainly the idea of origin. Philosophy is for him an urge in search of origin. He holds first that it is a truth of faith for Aquinas that all things are from God and the insight obtained through this knowledge could never be gained through Greek philosophy.(406) Secondly, according to Aertsen, Aquinas posits the rationality of creation. Explaining creation as philosophical truth, Aertsen mentions three points: (1) creation is first creatio ex nihilo [creation out of nothing], which contrasts with the Greek notion of ex nihilo nihil fit [from nothing nothing can originate];(407) (2) creation is the production of being in an absolute sense; and (3) creation is the production of beings with all their principles.

242. With this analysis, Aertsen contends that "Thomas is not a synthesis thinker if that means that through an accommodation to Aristotelian philosophy first matter as the autonomous `other' withdraws itself from the divine Creator's sovereignty."(408) Aertsen stresses that "creation brings the absolute sovereignty of God" and so "there remains a radical distinction between Creator and creature."(409) On the other hand, however, Aertsen acknowledges a tension in Aquinas' thought concerning creation and materia prima [the first matter]. This comes from "Thomas' two views of created reality, the believable ex parte Dei [on the part of God] and the philosophical ex parte naturae [on the part of nature]."(410) Through this dual order, Aquinas desires to understand reality as natura and creatura.(411) Moreover, Aertsen understands the Thomistic view of nature and grace in this sense, that the Christian life is the supra-natural perfection of the natural order.(412)

243. This conclusion, however, leads us to think that even though it might be hard to call Aquinas a synthesis thinker, he can still be said to have the dual motive with respect to creation, viz., a philosophical view and a believer's view.(413) I think that Dooyeweerd pays attention to this dualistic tendency in Thomistic philosophy and by revealing it with his transcendental critique he attempts to make an inner reformation of Scholastic thinking. In addition, it seems to me that the Thomistic nature-grace motive can be understood much better from the perspective of the radical effect of sin and redemption rather than merely that of creation because at this point the Scholastic understanding is radically different from the reformed one. The reformed viewpoint emphasizes the cosmic effect of sin and the total depravity of man but Scholastic thinking does not acknowledge this doctrine. In the same manner, reformed teaching accentuates the cosmic, radical and integral redemption of Christ whereas Scholastic dogma stresses the role of the institutional church as well.

244. Furthermore, though Aertsen does not mention the idea of unity nor that of diversity in coherence at all, we can ask the following questions since the three transcendental ideas are inseparably interrelated: what kind of consequences can Aertsen's analysis of this first idea of origin have for the other two? Will the dualistic analysis Aertsen gives of Aquinas' view of reality not also be reflected in Aquinas' view of man and in the ideas pertaining to modal diversity and inter-modal coherence? For instance, man is understood as a reasonable being in his natural existence whereas faith, hope and love belong to the supra-natural realm, added to the former. Thus Aertsen's analysis of Aquinas' view of Origin does not weaken Dooyeweerd's argument but rather seems to support it. In addition, Aertsen explains that these two ways of understanding reality via nature and creation concur in the intelligibility of reality.(414) Here again we find the autonomous tendency of theoretical thinking.

(4) Evaluative Remarks

245. Dooyeweerd's dialogue with Thomistic philosophy as such has been quite successful, we can say, in the sense that his transcendental critique has attracted significant attention not only from Roman Catholic scholars such as Robbers and Marlet, but also from a reformed expert on Thomistic thought like Aertsen. Their responses, however, are not only positive but also very critical. Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach as such is highly appreciated but his view of the nature-grace motive is severely challenged. As a conclusive evaluation, we will concentrate on two crucial issues: the autonomy of theoretical thought in Thomistic philosophy and the possibility of dialogue without losing the idea of antithesis.

