334. Up to now we have justified the validity of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique both as a thought critique and as a cultural critique, concentrating on his own work and major critical responses to it. Forming an international school of reformational philosophy, Dooyeweerd's thought has been developed by a number of (Dutch) scholars to make his transcendental approach more relevant to the current Western context. Some of them have already been mentioned in former chapters where necessary. But in this chapter, since we cannot discuss all of them, our attention will be given to the major elaborations and contemporary attempts at application of Dooyeweerd's transcendental criticism carried out by J. van der Hoeven, J. Klapwijk, B. Goudzwaard and E. Schuurman. Van der Hoeven highlights notions such as encounter and invitation whereas Klapwijk develops his own transformational approach. While Goudzwaard applies Dooyeweerd's insight to the social-economic sphere, Schuurman analyzes the problem of technology as the main issue in modern culture.
335. The framework for our discussion consists of the following three questions:
After this, a critical evaluation will be presented in which the positive and negative aspects of each thinker's standpoint will be dealt with.
336. Johan van der Hoeven first studied reformed theology in Kampen and then general philosophy under F.L.R. Sassen in Leiden. In learning and developing his own reformational philosophy, however, he was greatly influenced by J.P.A. Mekkes.(559) After obtaining his Ph.D. with a dissertation entitled Kritische ondervraging van de Fenomenologische rede [Critical interrogation of phenomenological reason],(560) he became a lecturer and later professor of modern philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam. Van der Hoeven succeeded Dooyeweerd as the chief editor of Philosophia Reformata until 1998.
337. In his dissertation, Van der Hoeven applied Dooyeweerd's transcendental method in order to challenge the basic positions of phenomenology, discussing the evolution of the phenomenological movement from Husserl via Scheler (existential phenomenology) up to and including the first period of Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty (phenomenological positivism). In his attempt to discover the `motive' behind the development of phenomenology, he points out that phenomenological reason could not overcome the crisis of reason but was still determined by the religious ground motive of, on the one hand, absolute autonomous certainty (freedom) and, on the other hand, a complete control through autonomous reason (nature).
338. Van der Hoeven subsequently dealt with Marxism from the transcendental critical perspective.(561) He criticized the thought of Marx from its root by pointing out, among other things, that Marx had never denied the ideal of freedom nor that of control.(562)
339. Van der Hoeven is also fully conscious of the cultural significance of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique. For him, the religious basic motive is not merely a presupposition of theoretical thought but also the fundamental driving force of human culture as a whole. He makes it clear that Dooyeweerd's use of `ground motive' is always connected with `religious', which means that it is directly connected with a view of man.(563) According to Van der Hoeven, Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique was first developed to demonstrate the intrinsic connection between philosophical, theoretical thought and a deeper conviction of life - whatever it may be, but later it was deepened and broadened by the outbreak of the second world war, because of which Western civilization found itself in one of its most serious crises. This conception of the crisis of principles made Dooyeweerd realize that not merely "life-view" or "life-conviction" but deeper and stronger powers are in play as "driving forces".(564) Thus Van der Hoeven shows that Dooyeweerd's religious ground motive implies its depth (ground-motive) and driving force (motive) in connection with its religious character, i.e., in its relation of man to God as the source of life.
340. Furthermore, Van der Hoeven points out that Dooyeweerd's four ground motives have the character of a proposal and so can be put into discussion, something which is actually happening in the circle of reformational philosophy. At the same time, however, Van der Hoeven emphasizes that they are not merely arbitrary but rather serious attempts at making the whole of our cultural history transparent in its dynamic depth. All of the ground motives are religious cultural dominants with all the depth and dynamic which for Dooyeweerd belong to the view of man. In addition, they are connected to one another and their contribution is acknowledged in their historical significance.(565) Determining one's position between the biblical ground motive and the other motives requires a personal choice, Van der Hoeven says. The mutual relations among the four ground motives are formulated concisely as "an opposition in continuous contact (tegenstelling in blijvend contact)."(566) For him, the most actual as well as the most intense relationship is that between the Christian motive and the modern humanistic ground motive because the latter is described as "the attempt at bringing about a religious synthesis in which all former [religious ground] motives converge, a synthesis which finds itself centered on the human personality."(567) This comprehensive and concentrating character has a direct and frontal contact with the biblical motive.
341. Concerning the difference between the humanistic and the Christian view of man, Van der Hoeven says that the essential difference lies in the basic idea of humanistic self-determination against that of the Christian `responsive' character.(568) He emphasizes, from a biblical perspective, the relational structure of being human.(569) Thus `responsibility' is here the key word.
342. In developing his own philosophy, Van der Hoeven uses a method of reflection and analysis instead of the transcendental one as such. Nevertheless, he fully admits the importance of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique and tries to give a kind of transcendental significance for modern culture to key words such as `freedom' and `truth'.(570)
343. Van der Hoeven does not present a new religious ground motive for post-modern Western culture but rather interprets the nature-freedom motive further in today's context. Interpreting the modern secularized cultural situation with the biblical motive of "desert (woestijn)",(571) he sketches the contemporary climate of Western thought and culture with five key-words:
1. Postmetaphysical: the abandonment of the belief that philosophical thought concerns (or ought to be concerned with) `Being', as something that is higher or the highest, exempt from changeableness and perishableness, from temporality and contingency, and epistemologically exempt from the temporality and contingency of `opinion', of `doxa'... 2. Postmodern: primarily the abandonment of the ideals of the Enlightenment regarding its pretensions of true universality (scientific, societal, cultural), but also, more broadly, the definitive cessation of all `great stories', especially the traditional metaphysical and religious accounts... [and `great words' such as truth, righteousness, goodness, freedom, and love]. 3. Nihilism: the abrogation of great, agelong values... 4. Pluralism: the right of each individual to his or her story; subtle deconstruction of the inheritance that strove after universality or pretended to universality... 5. Nomadism: ... `having no firm intellectual roots or commitments at all...'"(572)
344. Van der Hoeven finds "a common basic mood" in these five tendencies in the word "contingency" by which he means "an experience with regard to our existence and the world as a whole, viz. as lacking ground, reason, meaning and goal."(573)
More specifically, Van der Hoeven describes six post-Dooyeweerdian traits of the contemporary situation in philosophy:(574)
345. In trying to interpret the direction of philosophical thought in contemporary tendencies and currents, Van der Hoeven offers suggestions along the lines of three motives, or impulses: struggle, critique and meaning, or meaningful ordering.(577) To begin with, what Dooyeweerd called a "fundamental antinomy" of a "religious dialectic" shows how a divine calling inherent in creation and human resistance in philosophical thought give evidence of conflict. Struggle is in fact a form of contact, touching, and dialogue with antithesis. Secondly, quoting Plantinga, Van der Hoeven agrees that it is of "the first importance that Christian philosophers engage in Christian philosophical and cultural criticism." As Dooyeweerd tried, in his discussion with non-Christian thinkers, to trace their thought to presupposed roots, Van der Hoeven argues that criticism should serve as invitation for contact at this level. But at the deepest level, he affirms that Christian philosophy should be a witnessing philosophy. The accounting is presented in the format of discussion, but this discussion never stands apart from life. The matters at hand concern our knowledge of ourselves as human beings, God and the order/disorder in created reality. Since these matters are disputed, Van der Hoeven argues that it is an opportunity for "apologetics". Thirdly, the word "meaning" or "meaningful ordering" has in no way lost its relevance, Van der Hoeven claims, certainly in view of the basic and prevalent mood of contingency. Emphasizing the ultimate "goodness" of created reality, he states that "Creation is the Beginning that unfolds towards a Goal." Instead of the word "meaning", which has been regarded as a little ambiguous by some critical thinkers, he prefers to use the term "liturgy that extends throughout creation and is its goal." In the book of Revelation, chapter 4, for example, the worship and praise of all creation precedes the beginning of the catastrophic judgments.
346. Lastly, Van der Hoeven offers some remarks about three "themes", or "fields", that deserve special attention for the immediate future, namely, the Scriptures and philosophy, transcendence and history, and philosophy and art, especially poetry.(578) First of all, according to Van der Hoeven, the Scriptures provide both light and direction for Christian philosophizing. Knowledge is not a form of possession but the form of contact which requires a continual learning. Secondly, Van der Hoeven stresses the necessity to reconsider the notions of "transcendence" and "transcendental" since the depth and breadth of "historicity" is so pronounced in the second half of the 20th century and God's transcendence is always connected with His immanence (His intimate contemporaneousness and personal indwelling). The reflection of history and culture is an urgent task since historicism, according to Van der Hoeven, cannot be fought effectively with Dooyeweerd's theory of history as a modal aspect. Thirdly, Van der Hoeven finds art, especially poetry, very important for philosophical anthropology, especially with regard to the place and function of imagination in human life.
