Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koers]]> vol. 78 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Preface to <i>fetschrift</i> dedicated to Prof J.J. Venter</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The re-appreciation of the humanities in contemporary philosophy of science: From recognition to exaggeration?</b>]]> In the course of the centuries, the 'reputation' and status attributed to the humanities underwent different phases. One of their lowest moments can be traced during the positivist period. This article explored the reasons underlying the gradual re-evaluation of the scientific status and relevance of the humanities in the philosophy of science of the 20th century. On the basis of a historical analysis it was argued that on the one hand such recognition is positive because it abolishes an unjustified prejudice that restricted the status of 'science' to the natural sciences. On the other hand it was argued that the reasons behind such recognition might not always be sound and may be inspired by (and lead to) a certain relativism harbouring undesired consequences. In the final part of this article (dedicated to Prof. J.J. [Ponti] Venter) a brief 'postscript' sketched his evaluation of the role of philosophy.<hr/>Die 'reputasie' en status van die geesteswetenskappe het deur die eeue heen veranderinge gedurende die verskillende fases ondergaan. Een van die grootste laagtepunte kon gedurende die positivistiese periode waargeneem word. Hierdie artikel het die redes onderliggend aan die toenemende herwaardering van die wetenskaplike status en relevansie van die geesteswetenskappe in die wetenskapsfilosofie van die twintigste eeu ondersoek. 'n Historiese analise is as basis gebruik waarvandaan geargumenteer is dat hierdie erkenning aan die een kant positief is omdat dit die ongeregverdigde vooroordeel wat die status van 'wetenskap' tot die natuurwetenskappe beperk, omverwerp. Aan die ander kant is geredeneer dat die redes vir hierdie erkenning nie altyd suiwer is nie en geïnspireer mag wees deur (en lei tot) 'n soort relatiwisme wat ongewenste gevolge huisves. In die finale deel van hierdie artikel (opgedra aan Prof. J.J. [Ponti] Venter) is sy evaluering van die aard en rol van die filosofie in 'n kort 'naskrif' geskets. <![CDATA[<b>Adam Smith's contribution to secularisation</b>]]> This article examined several crucial themes in Adam Smith's philosophy with the purpose of highlighting and assessing his contribution to the secularisation of Western society. The article, written from the perspective of reformational philosophy, begins with a brief biography and sketch of Adam Smith's influence on modern society, followed by a summary of Ponti Venter's view on Smith. This sets the scene for a discussion of Adam Smith's project, his method of tackling it, and his views on systems, philosophy of history and the concept of philosophy.<hr/>Hierdie artikel het verskeie beslissende temas in Adam Smith se filosofie ondersoek met die doel om sy bydrae tot die sekularisering van die Westerse samelewing uit te lig en te assesseer. Die artikel, wat vanuit die perspektief van die Reformatoriese filosofie geskryf is, begin met 'n kort biografie en skets van Adam Smith se invloed op die moderne samelewing, gevolg deur 'n opsomming van Ponti Venter se siening van Smith. Dit skep die toneel vir 'n bespreking van Adam Smith se projek, sy metode, asook sy siening oor sisteme, die filosofie van geskiedenis en die konsep van filosofie. <![CDATA[<b>(Ir)rationalism: At the cross-roads of historical and systematic reflection</b>]]> 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 rational 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 law-giver of the world.<hr/>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. <![CDATA[<b>Pragmatism attacking Christianity as weakness - Methodologies of targeting</b>]]> The central argument is that methods are designed with aims in mind, and are determined by one's worldview and/or ontology and/or philosophical anthropology and/or views of scholarship. It is possible, and here shown by analysis of the methodology of William James, that obsession with a cause, driven by the elitist belief that my cause is for everybody's advantage, can take an ideological format (a formalistic ideology), in which case it would show tendencies to polarise. In the case of James the scientistic methodology takes as primary target Christianity's meekness and kindness as humanitarianly ineffective. But James suffers from the problem of intellectual solipsism: reading Christianity via abstract rationalist theology.