Lecture 43

Modal abstraction was the real feature of science, but when we abstract the biotic from the others, its embodiment in the whole, and look at it apart, it is not functioning apart from its whole.

I was talking about subject and object functions, I read you from a couple of books. I want to look at that second point (b).

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

What we experience in everyday life is whole structures, whole things, whole persons, whole institutions, whole relationships etc a scientific attitude toward these wholes will bring out one of the modalities. A psychologist will bring out the psychic and so on.

These aspects are the constituent elements that make up the whole and God’s creation everywhere shows this complex structure. If what we are saying is correct, rememebe r this is a human statement and is subject to correction, revison and enlargement. This is what we find in our scientific analysis of all the wholes.

Looked at water. A modern thinker would simply call water a physical thing. They make a split, this cluster of functions make up the body – they see it as an underlying substance of body; by the 19th century and Comtean positivism they see it as certain types of functions.

Often things are reduced to the logical, logical thought about language, society and so on. This cluster of functions are called mind. They are thinking principally of the logical function.

This simplistic and reduced ontology would say that water is a physical thing. That’s why I used to ask students to write a paper: ‘What is a thing?’ Water exists in connection with plants, man and animals and so on it is only with these creational relationships can we understand water. Important to understand the subject object functions. Water has four subject functions; we have a certain internal structure what Dooyeweerd calls typical structures of individuality. Anything that is a physical thing will display this structure: four subjects functions and the rest object functions. The highest subject function has a very important organising role. For example human technical intervention in the life of plants and animals and so on – a weeping beech tree, done through technical intervention, when you do that the technician who interferes by tree surgery has to think about the organic structure of the tree, this is the highest function for the tree. Only man has a subject function in all the modalities.

If we have animal surgery, the sensitive is the highest subject function, the animal in its technical object function is operable, but in terms of the sensitive subject function as it is sensitive to pain.

In the case of the tree the technical object function of the tree is related to the organic subject function; for the animal the technical object function it is related to the psychic function. The highest subject function has a governing role.

For example, the social function of a plant – put around to make the room nice – it has to relate tot he physical. If we have a pet, the social object function has to relate to the sensitive.
There is a typical structure of individuality. There is a real structure: mineral, plant, animal kingdoms.

I want to talk about 2(b) anticipations and retrocipations. I’m going to take the logical – there is no such thing as a modality by itself. There is nothing that is purely analytical, there is nothing that is purely biotic, and so on. Sphere irreducibility or sphere sovereignty is compensated for by sphere universality. There is no such thing as something that purely logical, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t something distinctly logical, it does mean that what is distinctly logical shows its participatory in all the other modal senses of the cosmos exists only in indissoluble coherence with all the other modal apsects and yet an irreducibly logical fashion it retains its irreducible logical sense while drawing on all the other aspectual meanings of the cosmos.

‘The logical’ has been listed out by so many philosophers as something that exists apart from the physical world.

The circle represents the logical modality – a spot = nucleus, 6 lower in the modal scale – 6 semi circles beneath it, the logical and then 8 modalities higher than the logical by 8 semicircles above the core.

The core, or nucleus, the spot symbolically suggests something that makes it irreducibly logical. Each of the modalities is this circle.

The numerical: why is the numerical within the logical circle? Anything that has logical meaning displays quantity a number of concepts, judgements. There has to be number in any logical life, an expression of logical life. Spatiality, the Germans have a word ‘thought space’, we have to step back, get concepts straightened out in mind, need conceptual space.

We call these 15 modalities aspects. When we talk about the internal structure of an aspect can’t use aspect again call it moment, nuclear or core moments. Retrocipatory moments areones that are lower than the core. Ones higher than the core moment we call anticipatory moments. This modal scale is an irreversible order of time, by the time we get to the logical all the lower ones. Numerical though the psychical are earlier, they are the indispensable foundation for the stucture of the logical. Retrocipatory are moments that grasp backwards upon earlier aspects of meaning.

What about the kinematic? I talked about syllogisms major and minor premise; if the mind accepts the major premise then it is compelled to go on to the accept the minor, then the mind is compelled to go on to the conclusion we call that logical motion or movement, we also speak of logical necessity, it is necessary for the mind to accept it, necessity is a kinematical concept. It is kinematic in a logical sense.

Biotic: the organic there is an organic structure of thought.