246. Did Aquinas fully acknowledge, as Dooyeweerd argues, the autonomy of human reason? The answer should be `no' if the word `autonomy' is understood literally as `Giving-the-law-by-oneself' in the Kantian sense. For Aquinas, human natural thinking is not self-sufficient but oriented to the realm of supra-natural grace. Strictly speaking, therefore, the autonomy of human natural reason in Aquinas' thought is not an absolute but a relative one as a temporal preamble of the perfect knowledge of faith, as J.D. Dengerink rightly points out.(415) For Aquinas, the idea of autonomous thinking is strange because knowledge is rather an adjustment of human understanding to the created truths as the principles of things.(416) Moreover, human rational thinking cannot be said to be self-sufficient because it is created by God. When Aquinas speaks of the self-sufficiency of human natural reason, he always does so with respect to faith and thus to God's revelation and grace because only from that revelation, is the true view of Origin, unity and cosmic time possible.(417) Precisely speaking, therefore, Dooyeweerd's critique of the autonomous tendency in Thomistic thinking ought to be that human rational thought, separate from faith and revelation, can have adequate and reasonable knowledge of nature. However, it is to be remembered that in Aquinas' intellectual approach of reality, his belief in God as the Creator is not abolished. Therefore, Dooyeweerd's argument about the autonomy of human natural reason in Thomistic philosophy needs to be modified because it is not of an absolute character like in Greek philosophy or in modern humanistic thinking.

247. The next crucial question concerns the possibility of a meaningful dialogue when a difference comes to light within the religious basic motives. As we have already seen, Robbers argues that such a discussion will finally result in irrationality, should Dooyeweerd strictly separate religious dialectic from theoretical dialectic. A similar critique concerns whether Dooyeweerd falls into vicious circular reasoning having already presupposed in his proof the view that the structure of theoretical thought as such cannot be religiously neutral. But Dooyeweerd rejects this view by saying that "[i]f ... theoretical synthesis is possible only from a supra-theoretical starting-point, then only the contents of the supra-theoretical presuppositions implied thereby, can be questionable, but not the very necessity of them."(418) Berkouwer also fully affirms that from the transcendental critique of philosophic thought, the continuance of dialogue is possible "because the basic motive is not in any way a sign of irrationality, but a reminder of the continuous subjection to divine revelation."(419) When Dooyeweerd explains the dynamic religious ground motive as deriving from out of the depth of the human heart itself, it does not mean irrationalism nor even subjectivism. It is an existential involvement, Berkouwer explicates, of the total man in God's revelation in the power of the Holy Spirit. The deepest decisions of the human heart are not theoretical. Thus the religious basic motive cannot be rationally proven but this unprovability is not the same as irrationality.(420) Dooyeweerd's fundamental distinction in his transcendental critique between theoretical thought and pretheoretical presuppositions (viz., the religious ground motive) and his firm conviction that the former is always dependent on the latter, determine the dynamic character of the scientific dialogue and confrontation as well.(421)

248. In the light of Dooyeweerd's transcendental ground idea and religious basic motive, there exists one ultimate antithesis in philosophy, viz., that between the absolutization of meaning, in apostasy from God and the return of philosophical thought to God in Christ.(422) Just because this absolutization does not do justice to created reality, the dialogue remains possible and meaningful.(423) The transcendental basic idea, whose content is ruled by its religious ground motive, does not lead us to the closing of dialogue but rather shows an analysis or perspective of reality. Therefore, it can function as the point of contact among various thinkers. Dooyeweerd is convinced that the ground for the possibility of dialogue lies in this state of affairs concerning the ontical structure of the theoretical thought attitude and the modal aspects of reality. Behind this reflection lies his basic concept of the structural character of reality, which is not chaotic, but is lawful and orderly in nature. Here the continuity and possibility of dialogue is guaranteed.(424) Philosophical dialogue can always remain open and be fruitful via the three moments of the transcendental ground idea even though the presuppositions are different. Rather, precisely because of the differing presuppostions, discussion is necessary in order that consequent implications and the ultimate antithesis between the standpoints of the two dialogue partners can be revealed. Dialogue is possible without disregarding antithesis even though tension between the two exists.

