Navigation: This page 'suite.html' ---> aspects --> Main Page. HELP. Contact. Admin.

Why Dooyeweerd's Suite of Aspects ?

Dooyeweerd's suite of fifteen aspects is used as a kind of checklist by many to indicate 'the' complete set of aspects of reality, even though Dooyeweerd himself claimed that no set of aspects is ever materially complete and all proposed suites will always stand in need of refinement. However, in asking himself what the aspects are, Dooyeweerd did attempt a complete coverage of the Meaning of temporal reality - which includes all being, functioning, norms, etc. This was indeed a bold attempt.

Please also see tabular comparison with other suites, prose comparison, and summary list of reasons to trust Dooyeweerd's suite.

How we use suites of aspects

We use suites of aspects all the time to make major distinctions in life, whenever we categorize things in a major way, for example:

Here is a more substantial example of aspectual argument: The human has been seen as thinker, from Plato's classical antiquity through to Descartes and the Enlightenment to modernity. But Smith [2009:44] argues that such reductionist approaches fail to honour the richness and complexity of the human person, and reviewed models of the human person that developed throughout the history of philosophy and theology. He classified these broadly as the human person as thinker, as believer and as lover. In this exercise we can see Smith thinking aspectually.

We think aspectually whenever we hold something needs to be considered separately from something else, or when we hold that something is fundamentally different from something else, or when we make major distinctions such as in government departments, and so on. When we take, adopt, commit to, or use a suite of aspects we do so as a temporary commitment (pistic aspect). When we question a suite we function in the analytic aspect.

It should be pointed out that

('given', that is, on any human authority, though Dooyeweerd believed the aspects are a gift of the Creator.) That is, Dooyeweerd does not claim his suite is 'the' truth (i.e. given), but in practical living we often take to ourselves a suite of aspects in order to differentiate distinct areas of meaning. This is is whether the suite we 'take' is Dooyeweerd's or some other.

Why is Dooyeweerd's Suite Good?

So the question is: to what extent are we justified in taking (trusting) Dooyeweerd's suite of aspects, and are there any grounds for believing it might be better than other suites? It is clear that Dooyeweerd himself believed his suite made a definite contribution when he said, in the context of discussing radical types of entity, [NC, III:90]:

"How can we theoretically approach this articulation in the descending series of divergent structural types with their complicated bifurcations according to the principle of similarity and diversity? This is a problem which since PLATO's dialogues Sophistes and Politicos has repeatedly been discussed in philosophy, without having found an ontologically well founded solution."

Here are a few indicators why I personally find Dooyeweerd's suite better than any other I have yet encountered:


Smith, James, K.A. (2009) Desiring the Kingdom. Cultural Liturgies. Vol.1. Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, USA. :Notes from Chapter 1 Homo Liturgicus
This is part of The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Questions or comments would be welcome.

Copyright (c) 2004 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext.

Created: 1 April 2005. Last updated: 11 May 2005 link to new.aspects#trust.dy. 11 July 2005 a couple of quotes from NC. 3 February 2006 links; rid counter. 17 September 2010 reasons why Dooyeweerd's suite good updated from new.aspects and justification, which are now summaries of this.