Psychical, sensitive: a logic class will be split into two groups, there is hardly ever a middle – certain people have a feel for logical theory others don’t.
Dooyeweerd in his Transcendental Problems of Philosphical Thought (Eerdmans, 1948) provides an outline of this whole logical modality:

Nuclear moment: rational distinction

Analogical moments
logical apperception
logical thought-life
logical movement of thought (subjected to the principle of logical causality, viz., the principium rationis sufficientis).
logical thought-space (Denkraum)
logical unity and multiplicity (of logical characteristics)

Moments of anticipation

logical domination [ruling by systematic (theoretical) concepts or logical forms]
logical symbolics
logical commerce
logical economy of thought
logical harmony
logical right
logical (theoretic) “eros” (platonic love)
logical certitude
Logical domination: a man who thinks clearly, sharply and comprehensively can control that situation – he has historical control.

Economic: Occam’s razor (14th century), is a principle well-known to scientists: entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity; the simplest explanation is to be preferred: economy of thought. Economy of thought is thought, thinking! The logical meaning reflects upon the economic.

Harmony, balancing of thought; logical right, logical eros, certain love relations; logical certitude.

Help you to get general idea.
A second modality ‘aesthetic’ lifting it out. It has:

a core moment;
three anicipatory moments: jural, ethical pistic; and the rest
retrocipatory: numerical etc.

There is no purely aesthetic. It exists only in indissoluble coherence with all the modal aspects; this is empirically discernible.

Number: there have to be a number of elements in a piece of music or poem
Spatial: take the matter of metre, iambic pentameter, a line of five iambs. Spatial extension.
Movement: has to be movement in a historical novel, has to be movement in a building or music.
Biotic: an organic structure to a painting or concerto
There is a difference between anticipatory and retrocipatory moments
A very general principle the modal scale represents an irreversible order of time
Every modality that is lower in the modal scale is also earlier and is the necessary foundation
The higher ones are later in the order of time.

Let’s take the aesthetic and the jural. When we talk about the jural – The Romans: to render to each its own – to each its proper view, they had some notion of order
At the end of the middle ages a famous school called the Flemish school – people sitting by windows and see that the distant is painted with the same precison as the foreground – and the Italians the background is less sharp. generally regarded as an improvement in technique. they rendered the background as background. Why is it an improvement in painting? The artists of the Italian school have realised to a greater degree the jural moment of meaning within the aesthetic functionality.

I am going to give one more example. The jural modaility. The ethical is anticipated within the life of the jural.
There was a harshness of ancient law: an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth; retribution. Gilbert and Sullivan: to make the punishment fit the crime. A mark of jurisprudence. Law books in which a certain crime was pared off with a punishment. In the course of the later 19th C we have to take the total; person into consideration, what was his background, what other experiences came into this life. Maybe two people did the same crime, but under such different circumstances, but maybe two different penalties involved. 20th century law, a greater realisation that there is an ethical moment to jurally qualified activities; it is only an improvement if the ethical meaning is realised to a greater or lesser degree.

Difference between retrocipatory and anticipatory
Retrocipatory moments are earlier they are indispensable foundation of the aspect you are talking about
Anticpatory moments are higher and since they are higher in the order of time every aspect will participate in those higer ones , just because they are later in the order of time there is the possibility of there being realised to a greater or lesser degree. There is an opening up process that goes upwards through the modal scale so the lower modalites can be enriched by being opened up more and more to the higher modalities. In this sense civilisation, culture, can be enhanced

There is a problem before the philosophers of history – how do we account for progress? Dooyeweerd the discovery of more object functions eg copper wire can be used to send messages; copper wire does not have a social subject function but it has a socil object functionality. As we discover more object functions, so society, culture is enhanced And in the greater degree of realisation of anticipatory moments as seen above.

A third point this is cosmic diversity- the creation is one. The indissoluble coherence – that there is somehow a whole. Where do we find this whole? No where in this diversity, although everywhere you see a reflection of a whole. Every one of these modalities in its own distinct and irreducible way, reflects the whole modal scale. Dooyeweerd suggests that the only way that wholeness can be experienced is to transcend the area of cosmic diversity, go beyond it, to a religious point of concentration, or point of view.

He uses the word idea in a very different way from concept. Concept: the distinctness of the various spheres; Idea: the idea of history , language etc, then talking about that in the light of this coherence as pointing beyond itself to a unity which is no where found within this scale of diversity. The modal scale points beyond itself to a underlying unity no where present in the modal scale but everywhere suggested by it.

Explore posts in the same categories: By Runner, Lectures

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: