In reformational philosophy engagement with Søren Kierkegaard never really did get off to a good start. The present contribution is meant to reintroduce Kierkegaard in reformational philosophical discussions by focusing on the question of truth. How does the thinker as thinker relate to truth and what is the role of the I-self relationship in the search for truth? As working hypothesis it is stated that Kierkegaard’s many subtle analyses of the I-self relation can enrich reformational philosophical thinking about truth, by raising awareness for the intricate intertwinement between the object (the ‘what’) and the attitude (the ‘how’) of thinking. First, the thesis of indirect communication in the work of some of Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous authors will be investigated, including the question how this thesis affects the search for truth. Second, this thesis is compared with central concepts in reformational thinking, such as the heart, directedness at the Origin, and selfknowledge. Third, a brief review will be given of Climacus’ famous thesis that truth is subjectivity. After this review, the focus finally again shifts toward reformational philosophy, especially the way it has dealt with the religious dynamic in theoretical thought. It is concluded that there are differences in style, emphasis and conceptual ‘framing’ between Kierkegaard and Dooyeweerd, but that there are also many similar concerns and philosophical intuitions, more even than have been acknowledged so far in the literature. Kierkegaardian thinking is helpful in raising awareness of the tensions, ambiguities, and brokenness of our existence, even in the search for truth.
The title of this article is ambiguous in the sense that it may direct the attention to either (a) theism as a system of beliefs of persons who are referring to particular facts that serve as external grounds for the foundation of theist beliefs (the foundationalist approach) or (b) to theism as a system of beliefs of persons who are convinced of theism’s truth on grounds that are intrinsic to their belief (the Pascalian approach). Traces of both conceptions of theism can be found in Alvin Plantinga’s thesis of the ‛proper basicality’ of religious belief, for instance in the distinction between evidence of the ‛on the basis of …’- type and evidence of the ‛inclination’- type. However, these two types of evidence do only lead to doxastic experience. In order to be warranted with respect to a particular knowledge claim, beliefs must be produced by noetic capacities that function properly, i.e. according to their design plan and in contexts that are appropriate to these capacities. This externalist epistemology exerts its greatest power in the criticism of the ‛evidentialist objection to belief in God’. However, it raises a number of objections with respect to its positive account of theism. When every community of thinkers creates its own relevant set of examples in order to establish criteria of proper basicality, does this not lead to skepticism? And, can doxastic experience not be honoured as a proper response to being called by divine discourse and, correspondingly, be seen as the relational foundation of theist belief?
This article is devoted to the conceptual analysis of two texts of leading scholars in cognitive neuroscience and its philosophy, Patricia Churchland and Eric Kandel. After a short introduction about the notion of reduction, I give a detailed account of the way both scientists view the relationship between theories about brain functioning on the one hand and consciousness and psychopathology, respectively, on the other hand. The analysis not only reveals underlying philosophical mind/brain conceptions and their inner tensions, but also the conceptual relevance of distinctions that are fundamental in the work of Dooyeweerd, such as the distinction between modes and entities, between law and subject and between subject function and object function. After a brief clarification of the way these distinctions function in Dooyeweerd’s theory of the body as an ‘enkaptic structural whole’, I try to explain how the conceptual framework, developed here, could be applied to brain functioning and leads to greater clarity in neuroscientific theorizing.
My view on what I see as the predicament of Christian philosophy in ethics has been shaped by a number of experiences. I will first share with you some of these experiences, to give you an impression of the background against which this article has been written.
What is the purpose of Friesen’s 95 theses and what is the audience he has in mind? The title refers to a major church historical event and suggests that — like in 1517 — we are dealing with a concise statement of a new and radical doctrine that is unfolded in opposition to an established canon. But who is the opponent in this case? What is the established canon that is rejected? And what is new or radical in the summary? Dooyeweerd’s philosophy was definitely new and radical at the time of its conception. It still has an enormous potential for the special sciences. It offers important resources for any (transcendental) critique of ‘immanence’ philosophies. However, on first reading and without knowledge of the context, Friesen does not seem to aim at offering a new or radical interpretation of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy. I read the 95 theses as an attempt to wipe off the dust, to provide the overall picture, doing justice to aspects that (maybe) were neglected or (maybe) were wrongly understood in the reformational tradition. However, the audience he has in mind seems to be one that is already familiar with the basic concepts and the thrust of Dooyeweerdian thinking; not an audience that is opposed to reformational philosophical thinking, but one that might be helped by a succinct summary in order to encourage further study and discussion.
No question seems more intensely bound up with the search for the ultimate meaning and significance of existence than the question of man. In the rush of daily life people are inclined to by-pass the question — until illness or accident befalls them or the suffering of others becomes inescapable fact. It is not without reason that the question of man, of who he is, arises in situations where, in one way or another, evil is manifest. That’s how it was when history began, when the first human couple hid, revealing awareness of themselves — naked and vulnerable for each other and towards the Creator. That’s how it still is today, when people find that ‘ordinary folk’ are capable of hating and killing one another.