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  • Author or Editor: René van Woudenberg x
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Contextualists explain certain intuitions regarding knowledge ascriptions by means of the thesis that 'knowledge' behaves like an indexical. This explanation denies what Peter Unger has called invariantism, i.e., the idea that knowledge ascriptions have truth value independent of the context in which they are issued. This paper aims to provide an invariantist explanation of the contextualist's intuitions, the core of which is that 'knowledge' has many different senses.

In: Grazer Philosophische Studien
In: The Creation of Heaven and Earth

Throughout the history of Western philosophy there has been a remarkable consensus that the unique and distinctive feature of human nature lies in the human capacity to think — that is, to think rationally. Being rational is conceived of as being an essential property of human beings. The Amsterdam philosopher Otto Dirk Duintjer2 has made an impressive attempt to analyze this dominant intellectual tradition for the purpose of furnishing hints for an alternative conception of what goes into the essence of being human. This alternative is presented not as another, more promising route within, but as a way out of our Western intellectual cul-de-sac, as Duintjer sees it. In this essay I first want to give a brief exposition of Duintjer’s analysis of our philosophical tradition because, I think, it is worth our serious consideration. Secondly, I will review his alternative for the traditional conception of what it means to be a human being. And thirdly I will discuss the viability of his alternative by comparing it with Dooyeweerd’s transcendental philosophy.

In: Philosophia Reformata
In: Die Vernunft des Glaubens und der Glaube der Vernunft

In this article I argue (i) that truth is the goal of science, (ii) that there is no clear demarcation between science and non-science (the demarcation is not to be found in method, nor in certain assumptions being made, nor in the nature of the results of scientific inquiry, nor in a supposed disinterestedness on the part of scientists), and (iii) that notwithstanding the absence of a clear demarcation, there are truths, that science obviously can touch, but also truths, even truths that we can know, that science obviously cannot touch.

In: Philosophia Reformata

De apostel Paulus spreekt in één van zijn brieven over ‘de verduistering van het verstand’ — een verduistering die het gevolg is van zonde. In het werk van een groot aantal filosofen uit de westerse filosofische traditie heeft dit woord van Paulus op een of andere wijze weerklank gevonden. Bij Augustinus, Anselmus, Thomas van Aquino, Jonathan Edwards, Kierkegaard, John Henry Newman en Franz von Baader bijvoorbeeld, en in ons land bij Abraham Kuyper en Herman Dooyeweerd, vindt men reflecties over de noëtische gevolgen van de zonde. Deze denkers hebben de noëtische doorwerking van de zonde onder meer aangewezen in de volgende verschijnselen: (a) dat mensen allerlei onware gedachten hebben (b) dat onze kenvermogens lang niet altijd naar behoren functioneren, zoals onder andere blijkt uit geheugenzwakte, misperceptie en foutief redeneren (c) dat mensen het vaak onderling oneens zijn. In dit artikel wil ik onderzoeken hoe deze thematiek is verwerkt door Herman Dooyeweerd, wiens streven het steeds is geweest een ‘christelijke wijsbegeerte’ te ontwerpen. Ik wil het echter niet alleen hebben over de noëtische gevolgen van de zonde, maar ook over de noëtische gevolgen van wat het christendom ‘de verlossing’ noemt.

In: Philosophia Reformata

'Modal aspect’ is a central notion in so-called ‘Calvinistic Philosophy’ (henceforth referred to as CP1). To be sure, this is true of only one of its versions, namely Dooyeweerd’s. For Vollenhoven’s systematic philosophy, which of course may also lay claim on the title CP, has no use for it. In his version pride of place is given to the notion of ‘function’. This paper is a meditation on the question what ‘aspects’ and ‘functions’, within the bounds of CP, are supposed to be. Doing so will shed, I hope, at least some light on the question which, if any, of the two is the more intelligible and useful notion. Right at the beginning I should like to make it clear that this paper is narrowly focussed on the indicated questions. My aim is not to discuss any theory about modal aspects, such as Dooyeweerd’s theory that modal aspects are refractions in time of something supra temporal, or his theory that there is an Archimedian Point from which human beings can overlook the various modal aspects. Nor will I discuss any theory about functions. The indicated questions seek to establish what the phenomena are that such theories are about. This paper is also narrowly focussed in that whatever differences may turn out to exist in the course of this meditation between Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd, it will not discuss them in any depth. A serious discussion of these differences will have to take into account the theories that I propose presently not to deal with. Let me now turn to the first question.

In: Philosophia Reformata