4. Dooyeweerd's Transcendental Critique of Modern Humanistic Philosophy

249. Dooyeweerd spent three-fifths of the first book of his first magnum opus on modern philosophy.(425) This proportion already shows how much he was concerned about modern humanistic thinking in the whole of his philosophical dialogue. As I have already mentioned, Dooyeweerd's analysis of the modern philosophical tradition with the freedom-nature motive already appears in the terms of personality ideal and science ideal in his first series of articles in Antirevolutionaire Staatkunde. Most likely borrowing from Kant, Dooyeweerd also later uses the terms freedom and nature, but the contents remain the same. It is well known that Dooyeweerd's initial development of his transcendental critical method was in order to confront the (neo-)Kantian philosophy of his time.

250. Strangely enough, however, not many have discussed Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of modern humanistic philosophy. Nonetheless, quite a significant reflection was made by J. van der Hoeven and J.F. Glastra van Loon from the reformational and humanistic standpoint respectively. First, we will look at Dooyeweerd's analysis of modern Western philosophy from the perspective of the nature-freedom motive via its transcendental ground idea and its dialectical dilemma. Then the two critical responses to this analysis will be briefly discussed.

(1) The Humanistic Nature-Freedom Motive

251. According to Dooyeweerd, the rise of modern humanistic thinking was prepared by late-medieval nominalism: the inherent dialectic of the Roman Catholic Church's attempted synthesis between the Greek view of nature and the Christian doctrine of grace led late-medieval scholasticism into an open dualism and exposed the deep rift between the two.(426) In Dooyeweerd's opinion, it was the Franciscan William of Ockham who exposed this inner dualism of the Thomistic motive, denying any point of contact between the realm of nature and that of grace, because he knew intuitively that Aquinas' Greek picture of form-matter could not be reconciled with the confession of the sovereign Creator. Thus only two options were left: either to pursue the "natural" direction which would ultimately emancipate man from dogmatic faith, or to return to a consistent biblical motive. The Renaissance followed the first whereas the Reformation did the second, according to Dooyeweerd. Although the Italian Renaissance was basically concerned with a "rebirth" of man in an exclusively natural sense as contrasted to supra-natural, it did not mean actually going back to the Greek sense of nature but meant a real rebirth of man into a creative and entirely new personality. Therefore, Dooyeweerd argues that the deepest ideal of the Renaissance was that of human personality in its freedom (from every faith that claims allegiance) and in its autonomy (that is, the pretension that human personality is a law unto itself).(427) This ideal gradually secularized the Christian motive of "freedom in Jesus Christ" into a new ideal of human personality centered on autonomous reason. In short, the freedom ideal is the humanistic ideal which aims at the complete autonomy of the human personality, free from supra-natural powers, from other authorities such as state or church, and from traditions.

252. This humanistic personality ideal called forth a new conception of nature, Dooyeweerd continues, which is fundamentally different from that of the Greek and Scholastic view because it was regarded as mechanical, as the macro-cosmic reflection of the micro-cosmic human personality, having infinite potentialities for the development of man's creative powers. As an example, Dooyeweerd mentions Copernicus' discovery of the dual motion of earth which revolutionized the traditional and Ptolemaic picture of the world and produced a new worldview. In addition, shortly thereafter, Galileo and Newton laid the foundation for modern mathematical natural science, attempting to demonstrate that man could control natural phenomena by means of capturing them in mathematical formulations within an absolutely closed and determined network of causality. This science ideal is, therefore, essentially the ideal of complete mastery of nature by means of which the autonomous freedom of human personality can be achieved. It is believed that scientists, by means of the natural scientific method, can discover the laws governing natural events which make natural phenomena discernible and calculable. Influenced by the gigantic development of modern science and technology in the period of the Enlightenment and the industrial revolution, Dooyeweerd argues, men gradually began to believe that this is the only method that could lead to the same results in the other sciences as well. Faith in progress became dominant.(428) This faith is not directed to the Creator but to modern science and technology as the product of human autonomous rationality. By investigating causal laws, and by increasing the knowledge of these natural laws, modern autonomous man thinks that he can control and manipulate them in such a way that he can no longer fall prey or victim to the blind power of fate. This is the reason why Dooyeweerd referred to this modern nature motive as a domination motive (beheersingsmotief).