347. Concerning the idea of dialogue and antithesis, Van der Hoeven is basically of the same opinion with Dooyeweerd but he thinks that it would be better to use more modest words because words such as `antithesis' often receive a negative reaction especially when used in a group or in the public square.(579) Thus he introduces the terms encounter (ontmoeting) and invitation (uitnodiging). A typically philosophical way of encounter among philosophers can bring a candid communication in which Christian thinkers are able to unmask the hidden presuppositions of the other thinker's position. This requires, of course, special care so that the unmasking not become a sort of inquisition. Rather, philosophical dialogue ought to be marked from beginning to end by the sign of `invitation'.(580)
348. Furthermore, Van der Hoeven argues that we should not be satisfied with the given reformational tradition but rather always be open to "the transhistorical originality of a Voice and the power of a Word" which does not leave any tradition undisturbed but rather works in each one in a regenerative way.(581) Moreover, the combination of communication and antithesis presupposes engagement and level. By the former, he means that men should pay attention to the contemporary constellation of this thought-community and actively participate in it. By the latter, he means that the dialogue requires standard and quality.
349. His recent book, De aantrekkingskracht van het midden: Historisch-kritische studie van een westerse denkwijze(582) is also worth mentioning. In this work, he argues that one of the most important themes in Western philosophy concerns thinking about and from the notion of the middle (midden) and its derivatives such as immediate (onmiddellijk), mediate (middellijk), the end and the means (doel-middel), mediator (middelaar), mean (middenterm) and mediation (bemiddeling). To demonstrate this, he analyzes and discusses the thought of Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Bonaventura, Cusanus, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Kierkegaard and Gadamer. Van der Hoeven hopes that this study might be a contribution to historical self-reflection. In a concluding chapter, he gives a Christian philosophical orientation by emphasizing notions such as covenant (verbond), encounter (ontmoeting) and promise (belofte). He acknowledges influence from Jewish thinkers such as Rosenzweig, Buber and Rosenstock-Huessy.
350. Three philosophers, H.H. Berger, W.R. de Jong, and S. Griffioen, offered critical evaluation of the book to which Van der Hoeven responded.(583) Berger, a retired professor of philosophy at the university of Tilburg, wonders whether or not Van der Hoeven has anachronistically interpreted the ancient and medieval philosophy from the viewpoint of the modern age. Van der Hoeven admits that Hegel has been his starting point but he found in Hegel's thought a complex philosophical legacy. So he felt the necessity to deepen himself in this heritage. Thus he characterizes the first three chapters as a "searching journey". Secondly, when Berger thinks of Van der Hoeven's thinking as a little too antithetical, rejecting any mediator between God and man, Van der Hoeven replies that he cherishes the direct encounter and fellowship with God but this personal encounter is not a "direct" contact without other persons, for he fully acknowledges the role of his predecessors. But he claims that it is not a "mediating" role but a "witnessing" one.
351. The main question of De Jong, professor of logic and history of modern philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam, is whether Van der Hoeven's explanation of the history of the "middle" is a history of ideas or not. De Jong himself answers this question negatively. Agreeing with De Jong, Van der Hoeven states that his view is not a history of ideas as such but a sort of (ground) motive as central aspiration or driving force in the Dooyeweerdian sense, a motive which gives a dynamic unity of direction to the diverse concepts and distinctions. But Van der Hoeven is not clear whether he is referring to a `religious' ground motive. Rather, it seems that he refers to one essential, key-concept for understanding the whole history of Western philosophy.
352. Griffioen's main critical question is that if Hegel takes a central position in this book, then the basic words such as promise, covenant, encounter, which Van der Hoeven advocates, seem to be driven away from that center. Griffioen invites Van der Hoeven to follow up with a study which deals with the history of philosophy from his basic concepts like encounter, covenant and promise. Van der Hoeven responds by saying that his focus has been on a study of the "middle" in the Western philosophical tradition with an eye toward the "main stream" within the Western community of thought. His attitude in his encounter with other thinkers is that of humble respect and of being ready to learn from them.
Whether Van der Hoeven's further development of Dooyeweerd's thought has been successful or not will be critically evaluated in the last concluding section.
353. Jacob Klapwijk studied reformed theology and philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam. He considers himself a pupil of A. Kuyper. In his study of Christian philosophy, he was in fact more influenced by Vollenhoven, Zuidema and Smit than by Dooyeweerd. After his promotion with a dissertation on the thought of Ernst Troeltsch,(584) he became a professor in the history of modern philosophy and later also systematic Christian philosophy at the Free University.
354. In his Ph.D. study, Klapwijk deals with the issue of historicism by analyzing the philosophical development of E. Troeltsch. Actually, Dooyeweerd had already discussed Troeltsch's thought in connection with historicism, describing him as the one who "has carried on a truly titanic struggle via the problems of this Histori[ci]sm, in order to rescue the faith in the Humanistic ideal of personality from the rising tide of the historistic philosophy of life."(585) But, Dooyeweerd continues, Troeltsch "has ... been affected by this trend of thought to such a degree that he merges all material `values' and `norms' into the creative historical development of culture."(586) In the same vein, Klapwijk first defines historicism as "the philosophical-scientific and practical-ethical view of life which has taken the undoubted starting point that history, in the sense of cultural-historical development, is a total process that intrinsically determines and contains the whole of typical human existence with all its values and norms and that therefore historical thought - supported by the historical-critical method of science - forms the actual key which enables us to enter this reality."(587) Klapwijk calls historicism "cultural-historical evolutionism". Klapwijk's study then not only concerns the development of Troeltsch's thought, but also concerns the Western culture of that time. Klapwijk's central question here is whether the dynamic in Troeltsch's thought can be explained as that of historicism or not. His main thesis is that the development of Troeltsch's thought is to be understood by the dynamic, which is inherent in historicism itself as "driving ground motive".(588)
355. Klapwijk pays more attention to the neo-marxism of the so-called Frankfurter Schule.(589) Critically analysing the thought of Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, and Habermas, Klapwijk acknowledges their sharp criticism of the Enlightenment ideals in modern Western society; he thus acknowledges their cultural philosophical contribution as well. At the same time, however, he points out that they have a mythical faith in history as a dialectical process in the sense that the dialectic becomes totalitarian to them as an "inner logic of history". Over against this faith, Klapwijk ends by appealing to a personal faith in the gospel which "unmasks this myth as the blind effort toward human and social self-redemption."(590)
356. Standing in the reformational philosophical tradition, Klapwijk mainly concerns himself with how a Christian thinker should deal with non-Christian philosophical thought and culture. In this sense, his concern is actually the same as Dooyeweerd's. As an answer to this crucial issue, Klapwijk has developed his own idea of transformational philosophy.
357. Evaluating Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique, Klapwijk fully acknowledges its strong point by saying that Dooyeweerd has made "the structure of theoretical thought transparent". Furthermore, Klapwijk also emphasizes that not only the transcendental presuppositions of theoretical thought have to be analyzed but also the transcendental presuppositions of human cultures and societies. But at the same time, he does not forget to point out the critique's weakness by stating that "transcendental epistemology and cosmology are caught in a vicious circle."(591) Klapwijk is also very critical of Dooyeweerd's concept of culture as the unfolding process in all normative meaning-aspects because he thinks that it has "so many romantic-organismic, progressivistic and universal-historical connotations that it must be considered a speculative product of the German idealist metaphysics of history... rather than an outgrowth, as Dooyeweerd would have it, of an authentically `Christian philosophy of history'."(592) In spite of the assumed distinction between structure and direction and the `poignant disharmony' in the opening process,(593) Klapwijk is convinced that "Dooyeweerd continued to espouse the basic idea of a universal-progressive process of disclosure that in one way or another eventuates, as it turns out, in modern Western culture." (594)
358. Concerning Dooyeweerd's four religious ground motives, Klapwijk thinks that they are not purely religious basic forces, because on the basis of the Christian doctrine of the religious antithesis one can speak at most of merely two strictly religious ground motives. (595) Rather, what Dooyeweerd actually had in mind was, according to Klapwijk, "four religiously oriented worldviews, operative in Western culture."(596) Moreover, as I have already mentioned in chapter 3, Klapwijk believes that Dooyeweerd borrowed this foursome from Kuyper in his Stone Lectures in which he called paganism, romanism, calvinism and modernism all-embracing worldview positions or `life-conceptions' that arose in history, each with its own vision of God, man and the world.
