n Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship = Koers : Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap - (Ir)rationalism : at the cross-roads of historical and systematic reflection : original research

Volume 78, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0023-270X



This article is dedicated to Ponti Venter for his contribution to the historical roots and systematic implications of philosophical problems. A discussion with him about four decades ago prompted me to investigate the Greek roots of our distinction of thought and being. In the analysis below, a brief sketch was given of the initial identification of thought and being in the thought of Parmenides and the consequences it had for the rationalistic tradition since the Renaissance, particularly in connection with the view that the universe itself has a structure. Two options were pursued in our analysis of rationalism: (1) to contrast it with empiricism and (2) to relate it to universality and the problem of what is individual. By distinguishing between conceptual and concept-transcending knowledge, an alternative systematic characterisation of rationalism (and irrationalism) is proposed, namely that it absolutises conceptual knowledge (whilst irrationalism deifies concept-transcending knowledge). This view allows for an acknowledgement of the ontic horizon of human experience, co-constituted by the dimensions of modal aspects and type laws, without elevating human understanding to become the of the world.

Hierdie artikel is opgedra aan Ponti Venter vir sy bydrae tot die verstaan van die historiese wortels en sistematiese implikasies van wysgerige probleme. 'n Gesprek van sowat vier dekades gelede het my aangespoor om ondersoek na die Griekse agtergrond van ons onderskeiding tussen denke en syn in te stel. In die ontleding hieronder is 'n oorsigtelike skets van die aanvanklike identifisering van denke en syn in die gedagtegang van Parmenides geen die konsekwensies wat dit vir die rasionalistiese tradisie sedert die Renaissance gehad het gegee, veral in verband met die siening dat die heelal self 'n rasionele struktuur sou besit. Ons ontleding van die aard van die rasionalisme het twee opsies ondersoek: (1) kontrasteer dit met die empirisme en (2) let op die verband tussen universaliteit en dit wat individueel is. Deur te onderskei tussen begripskennis en begripstransenderende kennis word 'n alternatiewe sistematese karakterisering van rasionalisme (en irrasionalisme) voorgestel, naamlik dat dit begripskennis verabsoluteer (terwyl die irrasionalisme begripstransenderende kennis vergoddelik). Hierdie siening laat ruimte vir die erkenning van die ontiese horison van die menslike ervaring, mede-bepaald deur die dimensies van modale aspekte en tipe-wette, sonder om die menslike verstand tot die wetgewer van die wêreld te verhef.

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