(2) The Dialectical Conflict in the Nature-Freedom Motive

253. Dooyeweerd asserts that it is not so difficult to discover the inner tension between the nature and freedom motive. Essentially, the former is the ideal of control with which man aims at subjecting nature and all of its unlimited possibilities to him by means of the new method of mathematical and natural science. Through this science ideal, it is believed that man was capable of grasping all of reality using universal laws of mechanical motion. Thus if all of reality is determined as a flawless chain of causality and can be explained in terms of natural science, then human thinking, willing, and acting can also be conceived of as causally determined processes of nature. There is, then, no room for human freedom!(429) If man belongs to nature with its mechanistic, deterministic worldview, he can never be free and autonomous. In short, the personality ideal has produced the science ideal in order to be free from supra-natural powers and traditional views, but the latter now turns on its maker and threatens to control it. The postulate of continuity in both ideals becomes antagonistic to each other, the reconciliation of which is impossible because both are absolute and religious. Thus an evident dialectical antinomy between the two can be seen.

254. Henceforth, Dooyeweerd argues that humanism is confronted with a restless dialectical process, assigning primacy either to the one or to the other. How, then, is this humanistic motive worked out in the three transcendental basic ideas? To begin with, Dooyeweerd mentions the primacy of the science ideal in which human reason functions as the idea of origin in that the scientific thought of the special sciences is absolutized as law-giver.(430) The idea of totality is described as "the mathematical or natural scientific system of functional relations within the absolutized aspect of temporal reality, considered as an infinite task for scientific thought."(431) As the idea of the inter-modal coherence of meaning, Dooyeweerd remarks that "the continuity of the movement of thought within the absolutized aspect of meaning is made the philosophical basic denominator of reality."(432) Then the views of Descartes, Hobbes, and Leibniz are explicated as the major representative thinkers of this science ideal and a distinctive type is ascribed to each one as transcendental ground idea: naturalistic-dualistic, naturalistic-monistic, and mathematical-idealistic types respectively.(433) For example, René Descartes made a basic distinction between material nature and human soul. The ultimate ground of scientific certainty and moral freedom lay in the "cogito" [I think]. Under the primacy of the mathematical science ideal, however, he partly abandons this metaphysical dualism "by his conception of an influxus physicus which was assumed to enter human consciousness from a small gland (parva glandula) in the brain."(434) In the same vein, Leibniz called God "the great Geometer".(435)

255. When Descartes, Hobbes, and Leibniz emphasized the ideal of control and domination rather than that of human personality and freedom, their ultimate ground of certainty was in mathematical and natural-scientific thinking. However, when the origin of its concepts was put into question, the freedom ideal began to be emphasized. In this ideal of personality, Dooyeweerd analyzes the three transcendental ideas: As the idea of origin, he mentions human reason, especially "transcendental thought in its apriori syntheses, directed towards the Idea of freedom."(436) The idea of meaning-totality is described as "the Idea of the `homo noumenon' as a categorical imperative."(437) As the idea of inter-modal meaning-coherence, he points to "the continuity of the Idea of freedom which intends to establish a deeper coherence between the different modal aspects by means of a common denominator chosen in a normative aspect of temporal reality."(438) As its most representative advocates, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau are mentioned.(439) To give one illustration, Locke tried to show that the natural-scientific concepts cannot but derive their content from our sense impressions of the external world. Dooyeweerd calls it, therefore, the psychological turn in the ideal of science in empiricism. Since Locke distinguished "sensation" as outward experience from "reflection" as inner experience, his view is called "psychological dualism".(440) By dissolving the entire content of knowledge into simple psychical impressions (or ideas), Locke argued that exact science would be impossible if there were no necessary relations between these ideas.

