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.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Dirk H. T. Vollenhoven Reformed Epistemology - new from Dordt College Press

Reformed Epistemology: The Relation of Logos and Ratio in the History of Western Epistemology
by Dirk H. T. Vollenhoven
Translation and introduction by Anthony Tol
Edited by John H. Kok

$ 14.00. 170 pages paperback
ISBN: 978-0-932914-98-9


Dirk H. T. Vollenhoven (1892–1978) was professor of philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam from 1926 to 1963 and one of the founders of Reformational philosophy.

As Anthony Tol explains in his general introduction to (his translation of) Vollenhoven’s 1926 inaugural address, the Reformed epistemology that Vollenhoven espouses here is essentially three-layered. Most basic is the intuition—the starting point of all knowing. It starts with discerning. Then there is knowledge. At this point language, communication, and judgments are relevant. The third layer is thought. Thought may disclose and renew or criticize and correct against the background of what we know. Thought is also central to concept formation. The factor that runs through these three layers is truth, taken realistically. It has its seat in the intuition of discerning. It is central to knowledge, for the essence of knowledge is said to be “possessing truth.” And in connection with thought, or more particularly in concept formation, the latter is described as “truth grasped in a form.”

Apart from advocating his own understanding of epistemology in this inaugural address, Vollenhoven takes issue with how epistemology is generally understood. The critique is cast in a historical overview. Vollenhoven is particularly critical of two features that were prominent during the first half of the 20th century, namely, scholasticism, which turns the religious presupposition of philosophy into an ontological feature of reality itself, and humanism, which interprets the responsibility that one has for one’s acts and dealings with one’s neighbor and the world as essentially derived from self-responsibility.
Vollenhoven ends his academic discussion with Husserl, who is portrayed as caught in a web of humanism (“creative Ego”; “idealism”) and a version of scholasticism. Vollenhoven counters this not only in the interest of “the free development of epistemology,” but also to forewarn Christian academics to withstand the temptations of synthesis with scholasticism and/or humanism, and to understand Christendom as calling for a different development, one that is informed and encouraged by different presuppositions.

Update: contents here


Baus said...

Odd choice of title (even if it is a direct translation) given the fact that the name "Reformed Epistemology" has been taken over by a distinct school of thought and that the name "Reformational" has largely been established and associated with Vollenhoven.

Baus said...

and since it seems the address is largely a work of HISTORY of (non-reformed) philosophy, you'd think another title would be more suitable.

Steve Bishop said...

Hi Gregory,
Yes I too was puzzled by the title. Not sure why they went for it.