Archive for August 2007

Lecture 40

25 August, 2007

The word mathematical was used in 1941 by to describe the numerical modality– that’s not possible. Mathematics comes from a word meaning I come to know from experience. The Pythagoreans has said that the essential nature of all things id number and spatial figures. Everything is 7 , 11 or 4 or a triangle a sphere; the earliest Pythagoreans had not yet distinguished between number and spatial figures. Each number was a spatial figure. The nature of things was number and spatial figure, the word mathematics came to mean the knowledge of, the essence of things. Now we know there is arithmetic and geometry. So, mathematics can not be used to one of the modalities. Refers to both of them together.

Analytic – say one thing more and then more on to the others. We are trying to circumscribe a sense of the modal spheres – a sphere of distinct law functioning. From here on up they are norm laws; they require human objectivising – it is only grasped by humans giving positive form to it; eg the logical law, Greek thinkers began to realise that man could think logical, they had to put them in a law from then they could debate, the sesning of the law demand. These norms can be disobeyed, the lower ones cannot. Each sphere has a distinct kind of science.
Can’t be defined because they are ontic a prioris. There is nothing more ultimate under which they can be subsumed or defined, they can only be talk around. We distinguish a difference by way ofconcept formation. (Difference is ontic – it is there in the creation and we take note of difference and thus distinguish. Plants distinguish, animals distinguish but do it in a different way, the animal has a sensitive subject function; the plant doesn’t have one higher than the organic. A man distinguishes also by concept formation.)

What constitutes science? Discriminating systematically is the usual answer. Systematic discriminating belongs to a human being as an ontic a priori, we can do it without any scientific training. Science is generalisation – every baby generalises!

Concept formation is the forming of universals, and universals is generalisation. generalisation is the very essence of our logical functioning. It is a condition of experiencing everyday life.

Historial or the Technical: Why do I have these two words so close together? The whole trend of modern philosophy has to be to discuss knowing in terms of the scientific. Human knowing is so much more richer. God’s creation is revelational, man is made to hear and do the word of God; that involves knowing what is in the creation, grasping its sense.

It always involves three things: matter (in the sense of material), form and end (telos, the goal)
In all technics (be sure to distinguish between technics and technology; technology is the science of technics). Technics: a material which is formed to achieve a given end.

There is some material adding a form to the material to achive a desired end, that triad is always present in a technical process.

Why historial alongside technical? What is history? Is it a special science? Dooyeweerd say it is.

Old History been concerned with wars and political regimes and their successionetc, then new history in 20s and 30s, took abroad view of things, everyhting in a man’s life is history, sohistory can’t be a science it is an artful ways of describing all that’s happened to the human race– it describes all things in the human race. Dooyeweerd, says no, becauuse we aren’t interested in everything, except from a modally distinct way of viewing it.

Nineteenth century book by Thomas Carlye, Heroes and Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History,what makes a man a hero, a historical figure? Napoleon, Hitler and so on. Hitler, we know he grew up before WWI and was a soldier and was disappointed with the peace treaty. Thought he could reorganise Europe, it was an unorganised mess, the raw material for him to work upon; he had an idea of an end, the Third Reich. He couldn’t reach that end unless he could add form to Europe. Military power in Germany, until

A historical figure is one who finds a material that he can form to achieve an end. For Dooyeweerd, the adding of the form and achieving the end is what makes it an historical event. History as a special science should have an eye to this modal element.

The technical presupposes the analytical, unless form can be distinguished from matter. it involves analytical concept formation, which involves an element of the sensitive, without the sensitive we can’t form concepts. That why we have this ladder. We can’t have sense without the organ of the eye but seeing is not the eye.

Lingual or Symbolic: communication by means of conventional symbols.

One thing animal trainers are agreed upon: animals cannot read symbols. There is no recognition of symbols on the part of dolphins or chimpanzees.

Conventional symbols are ones agreed upon by society – the way we shake or nod our head. Can only be done by humans and it presupposes the historial because language requires human form giving. Linguistics distinguish primary and secondary language: spoken language is primary; written language is secondary.

Economic: Economic means the conservation of scarce goods.

Aesthetic: aesthetic means beautiful harmony. Nothing aesthetic is possible without the economic function of conservation.