359. Furthermore, Klapwijk argues that major Christian philosophical developments in the Netherlands and North America have been based upon the assumption that Christian philosophy be antithetically placed over against non-Christian thought. He regards Dooyeweerd as one representative advocate of this religious antithesis idea, together with Augustine, Calvin, Groen van Prinsterer, Kuyper, and Vollenhoven.(597) But he holds that the time has come to engage once again in fundamental reflection on this assumption for he believes that the debate about antithesis and synthesis in philosophy impedes the real discussion about the implications of the religious antithesis for philosophy.(598) In other words, he claims that a Christian or, more specifically, reformational philosophy can be neither exclusively antithetical nor completely synthetic. Against the antithetical approach, Klapwijk points out its incongruence: "Is the Evil One himself not a creature of God? Is not all his power borrowed power, i.e., a perversion of forces that God Himself has established in the creation? Can Satan do anything except, in his own fashion, imitate God (Luther)?"(599) Moreover, Klapwijk holds that the antithetic attitude is neither fruitful nor proper in this postmodern, global and secular society.(600) When antithesis is regarded in the light of negative motivations, he adds, it could result in isolationism (or separationism), privatism and obscurantism.(601)
360. Moreover, Klapwijk raises a question whether such terms as `synthesis thought' and `synthesis philosophy' can meaningfully signify the attempt made to adapt the Christian truth in one way or another to the operative conceptions of ancient pagan or modern secularized philosophy. (602) Reminding us of the emphasis of Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven concerning the impossibility of synthetic philosophy, Klapwijk wonders how Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd could "become so adamantly opposed to a philosophy based on synthesis if such a synthesis, given the unique and exclusive character of Christian belief, is simply impossible?"(603) Moreover, Klapwijk argues that this synthetic approach might have other types of error, namely, intellectualism, elitism and inadequate criticism.(604)
361. In order to overcome this dilemma between antithesis and synthesis, Klapwijk advocates his own "on-going critical transformation of philosophy", in which "the ideas of criticism and transformation would honor the antithetical principle while the notions of appropriation and integration would do justice to the synthetic tendency in Christian thought."(605) In other words, according to Klapwijk, both Christians and non-Christians can learn from each other and in this manner candid dialogue is "the sheer necessity".(606) All Christian philosophy is for him `antithetical' as well as `synthetical': "antithetical insofar as it is foreign to and at enmity with the wisdom of this world and insofar as it allows itself to be led by God's revelation concerning man and earthly reality" but at the same time "synthetical insofar as this foreignness is brought into liberating reference to the many questions and uncertainties and also to the terrific discoveries and gargantuan dislocations that are so typical for every new epoch in human history."(607) Klapwijk finds this insight in 2 Corinthians 10:5 where Paul says antithetically that "we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God" and in the same vein synthetically that "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Hence his alternative idea of transformational philosophy is based on notions such as "assessment, arrest, and appropriation".(608)
362. This transformational approach is formulated in another way as "spoliatio Aegyptorum [spoliation of the Egyptians]" in Exodus 12:36, quoting from Augustine's De doctrina Christiana (II. 40, 60). Klapwijk argues that the early church fathers and apologists made use of this approach, i.e., criticism and appreciation, when they entered into public debate with pagan philosophers in order to defend the Christian truth. Quoting the biblical story in Exodus 32 and 35 in which the Israelites made first a golden calf and later the tabernacle out of gold and silver they had taken from the Egyptians, Klapwijk clarifies the meaning of transformation in the normative sense of the word as "the critical appropriation and assimilation of non-Christian learning, so that it can be truly integrated into a Christian view of reality and used in service to God."(609) By "critical assimilation" he means that "the valuable insights of those of other persuasions must be shelled from the pods of their worldviews, that they must be pulled up out of the religious ideological soil in which they have thus far been accustomed to flourish."(610) As an illustration, Klapwijk mentions the philosophical concept of `alienation'. Christians, he argues, must dissect this marxist notion "until sin is disclosed at the foundation of all human and societal alienation: man, estranged from God."(611)
363. Secondly, in connection with his transformational approach, Klapwijk upholds the idea of worldview-oriented philosophy. He is convinced that worldviews play a more decisive role in philosophy than Dooyeweerd admits.(612) Elaborating on this idea, Klapwijk explains the close relationship between the two in such a way that if the transformational philosophy "entails critically taking possession of pagan or secular scholarly thought, then this can only be accomplished responsibly by reinterpreting it and transforming it within the context of a Christian worldview."(613) Thus reinterpreting Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique of theoretical thought, Klapwijk argues that "between religious motivation and theoretical argumentation something else as well is in play...: the concrete historical framework of a worldview conviction."(614)
364. Thirdly, Klapwijk connects his concepts of transformational and worldview-oriented philosophy to the creational-messianic perspective. By this perspective, he means "a reflection of intentional identity between the given order of the creation and the coming kingdom of shalom."(615) He says that "transformation always takes place in and from a worldview context" within which this "creational-messianic perspective is an indispensable ingredient."(616) Klapwijk tries to overcome Dooyeweerd's view of culture with this creational-messianic approach since it focuses on the full unfolding of the meaning of creation within "the worldview context, the hermeneutical horizon for the Christian understanding of reality."(617)
365. Fourthly, concluding that Dooyeweerd's transcendental theory of knowledge was concretely and historically determined by his Neo-Kantian opponents, Klapwijk attempts to make room for a broader transcendental reflection by introducing a more dynamic term, transcendental hermeneutical reflection. Here, according to Klapwijk, not only the well-known question `how is theoretical thought possible?' but also other questions such as `how is human language possible?' or `how can human freedom articulate itself?' or `how is a just social praxis possible?' lead to this transcendental reflection.(618) We may also add our main question, viz., `how is human culture as normative disclosure possible?'
366. When the Christian does not transform non-Christian thought and culture, then Klapwijk says that "an inverse transformation" takes place in the sense of the opposite and anti-normative direction. When this happens, the Christianization of humanistic philosophical and cultural climate turns into its opposite, viz., the secularization of Christian thought and culture. Klapwijk finds typical examples of this in the thought of Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Thomas Aquinas and especially Hegel who thought of reason as the perfection of faith rather than the other way around.(619)
367. Remarkably enough, Klapwijk emphasizes that transformation and inverse transformation are not exclusive but often appear together in one and the same system. As an example, he mentions the logos theory of Origen. Calling the struggle between transformation and its inversion dialectics, Klapwijk understands the spiritual struggle between the kingdom of God and that of darkness "not in terms of antithetical versus synthetical standpoints but in terms of ... the `dialectics' of transformation and inverse transformation, a `dialectics' in which the blessing of Christianity is all too easily turned into a curse."(620)
368. Lastly, in this sense, Klapwijk insists that Christian philosophy should be dynamic and contextual. By `dynamic', he means both "an internal dynamics whereby Augustine learned from Ambrose and Origen, Calvin from Bonaventure and Augustine, Dooyeweerd from Kuyper and Calvin, and so forth" and "an external dynamics, say by the developments that have led from Plato [who influenced Augustine] to Wittgenstein [who influences us]."(621) In other words, Klapwijk places his full emphasis on the mutual influence, or, reciprocity between Christian and non-Christian philosophy. Further Klapwijk uses the term reciprocity of transformation in order to explain the constant interchange in history between ideas that are of Christian and those of other origin. As an illustration, he points out the Christian messianic hope of salvation used by Marx's theory in his secularized version of the coming kingdom of freedom.(622) In this context, Klapwijk claims the right for Christians to reclaim the cultural treasures of other origins, namely, philosophical and cultural spoliation.
369. Regarding Christian philosophy as `contextual', Klapwijk maintains that reformational philosophical reflection should always be based upon the concrete context of human existence.(623) This idea also implies a serious philosophical dialogue as mutual interrogation and criticism. In this vein, he fully acknowledges the possibility that Christian philosophy can develop differently in different parts of the world. For example, he explains that "[a] Christian philosophy for Asia would have to ask penetrating questions of Oriental wisdom."(624) Transformational philosophy as a Christian philosophy in this modern age should present itself "in all modesty as a philosophy in loco: a philosophy `at the spot'."(625) In other words, "[i]t strives purposefully for a general philosophical view of reality, but it seeks to attain this primarily via a mastering of philosophical problems as they come up in `local' Western, Oriental, African, Latin American, and other situations and secondly via an encounter of these cultures along the difficult path of cross-cultural communication."(626) This important point will be fully appreciated as we discuss the Christian transformation of Korean traditional thought and culture in the following chapter.