256. According to Dooyeweerd, Kant tried to overcome the dialectical tension between the two ideals by making a sharp distinction between the realms of "nature and freedom", "science and belief", and "theoretical and practical reason". The science ideal was depreciated and limited to phenomena (the empirical, sensory realm), whereas autonomous freedom belonged to noumena (the supra-sensory realm) which is ruled by norms. In this way, Kant also ascribed the ultimate primacy to the personality ideal and conceived it in an overly rationalistic and individualistic way.(441)

257. Against this, irrational Romanticism and neo-Kantian idealism gave a new form to the humanist ideal of personality. Calling it an irrationalistic and universalistic (transpersonalistic) turn,(442) Dooyeweerd explains that "the human self is now conceived as an individuality and as a part of a super-personal national community (Volksgemeinschaft), which itself has its own original spirit (Volksgeist)."(443) Hegel attempted to synthesize dialectically the two antagonistic ground motives by means of theoretical dialectic.

258. This irrationalistic and universalistic conception of the freedom ideal was again confronted with another new science ideal which rejected mathematical natural science and took its cue from the science of history. This "historicism" was antagonistic to the ideal of freedom because it viewed every idea as a pure and relative historical result, undermining the belief in an eternal idea of human liberty and autonomy.(444) Regarding it as a positivistic turn, Dooyeweerd argues that this "relativism" is the beginning of a spiritual uprooting of humanism and the result of the irresistibly dialectical process within the religious motive of nature-freedom.(445) In the contemporary context, Dooyeweerd argues that logical positivism and its polar opposite, humanistic existentialism, testify to the fundamental dilemma of human-centered thought.(446) In sum, the dialectical antinomy can be clearly seen between the freedom and nature motive throughout the history of modern humanistic philosophy and here lies, Dooyeweerd believes, the crisis in the principles of modern Western philosophy.(447)

(3) Critical Responses

a. J. van der Hoeven

259. J. van der Hoeven, former professor of modern philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam, discusses Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of modern humanistic philosophy in his article "Dooyeweerd en de geschiedenis van de moderne wijsbegeerte".(448) He does not criticize Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach but rather appreciates it. At the end of his article, however, he makes some critical comments.

260. To begin with, he characterizes Dooyeweerd's transcendental method both as systematic and as a critique in the continuous struggle "in the religious root of history" between the civitas Dei and the civitas terrena. Thus Van der Hoeven acknowledges that this approach has two aspects, namely, "contact and conflict".(449) In this sense, he compares Dooyeweerd's philosophy with that of A. Plantinga, A.O. Lovejoy, and C. Taylor, finding a certain similarity in their analysis of modern philosophy.(450)

261. As an evaluation, Van der Hoeven first points out some positive aspects: for example, the real width and depth in Dooyeweerd's encounter with major philosophers throughout the history of Western thought. He is convinced that no Christian scholar who wants to take the Western philosophical tradition into consideration can ignore Dooyeweerd's work. Van der Hoeven also acknowledges both Dooyeweerd's originality in dealing with the studies of other thinkers and his openness for the accomplishments of non-Christian scholars.

262. Some limits of Dooyeweerd's dialogue with modern philosophy are also mentioned as regrettable. Because of his concentration on the polar tensions within some of its most representative systems, Dooyeweerd could not pay enough attention to, for instance, the "Cartesian circle of Jansenists at Port-Royal", and the effort for synthesis taken by the Occasionalists.(451) Secondly, Dooyeweerd could not discuss the synthesis of the ground motive of the humanistic basic idea with that of Greek or scholastic-Christian thought because this would give rise to new complications and tensions and thus require further special investigation.(452)