Jural: don’t say juridical – it is a mistake, they don’t know any better or they haven’t thought! Juridical comes from Latin, the speaking of jus; it is a small subdivision of the jural!
There are two Latin words that have to be distinguished lex and jus. Lex is a positive law formulated by man, an actual law – the law of the land, statutory law. Legal positivists, the assertion that the study of law can only deal with statutory law – there is nothing behind it; others have said no, behind the legis is jus. Jus mean right, or law in the sense of that which is the norm, which our positivised laws ought to express. Natural law theorist s believe laws should be refashioned so it becomes closer to the law (jus); positivists say there is no jus except lex.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, changed how Americans viewed the law – he went away from natural law theory and brought positivism to it.

Roscoe Pounds I took his class on Lucretius. He got legal positivists as judges. On his 80th birthday he said that he had been wrong and that the task of jurist was to look for an underlying sense of what is just.


Lecture 39

14 August, 2007

This diversity in the sciences and to try to grasp the core meaning of any modailty requires a good knowledge of the various sciences, Dooyeweerd was at home in so many special sciences. He was a law professor concerned with the relationship of the jural to the ethical. He was also a second generation of Kuyper the relationship of the heart to the mystical function and the relation to the ethical and the pistical and jural and ethical to the pistical and the heart; he was concerned about economic life and its relation to society, social and economic. He knew a lot about history, linguistics, psychology. His brother in law Vollenhoven, who he worked with for over 40 years, had done his dissertation in mathematics and expert in physical and organic science and in psychology. They put this scale together in The Hague in 1921-3 when taking walks among the dunes by the sea, they put there expertise together and suddenly it dawned on Dooyeweerd how this modal scale could arrange what people had known through the centuries. There were two things going on culturally: a sensing that there is a diversity in sciences that is unique and reducing of it to a single method.

We have 15 ontic aprioris, for us to experience at all for there to be an experience there are 15 conditions which make it possible. They are distinct, they make a coherence, an experience of distinct ways of functioning, but each is a picture of the whole of all the others, depending on its place in the whole – see this in anticipations and retrocipations.

Every one of these distinct, unique and irreducible ways suggests that beyond this diversity is some whole that is being pictured in these ways. Every picture of the whole is diverse, but what is the whole that is being diversely pictured?

Scientific abstraction can never picture God’s created reality; it s only experience in our original, naïve, pre-scientific experience. Abstraction is a tearing way from its place in things.
Theory of functions; a second theory: typical structures of individuality. Individuals, concrete individuals such as we experience in out naïve experience, such as the chipmunk or robin. There is no such thing we find in God’s creation as just an individual – that is why we have the term typical; individuals belong to universal classes, a physical, a plant an animal a human or whatever it might be. The universal and the individual inter-penetrate. Wherever you have an individual you have typical structure and wherever you have a typical structure we have individuals.

All things function in the aspects either subjectively or objectively. How does a ring function ethically? It is a pledge, a pledge of troth; that’s the meaning of that ring. You can’t discover the sense of that ring until you talk about the ethical. We can only talk about these modalities in individual things. It is only in these things that we can analyse and see these modal aspects.

There is an opening up process – opens up a deeper meaning to these lower modalities. A special science abstracts one. Philosophy talks about the interrelatedness of them all.

Ontic a prioris, these are the building blocks of the creation that are found in typical structures of individuality.

The word empirical is such a ‘demon’. In the seventeenth century there was a big split between mind and matter only in the mind do we have empirical sciences – that can be measured such as the mathematical physicist can do. There are those who attempt to reduce biology to mathematics, but they will not succeed. Mechanistic biology is dominant in this country, but in Germany there has been a revival of vitalism. The biotic is not reducible to the physical-chemical. There are schools of mathematics, that give different answers to key issues. Mathematics won’t solve it.

Would a philosophy which attempted to discover all the a priori be empirical? If God’s creation involves all these building blocks – wouldn’t an empirical sciecne have to come to recognise all these building blocks?

How do we define the term empirical?

Willhem Dilthey, we don’t hear his name in America – he said we have to enlarge the concept of the empirical to include not just the natural sciences.

The laws are norm laws, involves two things: first, the law is given in that it requires positivision of man; second, a norm law can be disobeyed, but it still holds

Sensing: ‘feeling’, ‘thinking’. I can distinguish at least three different use s of the word feeling First, sensory feeling, and that’s what we mean here; second, aesthetic feeling, feel the rightness of a symphony rendition of Schumann, done the way it should be done; third, that religious feeling Schliermacher talked about, religious feeling or sensing. Sensory feeling ‘ow!’, there are no norms involved, in the others there are norms involved.

