Roots of the Normative Practice Approach: The Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd

Roots of the Normative Practice Approach: The Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd

Gerrit Glas (Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8006-5.ch002
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This chapter focuses on the philosophy of Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977), whose systematic philosophy has informed and inspired the initial formulations of the normative practice approach. Central concepts like mode, aspect, entity, meaning, heart, and ground motive will be discussed. The relevance of these concepts for the normative practice approach will be pointed out.
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Dooyeweerd tells in an interview that idea of modal diversity came as a flash during a walk in the dunes somewhere around 1921 when he was overwhelmed by the astonishing diversity and the incredible coherence in the way things exist and are functioning (van Dunné et al. 1977, 37). Everything exists in different ways, ways that are both distinguishable and interconnected in our ordinary experience of the world. A flower, for instance, exists in a spatial, in a physical and in a biotic way: it occupies a certain space, it has physical properties (such as mass), and it functions as a biotic entity, because it grows, blossoms, and reproduces. Flowers may also exist in other spheres or aspects, for instance in the economic or the aesthetic aspect. They then function as economic or aesthetic object, respectively: they are bought (economic) or be valued because of their beauty (aesthetic).

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