<hr/>Die sentrale argument is dat metodes ontwerp word met doeleindes in gedagte en bepaal word deur 'n persoon se werklikheidsvisie en/of ontologie en/of filosofiese antropologie en/of sienings van wetenskap. Dit is moontlik dat 'n obsessie met 'n saak, gedryf deur die elitistiese oortuiging dat my saak tot almal se voordeel is, 'n ideologiese formaat kan aanneem ('n formalistiese ideologie). In so 'n geval toon dit neigings om te polariseer. Ter illustrasie hiervan, is William James se metodologie in hierdie artikel geanaliseer. In James se geval neem die sciëntistiese metodologie die Christendom se sagmoedigheid en welwillendheid as primêre teiken om aan te toon dat dit op humanitêre vlak oneffektief is. James ly egter aan die probleem van intellektuele solipsisme: hy lees die Christendom via abstrakte, rasionalistiese teologie. <![CDATA[<b>Organism versus mechanism: Losing our grip on the distinction</b>]]> The distinction between organism and mechanism is often subtle or unclear and yet can prove to be fundamental to our understanding of the world. It has been tempting for many thinkers to seek to 'understand' all of reality through the lens of either the one or the other of these concepts rather than by giving both a place. This article sets out to argue that there is a substantial loss of understanding when either of these metaphors is absolutised to explain all causal processes and patterns in reality. Clarifying the distinction between the two may provide one more tool to grasp what is reductionist in many of the perspectives that have come to dominate public life and science today. This contention is tested on the quest for the design of self-replicating systems (i.e. synthetic organisms) in the nanotech industry. It is common that the concepts of organic functioning and mechanism are used imprecisely and in an overlapping way. This is also true of much scientific debate, especially in the fields of biology, micro-biology and nano-science. This imprecise use signals a reductionist tendency both in the way that the organic is perceived and in terms of the distinctive nature of mechanisms.<hr/>Die onderskeid tussen organisme en meganisme is dikwels subtiel of onduidelik, maar nogtans kan hierdie verskil 'n groot invloed op ons verstaan van die wêreld hê. Dit was in die geskiedenis van die filosofie vir baie denkers verleidelik om die totale werklikheid deur die lens van slegs die een of die ander van hierdie metafore te probeer verstaan in plaas daarvan om albei hulle regmatige plek te gee. Hierdie artikel argumenteer dat daar 'n substansiële verlies aan begrip is as 'n mens slegs een van hierdie metafore verabsoluteer in 'n poging om alle oorsaak- en gevolgpatrone in die werklikheid te verklaar. 'n Duideliker onderskeid tussen hierdie twee konsepte kan waarskynlik 'n bydrae lewer om die reduksionistiese elemente in die hedendaagse denkwyses wat die wetenskap en die openbare lewe oorheers, te bepaal. Hierdie benadering word getoets aan 'n analise van die ontwikkelinge in die nanotegnologie waar gepoog word om sintetiese lewe en selfrepliserende sisteme te vervaardig. Dit kom algemeen voor dat die begrippe organisme en meganisme onnoukeurig gebruik word en, tot 'n mate, soms selfs oorvleuelend. Dit geld ook vir 'n groot deel van die huidige wetenskaplike debatte, veral in die biologie, mikrobiologie en nanowetenskap dissiplines. Hierdie onnoukeurige woordgebruik maak dit duidelik dat daar 'n reduksie plaasvind beide in die onderskeid tussen wat as organiese en dit wat as spesifiek meganiese eienskappe beskou word. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a balanced view of H.F. Verwoerd</b>]]> Doktor H.F. Verwoerd is waarskynlik die mees omstrede politieke figuur in Suid-Afrika se geskiedenis. Gedurende sy lewe is hy deur sy aanhangers bewonder, maar selfs sy kritici het erkenning aan hom gegee as 'n man van statuur. Vandag word hy meestal as simbool van brutale rasse-oorheersing getipeer. Hierdie artikel gee ten eerste insig in die soms teenstrydige standpunte wat in sy lewe, pas na sy dood en in later jare deur die pers oor Verwoerd uitgespreek is. Hierdie verskynsel word mediateoreties bespreek. Daarna volg 'n oorsig oor standpunte wat in die literatuur oor Verwoerd uitgespreek is, insluitende resente publikasies deur Hermann Giliomee, 'n vooraanstaande historikus. Teen die agtergrond van diverse en soms eensydige menings, word J.J. (Ponti) Venter se artikel oor Verwoerd se denke, wat in 1999 in Koers - Bulletin for Christian Scholarship gepubliseer is, bespreek as voorbeeld van 'n gebalanseerde intellektuele bydrae tot die voortgaande debat. Daar word geargumenteer dat Venter se bydrae belangrik was vanweë die skerp analises oor Verwoerd se denke. Venter se artikel, wat op toesprake gegrond is, verskaf egter te min konteks. Die nodige konteks word wel in ander publikasies en die pers gevind. Daar word aangevoer dat geen oordeel oor enige belangrike historiese figuur finaal is nie, veral nie indien net die pers geraadpleeg word nie. Soos met betrekking tot Verwoerd moet kontemporêre persdekking altyd aangevul word met deeglike navorsing oor die onderwerp. In die besonder is sober analises deur openbare intellektuele soos Venter nodig en dit moet ingesluit word in die beoordeling van Verwoerd.