Thinking Along With Mekkes

In: Philosophia Reformata
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  • 1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

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This essay about J.P.A. Mekkes (1898–1987) is intended to arouse interest in the work of this notable disciple of Herman Dooyeweerd. For those who studied the philosophical writings of Mekkes, his written texts were as dense as his spoken words were inspiring. Given the lack of studies devoted to Mekkes, his thought has very much remained a closed book, also for a wider readership. By using the themes of “antithesis,” “creation and revelation,” and “presencing thought,” I would like to show that, notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, Mekkes developed a coherent and relatively accessible philosophy in his own right. Mekkes subjected Dooyeweerdian philosophy to the critique of “presencing thought.” In due course this caused him to become a rather isolated figure even within his own circles. In this phase he also developed a new method of “thinking along” with those of other persuasions. This method I call the sub contrario method. In the closing section of this article I explain how Mekkes’s connection of philosophy with creational revelation, for all its inherent one-sidedness, offers an impulse for renewal to reformational philosophy.

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  • 11

    Personal communication, 16 March 2016.

  • 17

    Mekkes 1955b, 127: ‘Dieptepeiling’. The term peiling (and cognates) was rather typical for the Mekkes-circle. Peilingen was the title of a volume Johan van der Hoeven published in 1980 (not by chance dedicated to ‘Prof. dr. J.P.A. Mekkes’); in the same year I opened my inaugural address at Leiden University with the image of ‘throwing out a sounding lead’ (Griffioen 1981, 103).

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