Herman Dooyeweerd

Dutch philosopher

Herman Dooyeweerd (7 October 1894 – 12 February 1977) was a Dutch juridical scholar by training, who by vocation was a philosopher and a co-founder of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea.


A New Critique of Theoretical ThoughtEdit

Volume I: The Necessary Presuppositions of Philosophy (trans. William S. Young and David H. Freeman)Edit
  • This universal character of referring and expressing, which is proper to our entire created cosmos, stamps created reality as meaning, in accordance with its dependent non-self-sufficient nature. Meaning is the being of all that has been created and the nature even of our selfhood. It has a religious root and a divine origin.

Quotes about Herman DooyeweerdEdit

  • It may seem strange that on the 70th birthday of a philosopher of such pronounced religious and political persuasion as Dooyeweerd, tribute is paid by a jurist with an entirely different world-view and political persuasion. However, there is every reason to put the question what the significance of this philosopher is for Dutch philosophy of whatever persuasion, or even for philosophy in general, without any restriction of nationality. For without any exaggeration Dooyeweerd can be called the most original philosopher Holland has ever produced, Spinoza himself not excepted.
  • To be sure, Dooyeweerd’s A New Critique of Theoretical Thought was translated into English in the fifties. But did the availability of that major work contribute significantly to an appreciation and understanding of Dooyeweerd’s christian philosophical endeavors? I doubt it. For one thing, it was poorly translated, both in terms of language and ideas. But the point I wish to make concerns something else. A New Critique give plenty of text, two thousand pages of it, but it does not give the context of this undertaking. And an understanding of the context is required for an understanding of the text. This big book by itself is like an oak tree in a desert, uprooted from its natural surroundings and transplanted in an environment that is foreign and at times hostile to it. This book is the top of an iceberg, one of the major intellectual achievements – alongside those of Kuyper, Bavinck, Schilder, Berkouwer and Vollenhoven – of a christian community which at least until recently found its cohesion in a common christian calling and a concomitant walk of life. Anyone who wants to see what that christian calling, that walk of life, and its philosophical outgrowth are all about will have to learn the language and the ways of the people that responded to that calling and walked that path of life. anyone who wants to understand a philosophical movement will have to learn the language of that movement, to recognize both its contributions and its failures. This is true of Husserl’s phenomenology, of the Frankfurter school; it is also true of the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea.
    • Bernard Zylstra, “Introduction,” in L. Kabsleek, Contours of a Christian Philosophy: An Introduction to Herman Dooyeweerd’s Thought, trans. Bernard Zylstra and Josina Zylstra (Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1981; first printed 1976), pp. 30 – 31.

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