370. A number of philosophers have offered critical responses to Klapwijk's idea of transformational philosophy. I will mention here those of Bos, Geertsema and Dengerink. First of all, A.P. Bos argues that Klapwijk's "introduction of the term `transformational philosophy' is no more than a cosmetic affair" simply replacing the notions of "antithesis" and "synthesis" by two new concepts, viz., "normative transformation" and "inverse transformation."(627) Moreover, Bos maintains that the term `transformation' lacks transparency and is thus hardly useful because it is "highly questionable whether fruitful interaction and communication between two different world views is possible."(628) Bos insists rather that non-Christian philosophy and Christian philosophy are totally different despite being based on the same reality. In addition, he points out that the spoliation motif is a typical example of allegorical interpretation of the Bible, which is actually nothing but the "Hellenization of Christianity" and so is "inapplicable to the appropriation of Greek philosophy by the church fathers."(629)
371. H. Geertsema compares Klapwijk's idea of `transformation' with Dooyeweerd's idea of `inner reformation'. Geertsema then rejects Klapwijk's criticism that Dooyeweerd's acknowledgment of some elements of truths in non-Christian thinkers is inconsistent due to his antithetical approach, because according to Geertsema, Dooyeweerd's "rejection of a synthesis of Christian and non-Christian thought was never meant to imply a closing off of Christian from non-Christian thought."(630) Next, though Geertsema admits that there are some good grounds for Klapwijk's criticism on Dooyeweerd's conception of religious ground motives, he still doubts whether Klapwijk's alternative, namely, `worldviews' as basic convictions about life, has a much broader range than Dooyeweerd's ground motives.(631) Lastly, since Dooyeweerd's transcendental theoretical idea as the inner point of contact between theoretical thought and the religious sphere appears to have lost its function in Klapwijk's thought, Geertsema holds that Klapwijk seems to make impossible the real transcendental critique as being a philosophical and religious critique.(632)
372. J. Dengerink's response is the most critical one. To begin with, he points out that Klapwijk does not pay enough attention to Dooyeweerd's theories of modalities and individuality structures and the systematic work of other Christian philosophers. Consequently, Dengerink argues, Klapwijk neglects the development of the inner reformation of scholarship in various disciplines. In addition, he maintains that Klapwijk's lack of interest in systematic works "makes it impossible from the outset to develop the solid analysis necessary to a meaningful elucidation of Dooyeweerd's idea of disclosure."(633) For Dengerink, Klapwijk's qualification of this idea as "romantic-organismic, progressivistic and universal-historical" and so as "a speculative product of the German idealist metaphysics of history" is not based upon sound philosophical argumentation. Furthermore, Dengerink holds that Klapwijk disregards the normative and thus responsive character of Dooyeweerd's idea of disclosure because he neglects the idea of creational law.
373. With these critical responses in mind, Klapwijk's elaboration of Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach with his own idea of `transformational philosophy' will be evaluated at the concluding section, especially in connection with our last concern, viz., the Christian transformation of Korean thought and culture.
374. Bob Goudzwaard, professor of economics and socio-cultural philosophy at the Free University in Amsterdam, was influenced by Groen van Prinsterer, Kuyper, and Gerbrandy in political and social thought, by Bonhoeffer in ethical formation, by ecumenical movements in his later ecclesiastical activity, and by Dooyeweerd and especially Mekkes in the scientific and philosophical sphere. Fully admitting the cultural significance of Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach, Goudzwaard evaluates Dooyeweerd not only as "the pioneer for the Christianly-inspired exercise of science in the broad sense..." but also as "the one who created the space for a deep critique on the principles of Western culture and its social structure."(634)
375. Developing on Dooyeweerd's insight, Goudzwaard has tried in his own way and from a reformed perspective to offer a broad cultural, historical and philosophical reflection on the backgrounds of the actual problems in modern Western society from the reformed perspective by finding the deeper motives which ultimately control its direction.
376. Standing in the Dooyeweerdian tradition, Goudzwaard emphasizes the normative structure of reality and in particular the normativity of the economic aspect, as well as the responsive character of created reality. The former is clearly seen in his early article, "De economische theorie en de normatieve aspecten der werkelijkheid [Economic theory and the normative aspects of reality]."(635) Emphasizing economics as an aspect-science, he rejects the strict Neo-Kantian distinction between `fact' and `norm' or `explanation' and `value'. He regards it as impossible to give a generally valid and totally neutral explanation in the social sciences.
377. In his Ph.D. dissertation, Ongeprijsde schaarste [Unpriced scarcity],(636) a study of the nonmarket costs of pollution, Goudzwaard develops further the normativity of the economic sphere by stressing the importance of unpriced scarcity in the study of the economy with respect to fresh air, unpolluted water, viable flora and fauna, and other sufficient natural resources. Applying Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach to his study, Goudzwaard points out the problems of various economic theories and argues that a real contact of conversation is possible only when "its basic presuppositions are made clear."(637)
378. Goudzwaard also emphasizes the responsive character of created reality when he argues that "all human economic activity is, in one way or another, a response to the Divine mandate to act frugally with all the scarce goods of God's creation."(638) The world is created by the Word, according to the gospel of John. Creation is as it were a word, through which men are called to give a response. This responding character and the normativity of reality are closely related to each other because man responds to the normative principles affirmatively or negatively in his thought and cultural activity.
379. Goudzwaard has further worked out Dooyeweerd's thought, especially by focusing on the idea of progress. After sharply analyzing its presupposition, he makes his own transcendental critique of this idea and then presents his alternative Christian vision.
380. First of all, in his inaugural address in 1972, Goudzwaard argues that man's faith in progress (vooruitgangsgeloof) has its deep roots in what Dooyeweerd describes "the Faustic ambition ... of the Renaissance ... toward a complete control of nature", i.e., the nature ideal of modern Western thought and culture.(639) He states that this faith aspect of social progress and economic growth has been rooted in the whole of Western culture since the time of the Enlightenment and has also been acknowledged by other economists such as J.K. Galbraith and F.L. Polak.(640)
381. The idea of man's faith in progress is again the main theme of Goudzwaard's other book, Aid for the Overdeveloped West.(641) Here he diagnoses Western nations as suffering from a severe overdevelopment and an unbalanced growth by which he means "a technological and economic growth that has advanced too far in relation to the culture as a whole."(642) As examples, he mentions inflation, unemployment, erosion of public confidence, energy and resource shortages and worker dissatisfaction.
382. Investigating the original cause of the problems of overdevelopment in the history of Western culture, Goudzwaard again holds that the deep faith in the redemptive and liberating power of social progress and economic growth has been the driving force of this process, viz., "the faith that things would get better and better through the advance of modern technology within the framework of a growing free market production."(643) Since then, he continues, "technology and an economic system based on monetary values have been granted the leading role in virtually all areas of life."(644) In this way, modern Western man has declared the autonomous development of the economic system and so "proclaimed economic progress to be universally valid and in itself, regardless of its direction and irrespective of human or natural sacrifices."(645)
383. Goudzwaard fully acknowledges that economic and technological growth and social progress are not wrong in themselves but rather are given by God as creational potentials to be disclosed. However, he warns, "the danger arises when we make a religion of technique and economics", i.e., when we put our faith and trust in them and absolutize these above all other things.(646) As a result, a sense of "powerlessness" has crept into modern Western society: "mankind is now sitting in a train without a driver on a track which we do not know, heading for a destination which may bring destruction."(647) Thus he criticizes this idea of progress as unbiblical because it is based upon faith in the autonomy of man and it replaces the relationship between God and man with one between man and lifeless objects. That is why we are now confronted with a crisis, says Goudzwaard. Man has replaced stewardship of nature with control of nature.
384. In order to explain the causality between religious conviction and its cultural consequences, Goudzwaard mentions "three basic biblical rules which together explain man's relation to God and to his theoretical and practical pursuits":(648) First, every man serves god(s) in his life by either serving the true God or by absolutizing something relative in creation. Second, as a result, everyone is transformed or deformed into an image of his god. Third, as a consequence, man creates and forms a social structure in this image. According to these rules, Goudzwaard again analyzes modern Western civilization. To begin with, modern Westerners have put their trust in the powers of economic growth, science and technology as their infallible guides. Correspondingly, they find themselves as the images of these gods in the structures of progress-possessed Western society. As the result of this religious choice, they are now confronted with the various dialectical dilemmas mentioned above. In short, he is convinced that socio-economic life is above all a way of confessing what people believe.
385. Consequently, Goudzwaard argues that these problems can be solved only when our basic religious decisions or life-orientations are changed. In Western civilization, the predominant belief in social progress through scientific, economic and technological advance is now seriously challenged as the effects of overdevelopment undercut the progress that had been hoped for. To replace this doctrine of progress, Goudzwaard suggests that Western people make an entirely different confession, allowing them to make responsible choices and to work together for healthy and harmonious development. In order to do that, he maintains that they need to acknowledge the religious root of economic life and accept their individual and corporate responsibility for the decisions that shape various parts of Western society and culture. In other words, according to Goudzwaard, real progress is made possible only when God's norms for our life are respected and obeyed.(649) In this vein, Goudzwaard expresses his belief in the liberating and directing power of the Word of God and the power of the witness of the church.(650)
386. The divine norm for economic life is that of stewardship.(651) Goudzwaard understands this mandate of stewardship in the context of the answering structure of creation and human responsibility.(652) According to him, "stewardship starts with the principle that we first have to honor whatever we are charged with," but Western people have done just the opposite, namely, they have tried first to develop everything for themselves and then have attempted to "correct the damage they have made to animals, to plants and to other environments."(653) Goudzwaard is convinced that the socio-economic system of the West has been built up by a secular faith in progress but Christians have the power to replace this with faith in Christ who has brought and will fulfill his kingdom.
