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Supratemporality in the Transcendental Anthropology of Herman Dooyeweerd

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image of Philosophia Reformata

At the time when Scheler, Plessner, and Gehlen are credited with having founded anthropology as a separate branch of philosophy, Herman Dooyeweerd deserves the merit of having created a total view (Gesamtanschauung) of the human person on the basis not of a humanistic but a Christian cosmology.2 He was deeply conscious of the fact that philosophy as such is not capable of fathoming the essence of humankind. Philosophy, in his opinion, is bound to the temporal horizon, while the human ego transcends this horizon. The philosopher acquires a view of this ego only in its relation to God. Since this relation is religious in nature, the knowledge of self is also religious in nature. This true self-knowledge is effected by the revelation of God’s Word in the heart, the religious centre of human existence, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Dooyeweerd’s anthropology is therefore a transcendental anthropology, founded as it is on this transcendental critique of theoretical thought. In this transcendental critique the point of synthesis of theoretical thought is not found in some transcendental logical ego, in the sense of Immanuel Kant, but in the transcendent-religious ego of the human person.


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