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image of Philosophia Reformata

In a recent issue of this journal René van Woudenberg meditated “on the question what ‘aspects’ and ‘functions’, within the bounds of CP (= Calvinistic Philosophy HGG), are supposed to be.”2 This meditation demands a reaction. The purpose of this paper is to “shed ”¦ at least some light on the question which ”¦ of the two is the more intelligible and useful notion”. Its aim is “not to discuss any theory about modal aspects ”¦ but to establish what the phenomena are that such theories are about.”(1) I believe that the paper does not succeed in its goal. My response is divided in two parts. First I will discuss some of the arguments that Van Woudenberg uses in his analysis of the possible ways to understand both ‘aspects’ and ‘functions’. In this part I will try to show that the arguments used do not achieve what the paper aims at. In a second part I will discuss some deeper issues that are at stake. Here I will argue that it is not possible to understand the idea of ‘aspects’ or ‘functions’ apart from the philosophical paradigm of which it is a part. In fact, I will try to show that Van Woudenberg’s analysis depends upon a theoretical conception that is basically different from that of reformational philosophy as conceived by Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven. Ultimately, what might be at stake is the question how Christians should pursue philosophy. Is it possible to translate the basic concepts of reformational philosophy into those of mainstream analytical philosophy without the former loosing their critical intent?


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