387. Applying the biblical laws in the Old Testament to modern Western society, Goudzwaard suggests that the Christian lifestyle should accord with the idea of open ownership and stewardship. Arguing that Western society today is more closed than open, he characterizes it as "a tunnel society in which everything has to be sacrificed in order to reach the end of the tunnel."(654) Nevertheless, Goudzwaard does not lose hope: "in spite of our poor stewardship, he [Christ] will cause everything to reach its true destiny."(655)
388. In his following book, Idols of our Time, Goudzwaard further analyzes modern Western idolistic ideologies such as those of power/security, prosperity, revolution and nationalism.(656) He calls Christians to denounce them and take the critical steps of sacrificial obedience following Jesus Christ who can herald the dawn of God's New Day as "the Morning Star".(657) More concretely, as a prophetic voice in this wilderness of the secularized world, Goudzwaard advocates economies of care and sufficiency rather than economies of progress, growth and exploitation at all costs.(658) He believes that this alternative way would work if Christians are willing to sacrifice.
389. Together with the norm of stewardship, Goudzwaard emphasizes the reformed idea of calling. People are cultural agents who have to realize divine norms in empirical structures. Overcoming the big discrepancy between `empirical' and `normative reality', he argues that the norms of God, of which the Bible speaks, receive their respective `colors' in relation to the various structures of society, in which man has to fulfill his leading or serving responsibility. He even claims that each business activity is a calling from God to establish stewardship.(659) Thus he supports the participation (medezeggenschap) of workers. In addition, against the misunderstanding that sphere-sovereignty be conceived as a static defending line of, for instance, the company management against the intervention of the government, Goudzwaard claims a more refined principle, i.e., that of responsibility in each sphere (verantwoordelijkheid in eigen kring). In his best known work, Kapitalisme en vooruitgang [Capitalism and progress],(660) Goudzwaard develops his ideas by dealing with the theme of the possible relationship between one dominant, religious motive in Western culture - the pursuit of, and faith in, human progress -with one crucial component of the structure of Western society, that of capitalism. According to him, this humanistic faith in progress has been characteristic of Western thought and culture. This means that the progress made by the improvement of education, the development of the capitalistic economy and the innovation of modern technology, is a faith in the ultimate resolving of all kinds of social problems and in utopia. This faith implies then that we have to keep pursuing this progress at any cost. To justify his choice of hypothesis, Goudzwaard offers the following four grounds:(661)
390. Through a careful examination of the development of capitalism and its impact on Western culture, Goudzwaard reaffirms his previous conviction by arguing that the Western social order has indeed undergone distinct influences from this humanistic faith in progress and that such influences continue to exert themselves in the emergence of contemporary challenges to Western society. He shows that this faith in progress has resulted in capitalism in the socio-economic sphere, utilitarianism in the ethical sphere, realism and impressionism in art, and positivism in the area of science. He points out that his motive of progress is actually derived from Dooyeweerd's insight of the nature and freedom motive.(663)
391. Pointing out the dialectical dilemmas of progress via the vulnerability of the environment, the system, and Western man, Goudzwaard notes that it is not for nothing that modern Western culture is faced with a crisis, for this crisis is rooted in the faith in autonomous man; man who has unlimitedly subjected nature in order to bring about a perfect human being. In dealing with the problems of the progress motive, Goudzwaard again acknowledges his indebtedness to Dooyeweerd's transcendental critical approach.(664) In this crisis, Goudzwaard argues, a partial solution is not enough. As he has already maintained, Goudzwaard asserts here again that only when "the place of progress itself in our society is put into discussion," is there perspective.(665) In a more concrete manner, Goudzwaard then urges a return to the God-given norms of truth, justice, responsibility, stewardship, and love as the determinatives of a viable social structure.
392. Criticizing other alternatives such as revolution (Herbert Marcuse), escape and counterculture (Charles Reich) and revision of society (J.K. Galbraith) and man (Dennis Gabor), Goudzwaard suggests an alternative of disclosing society, by which a way for new life is opened up. In order to achieve this, he mentions four conditions for disclosure of society: To begin with, Goudzwaard states that "[w]e must call into question the claim of economic, technical and scientific progress to be its own justification. It must remain possible for man to evaluate critically, and if need be to reject, certain crucial developments along the path of progress."(666) Following E. Schuurman in his dissertation, Goudzwaard sketches the mutually irresistible connectedness of the powers of progress: economics, technology and science as "three united funnels, which bring their specific narrowness to one another."(667) The narrowing of science lies in the monopoly of the natural-scientific method of thought; that of technology results in technicism in which technology is, as the free design of given material, narrowed into "technology for the sake of technology"; that of economy lies in the monopoly of the yardstick of money for everything, through which anything that does not have a price does not possess any value. This "three-stage rocket ... propels the spaceship of our society even higher along its single-track course toward the promised land of material abundance."(668)
393. Second, "[t]hese forces of development have to relinquish their role as the ultimate standards of society."(669) There should be a conscious reversal of priority. Especially the critical questions of meaning and responsibility concerning labor, nature, worthiness, creation and the far neighbors should be raised. Only in light of this condition, can the direction and the scope of science, technology, and economy be established.
394. Third, "[t]he reintroduction of direct, full responsibility in the production sector of society, to be executed there in accordance with obligatory and unbroken norms of morality, justice, technology, and economy."(670) In this context, economic responsibility requires more than merely the gradual efficiency of the market: companies should be institutions of stewardship in terms of environment, health, and the welfare of workers and groups; technical responsibility requires more than just the question of whether it works. One should also ask whether it is meaningful "in the opening up of possibilities for creative use of typically human tools."(671)
395. Lastly, "[t]he radical break with the horizon of utilitarian happiness, including its perspective on labor and human normative responsibility."(672) Social relationships must be reoriented to vital norms with concrete responsibility directed to them. Even though he has some doubt on its realization, Goudzwaard is of the opinion that the vacuum which has been created because of the death of the idol of progress, requires a new religious filling, for which he - with Buber - pleads for the torah of the Creator of heaven and earth. Either an enslaving autonomy or a liberating heteronomy, restricting utopias or the inspiring openness of the biblical eschaton. Here lies our deepest choice.(673) It is not difficult to see that Goudzwaard is here applying Dooyeweerd's idea of the opening process emphasized by Mekkes.
396. In his introductory speech at the Christian Social Congress held in the Netherlands in 1991, Goudzwaard refined his ideas with respect to the humanistic motive of faith in progress by admitting that the time the naive faith in progress, which means that the best of all possible worlds can be achieved when each one goes his own way rationally, is gone. Nowadays, he continues, it becomes more complicated and sceptical. Faith in progress as such is now crystallized in the institutions and structures of Western society, such as the government, companies, trade-union movements and even schools, hospitals and other social institutions: managers know that continuous innovations are necessary solely to keep your market share; trade union movements recognize that continuously higher salaries must be demanded just to maintain the level of the salaries of workers; schools must progress in order to keep their students; and government knows that sufficient economic growth is necessary to balance its budgetary deficit.(674)
397. A critical response has been given by L.A.G Mesman, a strategic co-worker (beleidsmedewerker) in Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging [FNV: Federation of Dutch Trade-Union movement].(675) Mesman is not convinced by Goudzwaard's argument that any form of economic growth is wrong. If that were so, how could developing countries reach a reasonable welfare state without fast economic growth? It is also unrealistic, Mesman holds, to demand developed countries to stop their progress in order to create room for growth in the Third World. In other words, according to Mesman, durable progress is a basic necessity. My own evaluation will be presented in the final section.
398. Egbert Schuurman studied civil engineering at the Technical University of Delft and philosophy under Dooyeweerd and Van Riessen at the Free University of Amsterdam. He is presently a professor in reformational philosophy at the Technological Universities of Delft and Eindhoven and at the Agricultural University of Wageningen. He is also a member of the Senate of the Dutch Parliament and the chairman of the Prof. Dr. G.A. Lindeboom Institute's Center for Medical Ethics and the Institute for Cultural Ethics.
399. Schuurman does not think that Dooyeweerd has sufficiently developed his transcendental critique as a cultural critique. He holds that Dooyeweerd's introduction of the transcendental critique via the religious ground motives was mainly intended to reveal the religious presuppositions of theoretical thought and though Dooyeweerd mentions the influence of religious ground motives on culture, "he said little about the structural consequences of the humanistic ground motive in the development of culture as a whole."(676) Schuurman is of the opinion that each religious ground motive also makes an impact on culture, "just because it is religious."(677) For instance, he argues that Dooyeweerd applies the nature ideal as a control of reality through natural science only to the philosophical and scientific field but not to the cultural arena.(678) Thus Schuurman has developed his own transcendental cultural critique by paying special attention to the phenomena of modern technological culture and technicism as its ideology.