There is a tendency to reduce the psychical to the organic – hormones etc. It does has an organic
The psychical presupposes the organic since perception is dependent upon organs, but it is nort reducible to that foundation.

Logical / analytical: Dewey mind is an activity; there are no such substances as mind. The analytical or logical modality is the distinguishing of difference by way way of concept formation or building. Distinguish and difference; how do we distinguish the difference? God’s creation is differentiated. Difference belongs to the creation itself. We in our cognitive responses as knowing beings distinguish creational differences rightly. Distinguishing is epistemological, difference is ontic. There are different ways of distinguishing difference. My little puppy went up and down the street smelling, he distinguished it by scent – we are not talking about that; another way is the way plants distinguish light sources, animals distinguish organic and sensibly, plants distinguish organically, men distinguish organically, psychically and logically, but concept formation.

Aquinas following Aristotle distinguished simple apprehension, the forming of a concept, the act of judgement and the act of reasoning. Why is it empiricistic logic? According to empiricism we need sense input ot then form the concepts in judgement. Kant denied that there was the simple act of apprehension; according to Kant first is judging.

According to Kant, the concept is all these judgements.

Distinguishing difference by concept building. Judging is a particular way of distinguishing difference

Lecture 38

1 August, 2007

I mentioned previously William James – he said systems had to be closed, a humanist can’t sure that there is a system unless it is closed. With the Christian that is different we have the revelation of a creation order. We have to go with what is the best description of creation order we have, that is how we should view this modal scale.

No one would reduce a chipmunk to the tree it is climbing; or a tree to the ground in which it is rooted. A tree is a tree, a chipmunk is a chipmunk. The organisation of animals is different to the organisation of men. The cell structure of males is different to the cell structure of females.

There are three points:

1.It presents us with an irreversible order of time
2.It displays an indissoluble coherence of meaning aspects in
(a) the question of subject and object functions
(b) anticipations and retrocipations
3.It points beyond itself to a deeper underlying unity of functions

There are a number of names for the modal scale: functional ladder, the modalities, lawspheres – these have sphere irreducibility, ontic a prioris.

In modern philooophy Kant made a great deal of talking of a prioris. He meant epistemological a prioris; our mind has certain ways of fashioning through the senses what comes to it. The mind organises into certain categories, which are not empirically arrived at. A prioris what is there from the beginning is a condition of experiencing at all. Dooyeweerd talks about ontic a prioris; what makes experiences possible is a creation which is structured. The creation order is a foundation for being and knowing.

Energetic or Physical
Organic or Vital
Analytic or Logical
Lingual or symbolic

The modal scale is an irreversible order of time.

Numerical: by this we mean discrete quantity. Discrete means discontinuous. Number is not like a continuous line, in the number series we have a number of discrete. We mustn’t call it a definition, because these are ontic a prioris, we can’t define the given. There is no more universal class than these a prioris. Have to recognise that this is not defining in the strict terms of logic. We are simply stating what we all sense to be at the core of its meaning. Can’t define what is the ultimate. We are not talking of the concept of number.

Spatial: is circumscribed as the sphere of continuous extension. The spatial is distinct from the numerical or arithmetic. You can’t have extendedness without number, though we can have number without extendedness. The spatial presupposes the numerical; but the numerical does not presuppose the spatial. You can’t have extendedness without a number of sides or dimensions.

Kinematic : involves mathematically measurable motion in space – motion, that’s the key word. Motion and energy release.

Dooyeweerd has a principle, the number of aspects so far have to be distinguished and confusing and two of them results in paradoxes of thought. For example, Zeno’s paradox. Zeno was a mathematician, a pupil of Parmenides. The tortoise and the hare and the flying arrow. At point A aim for B and hit it. Before it gets to B it must go half way. Before it must go half that distance and then half that distance and so on. We can keep on adding half way points. The arrow in a finite amount of time has released at A and arrives at B; but I can prove by thinking that it is impossible. Zeno is a typical Greek he divided the body from the thinking mind. I see it arrive there, but my mind shows me that motion is impossible – so motion doesn’t exist.

What Dooyewerd says, you are talking about motion, but when you try to explain it you are talking about points on a line. Motion can’t be reduced to points on a line, it is original and irreducible. Confusing two meaning aspects produces paradoxes in the mind.

Physical: energy and mass [This is missing from the tape]

Biotic: or organic modality involves life functions; growth. Every time we go up the lader something new is added and organises all the lower in it. We have molecules in living things that are orgainised in different ways than we have in non-living things

Sensitive: feeling ‘ow!’