263. One critical comment of Van der Hoeven, in connection with the transcendental ground idea, is that Dooyeweerd has not done full justice to the idea of God in diverse modern philosophers such as Descartes and Leibniz.(453) For instance, when Dooyeweerd says that Descartes' idea of God as the foundation of all further knowledge " nothing but the absolutizing of mathematical thought to divine thought, which cannot mislead us",(454) Van der Hoeven finds it too succinct because in the Meditations the `malin génie [evil spirit]' cannot be a match for Descartes' conviction of God's goodness, a conviction which has a long and strong tradition. The other critical responses are not directly related to the idea of unity or diversity but to Dooyeweerd's way of interpreting the thought of other philosophers. For instance, Van der Hoeven is not persuaded when Dooyeweerd views Hamann as the remarkable representative of the "irrational philosophy of feeling".(455) For him, Pascal and Hamann seem to be of special importance as counterparts. Secondly, Van der Hoeven argues that Dooyeweerd disregarded the `humanistic' trend in the narrower sense of the word and put too much emphasis on `nature' and `freedom' and on the `Faustic' ambition. A result of this is, Van der Hoeven contends, that the shape of the humanities (geesteswetenschappelijke gedaante) of the freedom ideal, the literary-historical culture of the self (later from Kant again so important in the ideal of Bildung) remains in the shadow.(456) Finally, concerning the Enlightenment, Van der Hoeven is of the opinion that Dooyeweerd did not sufficiently acknowledge the practically directed tendency of this movement.(457)

b. J.F. Glastra van Loon

264. Another critical response was made by J.F. Glastra van Loon, a Dutch humanist philosopher.(458) His critique is basically against the fundamental presupposition of Dooyeweerd's philosophy in general but he makes some specific comments on Dooyeweerd's interpretation of certain modern thinkers as well. Understanding Dooyeweerd's philosophy as built upon the basis of the antithesis between transcendent and immanent philosophy and thus excluding any other option(s), Van Loon formulates Dooyeweerd's three basic theses as follows: (1) the non-neutral character of the concept of truth, (2) the meaningfulness of reality, and (3) the indispensability of a transcendent Archimedean point for philosophical thought about ourselves and the world.(459) Van Loon is willing to agree with the first two points but with the third one he disagrees. For him, Dooyeweerd's exhaustive division of philosophical standpoints between the immanent and transcendent is not acceptable. Rejecting this `dualistic' position, Van Loon suggests his alternative: taking the "intransparency (ondoorgrondelijkheid)" of our existence as a foundation, by which he meant that there is no unchangeable certainty, but rather that there are only conditional and relative, thus amendable and correctible certainties.(460) "Certainties and insights appear in the process of history but also disappear again without giving an indication of a definitive end-point in a certain moment."(461) Consequently, Van Loon criticizes Dooyeweerd for not having sufficient insight into the historically determined character of both Cartesian rationalism and the philosophy of the Enlightenment.(462) Even though he highly respects Dooyeweerd's critique of modern rationalistic thought and his conclusion with respect to the task of philosophy in this post-modern period in restoring pre-theoretical experience, Van Loon cannot agree with Dooyeweerd's negative evaluation of Dilthey and his historical relativism, understood by Dooyeweerd as a late fallen product of an already apostate form of philosophy.(463) For Van Loon, Dilthey corrects the worldview of the Enlightenment which, being different from revealed truth, had the possibility of correcting it.

265. Here we can clearly see, first of all, that Van Loon conceives of Dooyeweerd's philosophy as the opposition of a "dogma against another dogma" just like Franken characterized it in 1938. We might then react and ask why Van Loon discusses only Dooyeweerd's "first way" of his transcendental critique and not the "second way". We have already seen in chapter two that after receiving a similar critical response from Franken, Dooyeweerd works out and refines his "first way" and develops the "second way" of the transcendental critique. Therefore, Van Loon's characterizing Dooyeweerd's philosophy as `transcendent' philosophy does not do justice to it because Dooyeweerd's critique is not `transcendent' but rather `transcendental'. His criticism is made not from a transcendent point of view but rather as a critical investigation on the necessary and universally valid structural conditions which make human knowledge and theoretical thought possible.