400. In his Ph.D. dissertation, Schuurman applies Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach to the sphere of technology.(679) Claiming first of all that modern Western culture and its future is to a significant degree dominated and determined by technology, he defines technology in general as "the giving of form to nature, by means of tools, for human ends."(680) After giving his own philosophical analysis of modern technology, Schuurman then engages in dialogue and confrontation with a number of contemporary thinkers who have developed their own thoughts on the issues concerning the meaning of technology, the future of technology, and the relation of technology to culture. He then classifies them into two groups: the transcendentalists and the positivists.(681) The former school is represented by such scholars as Friedrich Georg Jünger, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Ellul whereas the latter is represented by Norbert Wiener and Karl Steinbuch. According to Schuurman, while the transcendentalists absolutize human autonomous freedom, regard the power of scientific technology as a threat to the human being and his freedom, and so deny the possibility of meaningful development of technology, the positivists consider modern technology as a confirmation of man's power and an advancement of culture. He points out that these two viewpoints contradict each other, for freedom absolutized is always threatened by autonomous technology and technology absolutized remains challenged by the problem of freedom.(682) Neither standpoint does justice to human freedom and responsibility in technology, he continues, because of their distorted view of technology. In order to overcome this dilemma and to give a liberating and meaningful perspective for technological development, Schuurman argues that the trans-subjective normative principles should be obeyed in technological development. Then "man will be able to live out his freedom within technology."(683)
401. In his inaugural address in Eindhoven, Schuurman characterizes modern Western culture not merely as technological but more broadly as scientific and technological.(684) He stresses that this scientific-technological way of thinking is today "the basis, the motor and the mark of nearly every cultural activity or field"(685) but that now this scientific and technological culture is in a serious crisis. The environmental crisis, the threat of nuclear energy, and the exhaustion of raw material give evidences to this crisis. To understand the reason why this crisis has come about, Schuurman argues that a transcendental critique of this culture has to be made. Following Dooyeweerd, therefore, Schuurman argues that contemporary Western culture is founded on certain philosophical views and that these philosophical views are again rooted in religious convictions.
402. Using Dooyeweerd's transcendental ground idea of origin, Schuurman characterizes modern Western philosophy and culture as having been dominated by the idea of autonomous man since Descartes and Bacon.(686) For Descartes, the self-conscious `I' (cogito) is the center and origin of reality. With the motto, knowledge is power, Bacon attempted to stimulate the practical results of human autonomous thinking. In this vein, Schuurman agrees with Roszak who said that the main motive of contemporary Western culture is "the motive of the will to power."(687) Autonomous man, with the instrument of scientific knowledge and technology, has been trying to develop a society in which his freedom can be realized. Technological development has been made for the sake of technology and in the service of economic powers together with a humanistic faith in progress. Priority has been given to the principle of profit and not to that of stewardship. The result has been a secularized and closed culture in which God seems to be absent and even unnecessary because, with such remarkable achievements, the power of scientific knowledge has supposedly unmasked former myths and thus demonstrated the superfluous nature of the Christian faith. Science and technology have subsequently been worshipped with messianic overtones.
403. Paradoxically, however, what has really happened is that the objective social structures designed and put into practice by technological-scientific reason became independent and began to threaten the freedom of man. Technical integration of culture results in cultural and spiritual disintegration. Priority is given to the scientific-technological world instead of the world of daily experience. Ultimately, therefore, Schuurman finds the real source of the modern cultural crisis in the secularized human-centered thinking of autonomous man who has closed himself off from God's revelation and love, has thus alienated himself from God and secularized His promises and has tried to realize them on his own with the help of science and technology. As a religious being, man thus began to seek certainty, firmness and fruitfulness in technology and science. Man, created in the image of God, is now trying to create God in his image through science and technology, pretending to be the Creator and law/meaning-giver of reality.(688) The biblical mandate of culture is distorted into a technocratic expansion and "the Christian expectation of the future is reduced to the dogma of progress in the horizontal dimension of history."(689) Thus Schuurman criticizes both technocratic and revolutionary utopianism as two competitive forms of nihilism; nihilism of the mechanical order and that of revolutionary disorder. In short, human- centered culture carries a deadly potential within itself.(690)
404. Schuurman also criticizes Systems Philosophy, represented by Ervin Laszlo, who attempted to give his own answer to the contemporary cultural crisis of the West. For Schuurman, Systems thinking is motivated by the pretension of human autonomous thought. Not the natural sciences but technological science is dominant. In other words, Systems philosophy is a cybernetism, which reduces all of given reality into artificial systems by putting everything, not only technology and politics, but also ethics and even religion, under the dominion of science.(691) In short, it is based on faith in science or scientism. In addition, Schuurman makes a transcendental critique of Laszlo's view of history. On this view, both the past and the future are reduced by the principles of cybernetics so that its ultimate result is `a technocratic world state' in which everybody and everything is totally controlled. In this cybernetic world society, Schuurman points out, there is no room for human freedom and responsibility but the latter are expected to adapt into the given system. This is ultimately nothing but the kingdom of man, characterized by a scientific and technological world-culture.(692)
405. Although Schuurman agrees with Dooyeweerd's view that "the rise of modern science preceded the surprising flight of modern technology," he also argues that "the religious spirit of technological control [was] active earlier in both history and science."(693) Thus Schuurman is of the opinion that "this technicistic spirit actualizes itself first in philosophy, science, and modern technology, then subsequently in many fields of culture."(694) Accordingly, reconsidering Dooyeweerd's ground motive of the modern age, Schuurman revises Dooyeweerd's original science-ideal as "the ideal of scientific-technological control" and the humanistic ground motive as "the motive of the creative power of man - the ideal of personality! - concentrated in scientific-technological control or power."(695) Schuurman's main point is, therefore, that "our understanding of the relation between faith - as an expression of religion - and science undergoes a deepening and broadening when extended in the direction of the relation between faith and technological culture."(696)
406. Furthermore, Schuurman reformulates the humanistic ground motive of our time as that of (technological) culture and (organic) nature. The former refers to the human autonomous belief in the control of reality through technology. He calls this belief technicism, which he explains further as "the human pretension to be able to autonomously bend all of reality to our will through the use of scientific-technological control and in doing so to solve any problem that arises and hence to guarantee material progress."(697) The latter, nature, means here organically interpreted reality, i.e., naturalism. Thus the dialectic occurs between "the anthropocentrism of technological culture" and "the ecocentrism of a `counter-culture', committed to certain alternative technologies."(698) The religion of nature stands opposed to the religion of control. Therefore, a synthesis between the two poles is absolutely impossible. This view is actually much broader and more comprehensive than Dooyeweerd's analysis because for Schuurman, the dialectical tension is not merely between the science ideal and the human personality ideal but rather between the scientific-technological ideal of control and the whole of reality. In this perspective, not only the human ideal of freedom but also the whole of nature is threatened.(699)
407. Even though Schuurman admits that both scientism (Dooyeweerd) and economism (Goudzwaard) play important roles as the main characteristics of the crisis of modern culture, he gradually places primary emphasis on technicism so that he even considers it as "the primary point of contact between the religious humanistic ground motive and humanistic activities." To speak of a "technological worldview" is for him more satisfactory than a "scientific or economic worldview."(700) The appearance of quantum physics and the theory of relativity makes a scientific worldview less convincing. Economism is not always the all-determining factor, especially during war time. To sum up, Schuurman claims that technicism is the dominant expression of the humanistic ground motive of the present secular culture. The idea of technopia (technological utopia or paradise), it is believed, seems to be realizable in the near future. The spirit of "let's make things better" (the advertising motto of Philips) seems to be dominant.
408. Schuurman believes that various cultural problems and crises can be understood more satisfactorily from the critical standpoint of technicism than from the other approaches, and that we also get a better grasp of several irrationalistic streams such as existentialism, neo-marxism, counter-culture philosophy, New Age thinking, postmodernism, and so on, by considering them as reactions against technicism rather than rationalism.(701) Therefore, for Schuurman, a contemporary transcendental cultural critique ought to be the transcendental critique of technicism.
