Philosophical Anthropology In Transcendental Criticism

Generally speaking, my blog is for a general audience. In this entry, as perhaps in the last, the language is more jargoned. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, think of it in terms of learning about my "professional" side.

An anthropology is important to transcendental criticism if such a critique of theoretical thought is to account for the nature of abstraction which involves a thinker (ie, Man). Dooyeweerdianism holds that humans are more than the sum of their modal functions. There is indeed a supratemporal dimension of Man. There is much to say about this, but its import for transcendental criticism is particularly apparent in theoretical "synthesis."

When, in abstraction, any given modality is set overagainst the analytic modality, and thus theoretically isolated, it requires synthesis --analogical relating to the other modalities-- to be grasped conceptually, otherwise it remains ambiguous as a modal-nucleus "limiting idea." For theoretical synthesis to occur, the person doing the abstracting must in some sense stand "above" the array of modalities in order to have a comprehensive grasp of them. The person must stand as a "supratemporal unity" in his concrete act of thought for the abstraction to maintain a unity.

I realize this is much contested. Some would prefer to posit an exclusively temporal unity, making humans no more than the sum of their functions. But I am not persuaded that this allows for a genuine transcendently-directed pistic function. Others attempt to do away with the neccessity of synthesis altogether by positing that the abstracted modality is not set overagainst the analytic modality, but rather against the concrete act of thought. However, as Dooyeweerd maintains, this would remove the very possibility of actually thinking it! Furthermore, I don't see how a transcendental critique that skips the anthropological step actually accounts for the nature of abstraction itself.

More On Anthropology...

Not yet knowing exactly what import this may have for transcendental criticism --I am persuing the connection between Meredith G. Kline's categories for the Imago Dei in Man: "official" and "ethical," and Al Wolters categories of "structure" and "direction."

The theological works of Kline have greatly stimulated my philosophical thinking concerning both the temporal/supratemporal distinction in creation, and a (supposed) non-"religiously neutral" sacred/secular distinction in temporal culture. I think Kline's work holds great promise for Dooyeweerdian scholarship.

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