Document: Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol. I: The Necessary Presuppositions of Philosophy, (Jordan Station, ON.: Paideia Press, 1984).

Excerpt: The appearance of this first systematic presentation of my philosophy fills me with a deep sense of appreciation to God for the strength He granted me to overcome innumerable difficulties. I would also like to acknowledge my indebtedness to the Board of Directors of the Dr Kuyper Foundation (Kuyperstichting) whose support made the publication of this work possible. The first rudimental conception of this philosophy had ripened even before I came to the Kuyper-foundation (1921).

Originally I was strongly under the influence first of the Neo-Kantian philosophy, later on of HUSSERL’S phenomenology. The great turning point in my thought was marked by the discovery of the religious root of thought itself, whereby a new light was shed on the failure of all attempts, including my own, to bring about an inner synthesis between the Christian faith and a philosophy which is rooted in faith in the self-sufficiency of human reason. I came to understand the central significance of the “heart”, repeatedly proclaimed by Holy Scripture to be the religious root of human existence. On the basis of this central Christian point of view I saw the need of a revolution in philosophical thought of a very radical character. Confronted with the religious root of the creation, nothing less is in question than a relating of the whole temporal cosmos, in both its so-called ‘natural’ and ‘spiritual’ aspects, to this point of reference. In contrast to this basic Biblical conception, of what significance is a so-called ‘Copernican’ revolution which merely makes the ‘natural-aspects’ of temporal reality relative to a theoretical abstraction such as KANT’S ‘transcendental subject’?

From a Christian point of view, the whole attitude of philosophical thought which proclaims the self-sufficiency of the latter, turns out to be unacceptable, because it withdraws human thought from the divine revelation in Christ Jesus. The first result of the Biblical point of view with respect to the root of all temporal reality was a radical break with the philosophical view of reality rooted in what I have called the immanence-standpoint. The discovery of the transcendental ground-Idea at the foundation of all philosophical thought, made it possible to display the different theoretical views concerning the structure of reality, as developed by the dominant immanence-philosophy, in their dependence upon a supra-theoretical a priori. It made the inauguration of criticism possible upon a much more deeply lying plane than a supposed merely theoretical one. If temporal reality itself cannot be neutral with respect to its religious root, if in other words the whole notion of a static temporal cosmos an sich’, independent of the religious root of mankind, rests on a fundamental misconception, how can one any longer seriously believe in the religious neutrality of theoretical thought? One of the fundamental principles of this new philosophy is the cosmological basic principle of sphere-sovereignty. Its development was suggested by (the famous Dutch thinker and statesman) ABRAHAM KUYPER, but depends upon the introduction of a religious Christian foundation into philosophy.

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