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THE TRANSCENDENTAL CRITIQUE REVISITED AND REVISED

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Dooyeweerd’s account of abstraction is examined and found to be faulty. He holds that abstract thinking isolates aspects which must then be synthesized, whereas I argue that we cannot isolate any aspect from the others however so hard we try. But our very inability to isolate aspects is then turned into an alternative version of a transcendental critique of theory making. Instead of asking for a basis for synthesizing aspects we have isolated, the new version asks: what is the nature of the aspectual connectedness which is so strong that it cannot be interrupted even by abstraction? I argue that it is impossible for anyone to understand the meaning of a concept fully without taking a position on this issue, whether that is done implicitly or explicitly. Moreover, every answer to this question presupposes a divinity belief. Hence, this recasting of the critique yields a demonstration of the religious regulation of all concepts and every theory. In this way the goal of Dooyeweerd’s critique is achieved, even if not in the way he envisioned.

10.1163/22116117-90000457
/content/journals/10.1163/22116117-90000457
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/content/journals/10.1163/22116117-90000457
2009-11-29
2017-10-19

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