409. Concerning the relation between technicism (or the ideology of technology) and postmodernism, Schuurman regards the latter as a form of technical pessimism.(702) "While postmodernism proclaims the end of ideology", Schuurman holds, "still the ideology of technology is implicitly at work in it" and herein "lies the continuity of postmodernism and modernism."(703) Defining postmodernism as "the spirit and philosophy of post-industrial society" characterized by "decentralized power, fragmentation, incoherence, disorientation and thus anarchism," Schuurman holds that postmodernism admits no normative direction of technology and that thus the postmodernists' attitude towards technology is one mainly of "melancholy, resignation or fatalism."(704) And yet, Schuurman continues, they still maintain "a senseless optimism about modern technology" by interpreting social fragmentation as "the revenge of the particular."(705)
410. Schuurman criticizes A. Kuyper's naive view of technology by arguing that Kuyper "accepted technology as free of problems ... as neutral with respect to values ... [and] forgot the biblical warning that since the Fall technology in the sense of craftsmen technique has been a power that leads astray."(706) In this light, Schuurman calls modern humanistic technical culture a Babel-culture, in which technology is the "means to rival God to make one's name on the earth and to build a culture without God."(707)
411. What needs to be done then? Schuurman advocates, from a biblical perspective, the reformation of this technical culture, arguing that whether technology must be judged as blessing or curse is determined by its religious ground motive(s). If the motives are those of the Babel tower, namely, if man wants to be the lord and master in technology, then technology becomes a curse. Man then becomes the ultimate victim of a meaningless, threatening technological and scientific power. On the other hand, when technology is developed by responsible persons, serving God and neighbors, then it becomes a blessing, as the means by which form is given to nature according to normative principles. The meaning of technology is then disclosed and deepened toward the direction of the final destination of history: the Kingdom of God.(708) The ultimate aim of Schuurman's critique of technicism is then to reject "the predominance of technological science, while promoting its ability to be of service; to dissuade people from overestimating technical power, while encouraging responsible, meaningful technology."(709)
412. More concretely, Schuurman says that "we ought to separate ourselves from the motives of secularized technological culture and turn to God in love, ... so that we can then return in love to the technological culture and our neighbors. Living in faith and hope and acting in love means that we are free both from technicism and its dialectic pole of naturalism."(710) Furthermore, he indicates the norms or normative principles that technology ought to follow for deepening its meaning. Based on Dooyeweerd's theory of the modal aspects, Schuurman presents the norms of technology in each modality as follows:(711)
413. The historico-cultural norm of technology is, according to Schuurman, the norm of "differentiation and integration, of continuity and discontinuity, of centralization and decentralization, of large scale and small scale, of uniformity and pluriformity."(712) These various components are not to be seen as opposed to one another, but are to be balanced with respect to one another.
414. As the lingual norm of technology, Schuurman speaks of information, clarity and openness. "[I]n each cultural behavior, information must be achieved in a clear, public and open way concerning the maintained norm."(713)
415. In conclusion, Schuurman holds that "technology ought to be no more than just an individual and societal prosthesis; that is the authentic meaning of technology."(715) Instead of the motive of power, he emphasizes the Christian central motive of love and service. Understanding created reality as a garden which God has given us as a gift, Schuurman argues that just as the gardener not only cultivates but also preserves, cares, guards and cherishes the garden, modern technology ought to be an adaptable and ecologically responsible technology.(716)
416. In this chapter, we have seen how Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique has been improved and further developed by four Dutch scholars. In general, it is remarkable to notice that in the transition from Van der Hoeven and Klapwijk to Goudzwaard and Schuurman, Dooyeweerd's transcendental criticism is dealt with more directly through the idea of the religious ground motive rather than via the three elements of the transcendental ground idea. In addition, it is elaborated and applied more as a cultural critique than a thought critique. I want to draw some critical conclusions on each view.
417. Van der Hoeven has worked out Dooyeweerd's transcendental critical insights in his own way through various publications. As his contribution, we can mention the following two points:
He gives a careful and clear sketch of the contemporary atmosphere of Western thought and culture, dominated by the spirit of postmetaphysical, postmodern, nihilistic, pluralistic and nomadic contingency. This situation is certainly different from what Dooyeweerd characterizes as the modern Western context with the nature-freedom motive.
In addition, Van der Hoeven's notions such as "antithesis in continuous contact", "encounter", "covenant", "promise" and "invitation", "openness toward various cultures and ways of thinking" and yet standing firm on biblical principles are more appropriate and strategic than direct confrontation. Christian philosophers are to be as innocent as doves but also as shrewd as snakes.(717)
418. Nevertheless, mention could be made of the following:
Van der Hoeven has not gone further to develop a concrete religious ground motive of the present age. Rather, he seems to take some distance in doing that even though he fully appreciates Dooyeweerd's idea of a religious ground motive as such. Instead, he places more emphasis on the view of man as one transcendental basic idea, or one key-word such as "middle". In this way, he appears to seek more dialogue with other thinkers through invitation and encounter.
419. Since Klapwijk has been more influenced by Vollenhoven than by Dooyeweerd, it might seem unfit to discuss his thinking as a further development of Dooyeweerd's thought. In content, however, Klapwijk's transformational philosophy and Dooyeweerd's transcendental critical thinking have a common concern, namely, how Christian thinkers should deal with non-Christian thought and cultural developments.
420. As positive points, we can mention the following:
Klapwijk correctly points out the European-oriented tendency of Dooyeweerd's notion of culture as an opening process, which Griffioen and McIntire have criticized as well. Even though Dengerink rejects this criticism as ungrounded, this is a generally accepted point of critique.
421. Secondly, Klapwijk emphasizes the importance of the local context in developing a Christian philosophy. For him, Christian philosophy should be both general and specific in the sense that it seeks not only a general philosophical view of created reality but also a specific one through the struggling of local, concrete issues in the different parts of the world. Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique might be a powerful weapon in the Western philosophical tradition but it might not be the best tool to make a critical analysis of African or Oriental thought and culture. That is exactly what we are going to test in the following chapter.
422. Thirdly, Klapwijk attempts to overcome the dichotomy of antithesis and synthesis with his own idea of transformation by appreciating more the common grace of God in non-Christian thought and culture. All the elements of truth in other thinkers are included in God's truth. Thus they should be critically assessed and transformed in order to become a part of a Christian philosophical system. In this vein, Klapwijk seems to agree with Van Peursen who emphasized God's presence in every thought and culture.
423. However, Klapwijk's approach is not without problems. We have the following in mind:
To begin with, he seems to misunderstand what Dooyeweerd meant by `antithesis'. For Dooyeweerd, it is the ultimate and spiritual struggle between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. This principle is manifested in a passive way in various philosophical trends and cultural activities but also motivates them in an active sense. Actually, when Klapwijk advocates his own transformational approach, he does not give up this antithetical distinction but rather fully affirms it. When he claims that Christians should take every thought and culture captive to Christ, the antithesis principle is clearly presupposed. He might be right that if we emphasize the antithetical attitude too much, it would hinder fruitful discussion in postmodern society. But that discussion would be meaningless if Christians give up this ultimate principle. The point is, therefore, not to abandon the antithesis itself but to make a good balance between this and the common grace of God in dealing with other philosophical systems and cultural phenomena. It would be a big mistake to regard Dooyeweerd as a separatist or isolationist, because Dooyeweerd fully admits the sheer necessity of a candid dialogue without giving up Christian convictions.
424. Secondly, Klapwijk underestimates the importance of Dooyeweerd's religious ground motive. Instead, he advocates his worldview-oriented approach. If he interprets Dooyeweerd's four basic motives merely as `religiously oriented worldviews', he makes light of their character as a `driving force'. I would say rather that Dooyeweerd's religious ground motives are the central elements which constitute the respective worldviews. For example, creation, the Fall, and redemption, as the three main factors of the Christian worldview, determine the contents of the three transcendental basic ideas and function as the ultimate driving force, leading Christian thought and culture toward its final goal. If we interpret the relationship between the religious basic motives and worldviews in this way, the standpoints of Klapwijk and Dooyeweerd are not contradictory but complementary. In this sense, Klapwijk's creational-messianic perspective does not appear to be significantly different from Dooyeweerd's, for the latter also places full stress on the dynamic and responsive character of creation, together with the divine order of creation.
425. Thirdly, Klapwijk explains transformation and inverse transformation as dialectical but does not present any solution as to how we can prevent transformation from including dangerous pagan ideas into Christian thinking. Here again, I contend that Dooyeweerd's idea of the religious ground motive can play an important role. In other words, the process of transformation should be determined and guided by the Christian basic motive. Then we can avoid any dangerous synthesis. This point will be clear as we apply Klapwijk's transformation approach in the last part of chapter 6.
426. Lastly, like Van der Hoeven, it is regrettable that Klapwijk develops his transformational approach as his own methodology but did not make any concrete applications of it to specific situations. Of course, he has done some work on neo-marxism and historicism but they do not seem to be a purposeful execution of his transformational perspective. His argument would be more persuasive if he had demonstrated his approach with a more concrete and comprehensive case study.
427. In the thought of Goudzwaard, we can see a further application and elaboration of Dooyeweerdian notions of conversation and confrontation especially in the cultural context of the modern capitalistic society of the West. He stands firm in his conviction of the normative and responsive structure of reality, and confirms the cultural significance of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critical approach. As constructive points, we refer to the following:
428. For Goudzwaard, the socio-economic order is the expression of culture and each culture has its religious root which gives man the meaning of his life and society. And the disclosure of society involves "not only a change in the entire societal perspective and idea of meaning (the religious dimension), but also in lifestyle and social values (the cultural dimension), as well as in the distribution of tasks and responsibilities in society (the structural dimension)."(718) It is therefore clear that for Goudzwaard culture is determined by religious motives whether colored by belief or unbelief in God, heteronomy or autonomy, eschatology or utopia.