266. Secondly, Van Loon considers his standpoint a third alternative. But I would say that it is exactly his ultimate starting-point, namely, his foundational ground motive which determines the contents of his philosophy. His idea of "intransparency" of our existence with its relativistic tendency implies the transcendental ground idea. His idea of origin could be characterized as that of the absolutized ever-changing aspect of reality. His view of man might be described as a historically determined being. And his idea of diversity in coherence would be again ruled by that of historical relativism, disregarding other aspects of reality. Applying Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach, we can ask: is this position really possible? Is Van Loon's thesis that "everything is relative" not a contradiction in itself?

267. In addition, Van Loon's opinion that Dooyeweerd rejects all kinds of humanistic immanence philosophy as "apostate" is understandable because of its negative "name-calling" but he does not take sufficient consideration of Dooyeweerd's appreciation of non-Christian philosophy. As we have seen, Dooyeweerd has an open mind, appreciating God's common grace working in the heart of humanist thinkers who are also capable of discovering relative truths. At the same time, he is very conscious of the fact that Christian thinkers can also make mistakes just because the full consummation has not yet occurred. Moreover, Dooyeweerd makes clear that he is dependent upon the Western tradition of philosophy and science, which he calls the Western community of philosophical thought.(464) "[N]o philosophy can prosper in isolation," he emphasizes.(465)

5. Conclusive Evaluation

268. Up to now, we have discussed Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of Western philosophy from his idea of the religious ground motive via the three central philosophical ideas, focusing on the dialectical conflict and the autonomy of theoretical thought in the non-Christian motives, and focusing on some major critical responses.

269. The basic motivation of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critical analysis of Western thought from the religious ground motive has been his own effort to establish an open dialogue with various types of Western philosophy throughout history so that he could lay bare the radical and inevitable antithesis between the Christian motive and the non-Christian ones. Dooyeweerd contends that "[o]nly when men have nothing to hide from themselves and from their counterparts in the discussion will the way be opened for a dialogue that seeks to convince rather than repel."(466) John Kraay gives an essential summary when he said,

[I]f the most fundamental wellsprings of action are recognized for what they are - religious ground motives - open dialogue is possible among adherents of divergent convictions as equal partners in a discussion, all sharing in the awesome reality of a broken world, broken on account of what man has done and has failed to do.... Structurally religious, man gives his heart to forces that prolong and intensify the brokenness of human life, powers called forth by man himself that tear him apart. But Dooyeweerd makes a fundamental distinction between apostate ground motives and the biblical one. Apostate ground motives display an inherent dialectic; that is, a "destructive principle" is at work at their very core. This destructive principle is a spirit of negation that stands over against revelationally given meaning as matrix of mankind's place and calling in creation. In this way Dooyeweerd offers a renewed and deepened understanding of the significance of the "antithesis" between the spirit of darkness and the living, healing power of the Word of God.(467)

270. Did Dooyeweerd then really succeed in achieving his goal? Did his approach really promote dialogue without losing sight of the absolute antithesis? Did he actually reveal the autonomy of human theoretical thought? We will close this chapter by considering the pros and cons of Dooyeweerd's actual accomplishment of his transcendental criticism from the religious basic motives via the three transcendental ground ideas in terms of dialogue and antithesis. To begin with, I will mention two positive points.