<hr/>Doctor H.F. Verwoerd is possibly the most controversial political figure in South African history. In life he was revered by his followers, but even critics acknowledged his stature. Today he is mostly depicted as a brutal symbol of racial suppression. This article first gives insight into various, contradictory views expressed in the press on Verwoerd during his life, immediately after his death and in recent years. This is discussed in view of some media-theoretical perspectives. It is followed by an overview of views expressed on Verwoerd in literature, including recent works by eminent historian Hermann Giliomee. Against this background of diverse and sometimes one-sided views, J.J. (Ponti) Venter's analysis of Verwoerdian thought, as published in a 1999 issue of Koers - Bulletin for Christian Scholarship, is presented as an example of a balanced intellectual contribution to an ongoing debate. It is argued that Venter's contribution was important as it provides incisive criticism of Verwoerd not found elsewhere. Venter's article, which was based on texts of speeches, however lacks some context. This is provided by other publications and press coverage. It is suggested that no assessment of an important historical figure is ever definitive, least so by consulting only the press. As is the case with Verwoerd, contemporaneous press coverage needs to be supplemented by solid research on the subject. In particular the sober analysis of public intellectuals such as J.J. Venter is needed and should be included in assesments of Verwoerd. <![CDATA[<b>An ontological exploration of change and constancy</b>]]> The history of philosophy presents a variety of viewpoints regarding the ontological primacy of either change or constancy. Some views regard change as foundational, to the point where constancy is denied (e.g. Heraclitus). Other views regard constancy as so important, that change becomes unthinkable (e.g. Parmenides). The apparent dialectical tension between the different conceptions demands an ontological clarification of these issues. This study illustrates and evaluates the relationship between change and constancy in the viewpoints of various philosophers and scientists throughout history. This is done by appropriating a reformational insight that change and constancy exist in cohesion. The study finds that the relationship between change and constancy is not dialectical, but rather one of integration, seated in irreducible primitive domains (modalities). The purpose of the article is twofold (1) to show that change and constancy cannot be reduced to one another but can only exist in a relationship of coherence and (2) to contribute a systematic clarification of framework change in terms of the relationship between change and onstancy on the ontological level.<hr/>Die geskiedenis van filosofie vertoon 'n verskeidenheid van standpunte aangaande die ontologiese voorrang van óf verandering óf konstantheid. Sommige beskouings aanvaar verandering as fundamenteel, tot die punt waar konstantheid ontken word (bv. Heraklitus). Ander beskouings aanvaar konstantheid as so belangrik, dat verandering ondenkbaar word (bv. Parmenides). Die oënskynlike dialektiese spanning tussen die verskillende konsepsies vereis 'n ontologiese uitklaring van die kwessies. Hierdie studie illustreer en evalueer die verhouding tussen verandering en konstantheid in die standpunte van verskeie wetenskapsfilosowe deur die geskiedenis. Dit word gedoen deur 'n reformatoriese insig aan te neem, naamlik dat verandering en konstantheid in 'n kohesie bestaan. Die studie vind dat die verhouding tussen verandering en konstantheid nie dialekties is nie, maar eerder een van integrasie, gesetel in onreduseerbare primitiewe domeine (modaliteite). Die doel van die artikel is tweeledig (1) om te toon dat verandering en konstantheid nie tot mekaar gereduseer kan word nie, maar in 'n verhouding van koherensie bestaan en (2) om 'n sistematiese uitklaring van raamwerkverandering, in terme van die verhouding tussen verandering en konstantheid op die ontologiese vlak, by te dra. <![CDATA[<b><i>Homo ludens</i></b><b> or <i>homo respondens</i>? A Christian-philosophical response to a contemporary view of the human being as primarily a player instead of an answerer</b>]]> In hierdie artikel word die kontras tussen 'n kontemporêre idee van die mens as primêr 'n spelende wese (homo ludens) en die Bybelse visie op die mens as in die eerste plek 'n antwoordende wese (homo respondens) bekyk. Ter inleiding word die leser oorsigtelik bekendgestel aan die groot verskeidenheid mensbeelde wat die westerse denke reeds opgelewer het. Hierdie oorsig sluit die hedendaagse, postmoderne karakterisering van die mens as homo ludens in. Vervolgens word 'n kort verduideliking gegee van hoe 'n reformatoriese filosofie die mens as multidimensionele religieuse wese beskryf. Hierdie denkrigting verwerp alle eensydige 'ismes', wat menswees slegs na aanleiding van een (of twee) van die fasette daarvan probeer definieer en alle ander aspekte tot die verabsoluteerde een wil reduseer. Die vraag word gestel of daar nie 'n omvattende term gevind kan word om vanuit 'n Christelik-filosofiese perspektief menswees te beskryf nie. Die suggestie dat die mens basies 'n antwoordende wese is, is reeds deur ten minste drie Christelike filosowe gemaak. Matteus 11 (waarin die spelende en antwoordende mens gekontrasteer word) dien vervolgens as voorbeeld van so 'n idee wat algemeen in die Skrif gebruik word. Aangesien hierdie artikel bedoel is as huldeblyk aan professor Ponti Venter, word in die slotgedeelte daarop gewys hoe ook die jubilaris, op pad na sy sewentigste verjaarsdag, in sy lewe en publikasies die gedagte van die mens as homo respondens vergestalt het.