429. Next, Goudzwaard agrees with Dooyeweerd's critical analysis of the dialectic of modern humanistic thinking, in which autonomous man's image comes to expression in the optimistic belief in progress. He is very critical of this basic motive of faith in progress which is ultimately based on the autonomy of man. He sees it as the main carrier of the industrial-capitalistic revolution.(719) In his cultural critical analysis on the relation between faith in progress and capitalism, Goudzwaard applies Dooyeweerd's transcendental method to contemporary problems: autonomous Western man brought about the powers of science, technology, industrial development and material welfare on the basis of a conception of human sovereign reason. Independent of higher insight and of the norms of world order, Western man has supplied his own course in culture. However, this faith in `growth' and `security' leads not only to the affecting of the natural environment and to the exhausting of raw materials but also to the limiting of the life-horizon in the form of predominating material interests. Man and creation are hereby threatened.
430. Moreover, putting a much stronger stress on the responsive-dimension of reality and on the cultural mandate, Goudzwaard concentrates on a number of normative substantial concepts by which the idea of calling and open stewardship is connected with his theory of dynamic disclosure. This kind of thought also appeared in Van Riessen but Goudzwaard brings it further to a future directed appeal for the disclosing of society.(720)
431. All in all, two critical questions can still be raised regarding Goudzwaard's views of the faith in progress motive.
First of all, can we still speak of a strong and optimistic conviction in scientific, economic, technological growth and thus social progress, during the postmodern era? The ideal of endless progress and development is undoubtedly the result of the Enlightenment. But now this dream has been broken, argue postmodern thinkers. Then how can this naive belief in human progress still be applicable to this present intellectual and cultural climate? Is it not rather necessary, therefore, to adapt Goudzwaard's critical diagnosis to this new situation? Even his refined argument that the motive of faith-in-progress is now dominant in various social institutions and structures does not seem to be enough because the same belief is still maintained. Rather, would it not be better to put a stronger emphasis upon the postmodern sense of pessimistic powerlessness or chaotic directionlessness of modern economic and technological development? In brief, more attention should be paid to contemporary postmodern thought and culture by analyzing and diagnozing its religious root.
432. Next, in connection with this and Mesman's critical comment mentioned before, I wonder how Goudzwaard would evaluate the fast growing economy and social development in the Third World, especially in Asia and in its recent economic crisis. Can he make the same criticism of the socio-cultural situation in those countries? It is quite clear that Goudzwaard would not totally reject nor merely criticize their efforts for socio-economic growth in order to be developed countries. However, he might point out the misleading dream they might have, that they can realize a utopia by scientific, economic, and technological progress. Is Goudzwaard's critical diagnosis then not more applicable to those areas rather than already (over)developed, postmodern Western countries?
433. Schuurman applies Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique to contemporary Western culture by characterizing it first as a scientific-technological culture but later, mainly as a technicistic one. It was actually H. van Riessen who first drew his attention to this issue(721) but it is Schuurman who elaborated it in depth. As his positive contribution, we can refer to the following three points:
434. First of all, Schuurman clearly points out the essential problem of modern culture, namely, technicism. The power of scientific knowledge and technology indeed characterizes our contemporary cultural climate. Apparently the economic power seems to be the most dominant but it is actually dependent upon technological development.
435. Secondly, Schuurman analyzes various philosophical views on technology from his own Christian perspective and sharply criticizes both modern secularized culture based on the belief in technology and antithetic trends against it such as the naturalistic counter-culture movement. Applying Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique and doing justice to the enormous impact of technological development on modern culture, Schuurman rightly points out the necessity to revise the science ideal into the ideal of scientific-technological control which influences not merely philosophy and science but also various areas of culture. Furthermore, by reformulating the modern humanistic religious ground motive as that of technological culture or technicism and organic nature or naturalism, he sharpens its dialectical conflict in a deeper way: for Dooyeweerd, human freedom alone is threatened by the science ideal, whereas in Schuurman's view, not only human freedom but also the whole of nature including mankind as such are endangered by the technicistic spirit. It is undeniable that here lies the root of the crisis in our present culture. In this way, Schuurman attempts to develop his own transcendental cultural critique. Since J. Ellul, a well-known philosopher of culture, no other Christian philosopher has presented himself in so striking a manner as Schuurman in his criticism of the Leviathan of modern society.(722)
436. Lastly, by describing creation as a garden, given by the Creator as a gift, Schuurman pays more attention to the responsibility of man. Developing technology is not only building up, but also preserving, caring, cherishing and enjoying it with gratitude. In this way, Schuurman shows his concern for vulnerable and weak people who can easily become victims of technological culture. In addition, based on the biblical teaching, he also states the concrete normative principles of technology in order to achieve a more meaningful and responsible approach to technology in the future.
437. A few points of criticism, however, should also be mentioned.
First of all, Schuurman argues that Dooyeweerd's introduction of the religious ground motives was mainly to reveal the religious presuppositions of theoretical thought.(723) Although Dooyeweerd mentioned the cultural influence of those basic motives, Schuurman continues, he never worked it out clearly. In another place, Schuurman says, "[f]rom the start he [Dooyeweerd] realized, but never really expanded on the fact, that every groundmotive... is related to culture."(724) To the contrary, however, Dooyeweerd had tried to develop his transcendental critique with respect to culture although it had been done rather theoretically and not comprehensively enough, as we have seen in the former chapter. Schuurman concentrates his analysis on modern technological culture while Dooyeweerd devoted his attention from the ancient Greco-Roman culture to modern Western culture up to the 1950s, right after the two world wars. The reason why he did not give a full analysis of technological culture might be because its development has been more gigantic since 1960. Based on his cultural critique from ancient times to the modern era, it is not so difficult to imagine that if he was still living now and had attempted to make a transcendental critique of modern culture, he would certainly have dealt with its technological traits, just as Schuurman does.
438. Secondly, Schuurman's view of technological developments as a destructive cultural power(725) seems to be a little bit negative or one-sided. Of course he does not mean by this that technology as such is bad. But his emphasis upon the "Babel-culture" from the perspective of the Fall and technicism seems to be unbalanced with the original, creational perspective of technology. For instance, the biblical examples tell us that Noah used his shipping technology to build the ark and Moses let Bezalel and Oholiab use their technical talents and skills to construct the tabernacle. I think the cardinal distinction between structure and direction can be useful here. Technology itself is given as a potential in created reality. Man is called to develop it according to the divine cultural norms in a responsible manner as Schuurman also fully acknowledges. However, since the Fall, mankind has used and developed it in a destructive direction, for instance, to build the tower of Babel. This direction should be criticized but it does not cancel the original structure of technology as God's gift.
439. Lastly, among scientism (Dooyeweerd), economism in the form of capitalism (Goudzwaard) and technicism, Schuurman claims the priority of technicism and regards the other two as less influential. However, one may raise the question whether technicism is really the primary point of contact between the humanistic religious ground motive and human activities. Rather, is it not more persuasive to think of the complex of scientism-economism-technicism as complementary to one another? Schuurman emphasizes the point that technicism as the ideology of technology influences science and the economy. But it is also true that the development of modern technology has been closely related to that of natural science and the capitalistic economy.(726) Modern high technology could not have developed so rapidly without the theoretical backup of various scientific disciplines. For instance, spaceship technology could never have been thought of had it not been for the support of mathematics, physics, electric engineering, computer science, etc. In addition, various priceless construction projects in the world could never be attempted if there was not enough financial support. Therefore, I would argue that all three elements should be considered together as mutually characterizing the modern secular culture both in the Western and in the Eastern world.
440. In conclusion, the further developments of Van der Hoeven, Klapwijk, Goudzwaard, and Schuurman are very insightful and thus worthy of holding our attention. They have indeed demonstrated the validity, relevance and vitality of Dooyeweerd's transcendental approach in the current Western situation. But any approach is usually fallible, and improvement - or reformation, if you will - is something we all need to keep in mind. It is, therefore, our task and responsibility to keep reflecting upon the significance of Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique and continue to apply it to the ever changing life-context in which we live. Especially as a Korean Christian thinker, I shall be on the lookout in the next and final chapter to see whether Dooyeweerd's transcendental critique can be meaningfully applied to Korean thought and culture with these critical developments in mind. Klapwijk's transformational approach in particular will be applied as a complementary to Dooyeweerd's approach.
Prepared as part of The Dooyeweerd Pages web site by Andrew Basden 2002, with the kind permission of Yong-Joon Choi.