271. First, Dooyeweerd emphasizes the transcendental ground idea as the inner point of contact between theoretical thought and the religious sphere, rejecting both the view that science and faith should be kept apart and the idea that they could be connected in an external way. This transcendental ground idea is, according to him, intrinsic to philosophy, giving direction to philosophical analysis and interpretations of reality and implicitly and indirectly to scientific theories as well. Since its content is determined by a religious ground motive, the direction is then decided by that religious motivation. And because science presupposes to some extent a philosophical conception of reality, this transcendental ground idea is very important for scientific thinking, too. "Especially," as Geertsema points out, "the idea concerning the basic diversity in relation to unity and coherence will have a deep impact on scientific interpretations of reality as a discussion of reductionism in science will easily show."(468)

272. The most significant contribution of Dooyeweerd consists in his heuristic approach, as mentioned in the former chapter, revealing and rejecting the dogma of the pretended autonomy of human theoretical thinking. By laying bare the basic antinomy of religious dialectic in the non-Christian ground motives via the three transcendental basic ideas, Dooyeweerd has indeed showed us the deepest conflict of human-centered thinking which absolutizes theoretical thought itself. For him the dialectic itself witnesses that the order created by God in our thinking and in created reality is violated. Almost all the scholars who have critically reflected on Dooyeweerd's analysis agree with his central thesis, that is, the inevitability of non-neutral, religious presuppositions of philosophical thought. Furthermore, he also presented the Christian motive as the only alternative which can resolve the fatal problems of Western secularized thought. In this way, Dooyeweerd has clearly demonstrated that an antithesis exists between Christian and non-Christian basic motives and so approached the issue of inner reformation of Western philosophy and science from its root. In fact, the same applies for his transcendental critique of Western culture, namely, revealing dialectical problems of non-Christian cultures throughout its history.

273. But it is difficult to say that his attempt to have dialogue with other thinkers has been successful since the partners in discussion were quite few. Major responses have been made mainly by his colleagues and followers at the Free University and other Christian philosophers. He has attracted little attention from other philosophers to his new approach. For instance, he remains almost unknown to German thinkers. What might be then the weak points of Dooyeweerd's approach?

274. First of all, even though he approached Greek, Thomistic, and modern humanistic philosophy from the central philosophical ideas of origin, unity, and diversity in coherence, his actual discussion did not touch all the three elements. In this sense, Dooyeweerd did not consistently apply his transcendental method to the analysis of Western philosophical trends. For example, in his discussion of Greek philosophy, he did not equally deal with the transcendental ground ideas. The form-matter motive was initially oriented to the idea of origin and later applied to that of unity but little was mentioned with respect to modal diversity.

275. Moreover, as many persuasive critical comments have shown us, the concrete contents of the religious basic motives which Dooyeweerd explicated and his actual transcendental critique based upon those motives cannot claim absolute certainty or infallibility.(469) Some criticisms do not do justice to Dooyeweerd's intention, but others do point out that a certain part of his ideas needs to be corrected and further developed. Bos, for instance, points out the problem of Dooyeweerd's characterizing the Greek motive as form and matter. Robbers and Marlet do not agree that the nature-grace motive characterizes Thomistic philosophy, but instead argue for the idea of analogia entis and that of esse est intelligibile. Though the necessity of Dooyeweerd's idea of the religious basic motive is hardly questioned, its content should continuously be reflected upon and refined further. Of course, this temporary character of the contents of each motive is again inseparably related with the eschatological tension of the Christian life context. Christians should not consider themselves as having yet succeeded in taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. In this vein, every Christian philosophy is temporary and tentative even though led by biblical revelation.

276. In spite of these weak points, however, it is certainly to be acknowledged that Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of Western thought gives us not merely a tremendous insight into understanding the root and dilemma of human autonomous thought in Western philosophy but also into the possibility of having a sincere conversation with non-Christian philosophers without losing the integrity and ultimate, eschatological conviction of the Christian principle of antithesis between the civitas Dei and the civitas terrena. Consequently, it is a worthwhile undertaking to apply his transcendental approach to Korean thought in order to check whether it produces the same results. But before doing that, we are going to deal in the following chapter with his further efforts in developing his transcendental critique as a cultural criticism and in executing it in the context of Western civilization.

Copyright (c) Yong-Joon Choi, 2000, All Rights Reserved.

Prepared as part of The Dooyeweerd Pages web site by Andrew Basden 2002, with the kind permission of Yong-Joon Choi.

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