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"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Dooyeweerd's philosophy of aesthetics

Glenn Friesen has recently posted his paper 'Dooyeweerd's philosophy of aesthetics: a response to Zuidervaart's critique' on his website. He concludes:

Reformational philosophy has not understood Dooyeweerd’s ideas on imagination. As a consequence, Dooyeweerd’s ideas of perception, aesthetic imagination and theoretical thought have also been misunderstood. This is particularly so insofar as reformational philosophy follows the philosophy of Vollenhoven, who did not accept the importance of imagination, and who also rejected Dooyeweerd’s other key ideas, including those of the supratemporal selfhood, individuality structures, enkapsis, and even Dooyeweerd’s meaning of ‘modal aspect.’

Zuidervaart’s critique of Dooyeweerd is related to his failure to distinguish Dooyeweerd’s philosophy from that of Vollenhoven. As a result, Zuidervaart has not properly understood Dooyeweerd’s philosophy of aesthetics. This includes a failure to consider what Dooyeweerd himself says about imagination as an act that proceeds from out of our supratemporal selfhood, the role of imagination in perception, and the nature of individuality structures and of their enkaptic interlacements. Had he separated Dooyeweerd’s philosophy from Vollenhoven’s philosophy, Zuidervaart might have reached different conclusions. Of course, Zuidervaart might have still rejected Dooyeweerd’s aesthetics. But the arguments used to understand and ultimately accept or reject Dooyeweerd’s aesthetics would necessarily be different from those that Zuidervaart has advanced in this article.

Dooyeweerd’s philosophy of aesthetics depends on his very powerful ideas on imagination, by which we reflect God’s Wisdom, and so open up temporal creation in a way that unfolds its potentialities. And these potentialities are not mere static Ideas in the sense of ‘eidos,’ but they are endlessly dynamic within God’s even more limitless and dynamic Wisdom. And our artistic creation, like other acts of opening up the temporal world, help to make that world real, to fulfill it and to redeem it.

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