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JKTroeltschCover Between Historicism & Relativism: Dynamics of Historicism and the Philosophical Development of Ernst Troeltsch (2013, online)

Between Historicism & Relativism is a penetrating analysis of historicist philosophy. Historicisms states that all political systems, cultures and religions are fully determined by time and history. Klapwijk focusses on the development of historicism in the Western world. He shows how this view, once the bearer of unbridled cultural optimism, in the final analysis leads to an anarchy of values. The author clarifies the dynamics of historicism with the help of Ernst Troeltsch, the German Protestant theologian who later became a widely celebrated philosopher of history in Hegel’s Chair in Berlin († 1923).

Klapwijk distinguishes six phases in Troeltsch's theory of "radical historicity." After initial reservations based on the theology of Albrecht Ritschl, Troeltsch starts with a broad Hegelian perspective of universal history resulting in the defense of "the absoluteness of Christianity." Then under the influence of neo-Kantianism (Windelband, Rickert), he presents historicism as a critical theory of the Modern Age. Next, together with Max Weber he develops sociology of religion; the sociological approach seems to enhance the relativizing effects of historicism. During World War I he defends an intuitive, neo-romantic view of social life and history, but not for long. In the postwar years Troeltsch faces the crisis of modernity and loses his confidence in universal history. Radical historicity implies "authentic pluralism." History will never generate an ultimate standard or universal values. Against the threat of cultural disintegration Troeltsch can only hope for a new ethical synthesis of human persons as "monadological" individuals rooted in mysticism.

Between Historicism & Relativism is an indispensable guide to discover the historicist and anti-historicist tendencies of contemporary philosophy. It can also serve as a thorough manual to the collected works of Troeltsch.

Translated from the Dutch by H. Donald Morton.

bringing Dialectic of Enlightenment:
Critical Theory and the Messianic Light (2010)


Dialectic of Enlightenment is a thought-provoking introduction to the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Max Horhheimer and Theodor Adorno first identified the “dialectic of enlightenment” when fascism was on the rampage in Europe. They warned that enlightened reason and societal freedom threaten to revert into blindness and oppression. Herbert Marcuse and the young Jürgen Habermas elaborated their Critical Theory, declaring that post-war society has not escaped this dilemma, blinded as it is by ideology, pseudo-democracy, and mass-manipulation.

Critical Theory aims to unmask modern reason and liberate society. But a fundamental question keeps coming back: how can this critique of modernity remain viable within a repressive societal system? Is reason in the modern world indeed deemed to self-destruct? Does rationality inevitably lead to domination and oppression? Jacob Klapwijk argues that the dialectic of enlightenment proves to be a faith, a mythical faith encouraging resignation and despair. Instead we need a wholesome reason, one inspired by a messianic faith.

Dialectic of Enlightenment is an important book for students of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences. It invites them to a renewed criticism of the mythological traits and self-destructive tendencies of modern reason. It also offers a perspective of hope to all who share the author’s concern about the direction of today’s globalizing world.

Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers
Translated from the Dutch by C.L. Yallop and P.M. Yallop
Paperback published 9 August 2010

Read more:
Content Cover
Pges i-xii

bringingHeeft de evolutie een doel?
Over schepping en emergente evolutie
(2009, online)


Recht doen aan Darwins theorie van evolutie zonder het Bijbelse scheppingsgeloof op te geven, kan dat? Is er een uitweg uit het conflict tussen religieuze en ‘seculiere’ opvattingen over de oorsprong van de soorten?

Heeft de evolutie een doel? biedt een filosofische analyse van de relatie tussen evolutiebiologie en religie. Centraal staat de vraag of de evolutie van het leven puur toevallig verloopt of wellicht ook blijk geeft van doelgerichtheid. Klapwijk kritiseert creationisme, intelligent design en theïstische evolutie. Maar strikt materialistische verklaringen van het leven ontmaskert hij evenzeer als een sta-in-de-weg voor de wetenschap. Schrijvend vanuit een christelijke (augustijnse) inspiratie slaat de auteur een brug tussen scheppingsverhaal en neodarwinisme met hulp van de idee van ‘emergente evolutie’. In deze nieuwe theorie komt evolutie op uit brute materie, maar brengt ze het leven wel stap voor stap op een hoger plan. Darwin volgen is Darwin voorbijstreven.

This is the Dutch version of Jacob Klapwijk, Purpose in the Living World?
Kampen: Kok, ISBN 978 90 435 1656 3, Euro 24,95.
Paperback published 29 Mai 2009.

Read also:
a Dutch interview with the author
Nederlands Dagblad 29 Mai 2009.

bringing Purpose in the Living World?
Creation and Emergent Evolution
( 2008)

Are evolution and creation irreconcilably opposed? Is “intelligent design” theory an unhappy compromise? Is there another way of approaching the present-day divide between religious and so-called secular views of the origins of life?

Purpose in the Living World? offers a philosophical analysis of the relation of evolutionary biology to religion, and addresses the question of whether the evolution of life is exclusively a matter of chance or is better understood as including the notion of purpose. Writing from a Christian (Augustinian) point of view, the author criticizes creationism and intelligent design theory as well as opposing reductive naturalism. The author presents an alternative to both and an attempt to bridge the gap between them, via the idea of “emergent evolution.” In this theory the proces of evolution has an emergent or innovative character resulting in a living world of ingenious, multifaceted complexity.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Translated and edited by Harry Cook.
Paperback and hardback versions published 4 December 2008.

See also lecture:
Is There a Purpose in the Living World?
Some Thoughts about Creation and Emergent Evolution,
Calvin College Christian Perspectives in Science Seminar Series,
Friday, September 15, 2006.
audiorecording (.wma).