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  • Author or Editor: ANDREW BASDEN x

Andrew Basden

In “On the character of social communities; the state and the public domain” [Philosophia Reformata 69(2):125-39, 2004] Dick Stafleu has suggested that the social aspect as currently constituted under Dooyeweerd, covers two distinct things: ”¢ companionship ”¢ authority and discipline, and that the latter should become a new aspect, the political, placed after the economic and before the juridical. (Stafleu seems to have dispensed with the aesthetic aspect that currently lies between those two aspects, largely taking Seerveld’s line that it should be redefined and placed earlier; see footnote 9 on p.130) I would like to briefly suggest some issues that need to be discussed and resolved before his suggestion is adopted. I have long felt the tension between the two parts of Dooyeweerd’s version of the social aspect that Stafleu refers to — companionship and authority — and I think Stafleu is right to open up discussion about it. But I am not happy that his proposal either is necessary or solves the problem. Moreover, I can also understand something of Dooyeweerd’s own thinking as he kept the two together.


Those who believe that explicitly Christian thinking is possible in the scientific disciplines tend to assume that it must be antithetical to the world’s thinking. Based on some of the author’s experience, this article examines a different approach, in which Christian thinking is used to account for and enrich the world’s thinking by transplanting it from its current ground-motive (usually that of nature-freedom) into the arguably more fertile soil of the creation-fall-redemption ground-motive. The article shows how Dooyeweerd’s version of Christian thinking has been employed in two areas of thinking in information systems (selected from five with which the author has been involved): (1) thinking about the nature of computers and information, with the artificial intelligence question of whether computer is like human being (2) soft systems methodology, by which perspectives on ‘human activity systems’ are orchestrated into new learning and plans. In both areas, the original ideas are accounted for, given philosophical underpinning, reinterpreted and enriched. These two show that Dooyeweerd’s philosophy can be equally useful in thinking grounded in both positivist and interpretivist cultures.

Andrew Basden

Meaning is very important in Dooyeweerd’s Reformational philosophy. This essay seeks to examine what Dooyeweerd wrote about meaning and how he used it in mapping out the various domains of his philosophy. A distinction is drawn between different types of meaning, and it seems that what Dooyeweerd intended was a meaningfulness that exists prior to being, which surrounds and pervades us and is not limited to humans. The aims of the article are to paint a systematic picture of Dooyeweerd’s understanding of meaning and suggest some ways in which it might be developed further by Reformational philosophers. This essay is intended, however, to be of wider interest than just to Reformational discourse, especially in conjunction with its companion paper, which discusses how Dooyeweerd’s understanding can be useful in the sciences and practice.

Andrew Basden

Hegel’s idea of dialectic has permeated much of our thinking, especially in the guise of a process of development, and hence it is important to understand it. This paper suggests three things. First, there is more agreement between Hegel’s deepest ideas and those of Dooyeweerd than at first might be expected. We find that Hegel is reaching towards what Dooyeweerd takes as his starting point. Therefore, second, applying Dooyeweerd’s ideas can enrich Hegel’s and suggest three fundamentally different types of dialectic. Third, Dooyeweerd’s concept of irreducible aspects provides an explanation of the dialectic process: an engine, and one that has advantages over other proposals. This is illustrated with the development of environmental thinking.

Andrew Basden and Sina Joneidy

Meaning is important in everyday life, and each science focuses on certain ways in which reality is meaningful. This article (the second of two) discusses practical implications of Herman Dooyeweerd’s understanding of meaning for everyday experience, scientific theories, scientific methodology, and philosophical underpinning. It uses eight themes related to meaning in Dooyeweerd’s philosophy, which are discussed philosophically in the first article (and summarised here). This article ends with a case study in which the themes are applied together to understanding Thomas Kuhn’s notion of paradigms.

Sina Joneidy and Andrew Basden

Complexity of a field of study is reflected in the diversity of fragmented discourses within it. How do we understand this diversity and the coherence of the field? This paper explores how Herman Dooyeweerd’s ideas can help us understand the nature of this complexity in the field of information systems use. Dooyeweerd’s suite of aspects is employed practically to separate out discourses by undertaking analysis of excerpts from key papers that define each discourse and indicate what motivated its coming into being. This demonstrates the utility of Dooyeweerd’s ideas in contributing to mainstream thought, and the approach used here might be extended to any field of study.

Maarten J. Verkerk, Paulo F. Ribeiro, Andrew Basden and Jan Hoogland

The electrical energy infrastructure is one of the key life-sustaining technologies of contemporary Western society. This infrastructure is extremely complex due to its size, its multifarious technologies, and its interweaving with societal structures. Smart grids are important in future infrastructure, yet extant literature does not adequately address this complexity. This paper argues that different elements of the philosophy of Dooyeweerd offer a key to understanding this intricate complexity more fundamentally. Key concepts are the ideas of normative practices, enkapsis (intertwinement) of practices, individuality structures, and ideals and basic beliefs. By developing these ideas in the context of smart grid engineering, our research contributes to philosophy of technology, philosophy of design, and philosophy of sustainability. It offers an ontological analysis of these infrastructures, pointing a direction to the development of workable infrastructures and supporting the transition to a sustainable society.