DOOYEWEERD: Preliminary Questions of all Philosophy

“Genuine philosophical thinking is not possible without an implicit or explicit answer to a set of preliminary questions:

1. In the first place, what is the relation between theoretical thinking and the full self that is actually doing the thinking?

2. Secondly, how are both of these (i.e. the self and the thinking enacted by the self) related to the temporal cosmos?

3. And thirdly, in which origin, or archè, does thinking come to rest in the sense that there is no theoretical questioning beyond that origin?

This is no arbitrary description of philosophy’s preliminary questions. Rather, it is bound up with the genuine nature of philosophical thinking as such. Anyone who seeks to account for this nature necessarily encounters these preliminary questions. They are given an answer, implicitly or explicitly, in the philosophical ground-idea, by which philosophy is directed from beginning to end. Together these answers form the totality of the necessary presuppositions of every philosophy.”

Excerpted from “The Dilemma for Christian Philosophical Thought & the Critical Character of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea (Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee)” by Herman Dooyeweerd (Translated by Chris van Haeften)

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