More photos taken a few years ago in the island of Quessant, Brittany. Quessant is Ushant in English and Enez-Eusa in Breton.
Shoreline, Quessant

Why I love Dooyeweerd’s philosophy

I love Herman Dooyeweerd’s philosophy for a variety of reasons. He has a profound knowledge of what it means to be a Christian in the modern era. His philosophy and interpretation of what Christianity means makes sense in the context of my own personal experiences. In contrast to modernism, he claims that we are made in the image of God and that it is possible to be aware of Him. In contrast to postmodernism he claims there is a metanarrative which one can know from personal experience.

His major work

His major work was translated from Dutch in 1953-58 under the title A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. I must stress that I’m not a Dooyeweerd scholar and my jottings rely heavily on other people’s interpretations, especially Dr J. Glenn Friesen and his 95 Theses on Herman Dooyeweerd. I take, of course, full responsibility for comments made and for any explanations given.

The four horizons

Dr Friesen’s ‘Thesis’ 4 says: There are four dimensions or horizons of our experience: (1) the religious or supratemporal horizon (2) the temporal horizon of cosmic time (3) the modal horizon of the temporal aspects, and (4) the plastic horizon of individuality structures.

Coast of Quessant, Brittany


The first horizon refers to the supratemporal heart or selfhood through which we can become aware of what we truly are. We are linked to what is beyond time through this very selfhood through which we constantly experience things. We are all equal in the sense that we are each of us born with this form of selfhood.


The second horizon refers to how we are fitted into the cosmic time that God created. Our selfhood, however, transcends cosmic time. We are aware of being in time but also of our selfhood that transcends time. ‘We live in both cosmic time and the supratemporal aevum, which is the created intermediate state between eternity and cosmic time.’ (Thesis 7)


The third horizon refers to 15 modes or aspects of intuiting consciousness. These are numerical, spatial, kinematic, the mode of physical energy, organic life, psychical feeling, analytical-logical, historical, linguistic, social, economic, aesthetic, jural, moral, and the mode of faith. They are related to the central unity of our consciousness which we call I, or ego. They only become apparent to us when we start thinking about them. In ‘pre-theoretical’ experience they are ‘a coherent unity’.


‘Individuality structures have no substance nor do they have any reality at all apart from man, their religious root.’ (Thesis 27) A strange statement if we think of ‘individuality structures’ as brute things. But the modal structures (or aspects) are more basic than ‘individuality structures’ and individuality structures are not things or substance. The term enkapsis is used, meaning ‘a relation where two individuality structures each retain their own characteristics’ (Thesis 30) An example is given: ‘Our own body is an enkaptic interlacement of four different individuality structures: the physical, the biological, the psychical, and the act-structure. These structures are not parts of a whole, but rather enkaptically interwoven with each other,’ (Theses 33)