An accidental blog

"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.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Glossary of terms used in reformational philosophy in Wisdom for Thinkers by Willem J. Ouweneel

Numbers in parentheses show where the concept is defined or discussed in Ouweneel’s Wisdom for Thinkers. Where possible the phrasing is Ouweneel’s. The numbers in parentheses indicate where the term is discussed.



Absolutising - making an aspect of reality absolute, making it the one and only thing to which all other things can be reduced. (47)

Abstraction - there are (at least) three kinds of abstraction:
Abstraction of the universal - the unique character of a phenomenon is disregarded in the search for what phenomena have in common so that general principles are formulated.
Abstraction of the objective - personal feelings and prejudices are disregarded so that another investigator would in the same circumstances obtain the same results.
Modal abstraction - every science has its own modal viewpoint from which it studies cosmic reality. (126) 

Anastatic - see Religious ground-motive

Analogies play an important role in the theory of modal aspects. All modal aspects are intertwined, because within each aspect we find analogies with all other aspects; e.g. strong feelings is an energetic analogy within the sensitive aspect. (73)

Apostatic - see Religious ground-motive

Boundary this is not to be taken in the spatial sense - the law is a boundary between God and the cosmos. The boundary also connects - the law could be called the connection point between God and cosmos. (74-75) Law as boundary emphasises the uncreated aspect of the law; it is God’s own Word for creation - it is spoken not created. However, the law-side emphasises the created aspect of the law. 

Culture - human action through which the potentialities of creation are unfolded (78). Culture is manipulated (handled, shaped) nature; it is nature as worked or processed by humanity. (84) It is the specific way in which the object-function of non-human entities have been opened up by humanity. (85)

Direction - see Structure

Destination function - this indicates an entities destination or purpose of an entity within human life. (87)

Encapisis - certain matter may be encapsulated within some other matter. There are several different forms of encapsis:
symbiotic encapsis eg the yucca plant and the yucca moth
correlative encapsis eg a living being and its habitat or between church and state
subject-object encapsis eg a snail and its shell, or the spider and its web.

Entity - something that 'is', something that exists within our empirical reality.  There is a distinction between entities and the properties of entities. A genuine entity functions in all 16 aspects of cosmic reality, whereas the properties of entities do not. (82)
There are different kinds of entities: inanimate things, plants, lower animals, higher animals and humans.

Epistemology The philosophy of knowledge: the part of philosophy that tries to answer questions like: What is knowledge? How can we know that we know something? (5)

Faith underlies beliefs it is supra-rational (8); it is not non-rational, or even irrational; faith is not necessarily against reason, but faith is above reason (9). It always possesses a religious nature p 10. Faith is transcendent, it surpasses everything that belongs to or empirical world (reason and feelings are immanent). It can be expressed in beliefs and emotions but transcends our beliefs and emotions. (30)

Foundational function - in tangible things this is usually the spatial function. (87)

Functionalism - the absolutisation of certain immanent functions. (107)

Heart – this is a metaphor for our innermost being, our ego, our personality centre. (30) 

Idionomy - this term (first suggested by P. Verburg) is used for Dooyeweerd's ‘individuality structure’. The idionomy is a kind of law that makes e.g. all horses, not just your horse, to be horses. The idionomy of a certain entity is characterised by a certain specific modal aspect. Each will have a foundational function and a destination function. (87)

Kernel is the essence of a modal aspect. A kernel is not ‘thing-like’ (71). The kernel of the arithmetical aspect is number; of the spatial is extended form; of the kinematic is motion … 

Law - see Boundary

Law-side - see Ordered world

Law-spheres all things within cosmic reality are subject to the laws that the Creator has instituted for them. (59) 

Modal aspects or modalities of reality. There are sixteen of them: arithmetical, spatial, kinematic, energetic, biotic, perceptive, sensitive, logical, formative, lingual, social, economic, aesthetic, juridicial, ethical and pistic. Modal aspects are not phenomena but always only aspects of phenomena; they are not concrete things or states. (51) Each modal aspect has a kernel. Sometimes described as law spheres. 

Nature - the parts of cosmic reality that are unspoiled and pristine, i.e. unaffected by humanity (84).

Natural laws (and norms) natural laws tell us what is, norms tell us what ought to be. (61) Laws cannot be disobeyed whereas norms can be disobeyed.

Norms see Natural laws

Objects see Subjects

Ordered world and World order. The ordered world is made up of facts and is on the factual side or subject-side;  the world order is made up of laws and is on the law-side of reality. (60) 

Ontology - the philosophy of all things that are, or simply, of all things that exist, the philosophy of the whole of cosmic reality. (5)

Qualifying function - this indicates the 'quality', it is the highest subject-function of the entity. (87)

Philosophy  - the foundational science - ‘the science of sciences’. (6)

Reason – this is never autonomous as it is directed by the heart. (31).

Religion - the confidence humans have in Someone or something as a kind of Ultimate Ground. This Someone or something functions as a kind of general, foundational principle from which the whole of reality can be explained. (11)

Religious ground-motives the deepest motives that drive our hearts, and are therefore of a religious nature. They can be of two sorts: anastatic (from the redeemed heart) and apostatic (from the sinful, unregenerate heart; of which there are three types: matter-form; nature-grace; and nature-freedom). (35)

Science - theoretical knowledge. (17)

Special sciences are scientific disciplines (e.g. geometry) interested in the whole of reality but only from a certain aspect or angle (e.g. the spatial). (45)

Spiritive  (a term coined by Ouweneel) for the analytical, historical, lingual, social, economic, aesthetic, mural, ethical and pistic modal aspects. (41)

Structure and Direction - Structure deals with the creational structures and the laws God has instituted for the various creatures and cosmic modalities. Direction is a dimension that is, so to speak, perpendicular to that of structure; it involves the directness of any entity, event or state of affairs. There are only two directions: either towards the Creator or an apostate one away from the Creator. (76-77)

Subject and object - these tell us about the ways things function within reality p. 65. Plants are subject to all the  modal laws in the biotic  and lower. They are objects in all the modal aspects above the biotic. Humans are subject to all modal laws, they function as subjects, or have subject functions in all modal aspects. P. 66. Plants function as objects in the modal aspects higher than the biotic. (67). 
All things function in all modal aspects either with subject-functions or object-functions (68). Object functions are not always activated. 

Subject-side (or factual side)- see Ordered world

Supra-rational transcends, rises above the rational. (8) It is distinct from the rational and the irrational.

Time is created, time and the created cosmos belong together, and the modal aspects are aspects of the temporal cosmos. (54).

Typical-function - this is associated with natural things when they are culturally manipulated. In cultural entities this will always be the formative function (88)

World order - see Ordered world

Worldview a (frequently un-articulated) set of ideas and principles concerning the world in which we live, the nature, the origin, the purpose (or lack of purpose) of this world. (7) 



2 comments:

Mark Roques said...


Thanks so much for this Steve. I found this very helpful and will definitely use this in my teaching.

Keep up the good work you are doing!

Steve Bishop said...

Hi Mark

Thanks for dropping by. Glad it was helpful.