<hr/>In this article the contrast between a contemporary view of the human being as primarily a player (homo ludens) and the biblical view of a responding being (homo respondens) is investigated. The contribution develops as follows. The reader is first provided with an overview of the multiplicity of anthropologies developed in the course of western philosophy. This overview includes the contemporary, postmodern characterisation of the human being as structurally a homo ludens. This is, in the second place, followed by a brief exposition of how a reformational anthropology regards the human being as multidimentional and religious in nature. It therefore rejects all kinds of 'isms' which one-sidedly try to explain human nature from only one (or two) of its many facets, reducing all other aspects to the one absolutised. The question is then asked whether, from a Christian-philosophical perspective, a more comprehensive, directional concept should not be used to describe who a human being is. Such an embracing idea may be that humans can basically be defined as answering creatures. Matthew 11 (where the two concepts of a homo ludens and homo respondens stands in sharp contrast) serves as example of the fact that the idea of a homo respondens is employed generally in the Bible. Since this article is a tribute to Professor Ponti Venter, the concluding part indicates how also the jubilaris, approaching his seventieth birthday, in his life and publications embodied the idea of a homo respondens. <![CDATA[<b>Teaching for a transformative engagement with our context: The importance of care in Christian pedagogical suggestions for higher education</b>]]> Responsible scholarship requires that students engage with their context and their own learning to understand and transform our world with wisdom. Ponti (J.J.) Venter argues that such a notion is central in understanding the task of a (Christian) university. In this article, dedicated to Professor Venter, I argue that the pedagogical implications of such a Christian understanding of science need to be developed further in a higher education context. I propose that care deepens wonder and sustains action by continuously calling our imagination to envisage longed-for change in both an academic and a broader social context. I offer five concrete suggestions to support lecturers in guiding students to act from their care for the world. These suggestions refer to the importance of inventory work, the cultivation of empathy, inspiring examples, emotional involvement, and an inner and outer dialogue as to the appropriate form their care should take. A Christian pedagogy should, secondly, support students in unfolding their own style of moving between theory and experience; thirdly, it should enable students to experience themselves as partners in academic discussions and as historical formative agents contributing to our world; fourthly, it should focus on a view of the world in which their tentacles are feeling for change, accompanied by normative sophistication. Fifthly, the development of a suitable pedagogy requires lecturers to develop peer groups organically to reflect on teaching practices that encourage students' transformative engagement with our world.<hr/>Verantwoordelike wetenskap vereis dat studente betrokke is by hulle konteks sowel as hulle eie leer sodat hulle ons wêreld met wysheid kan verstaan en transformeer. Ponti (J.J.) Venter argumenteer dat so 'n idee sentraal is in die verstaan van 'n (Christelike) universiteit. In hierdie artikel, opgedra aan Professor Venter, argumenteer ek dat die pedagogiese implikasies van so 'n Christelike verstaan van wetenskap verder ontwikkel behoort te word in 'n hoër onderwyskonteks. Omgee lei tot 'n verdieping van wonder en onderhou aktiewe optrede deur ons verbeelding voortdurend op te roep om daardie verandering waarna gehunker word in beide 'n akademiese en breër sosiale konteks voor oë te stel. Ek bied vyf konkrete voorstelle om dosente te ondersteun in die begeleiding van studente se omgee vir die wêreld. Hierdie voorstelle wys op die belangrikheid van inventaris-werk, die kweek van empatie, inspirerende voorbeelde, emosionele betrokkenheid en 'n innerlike en eksterne dialoog oor die gepaste vorm vir hulle omgee. 'n Christelike pedagogie behoort in die tweede plek studente te ondersteun om hulle eie styl van beweging tussen teorie en ervaring te ontvou; derdens behoort dit studente in staat te stel om hulleself as vennote in akademiese besprekings en historiese formatiewe agente wat bydraes tot ons wêreld lewer, te beskou; vierdens sal dit fokus op 'n siening van die werklikheid waarin studente se tentakels na verandering voortvoel, vergesel van normatiewe sofistikasie. Vyfdens vereis die ontwikkeling van 'n gepaste pedagogie dat dosente op organiese wyse eweknie-groepe ontwikkel om te reflekteer op onderrigpraktyke wat studente se transformatiewe betrokkenheid by ons wêreld aanmoedig. <![CDATA[<b>Methodologies of targeting - Renaissance militarism attacking Christianity as 'weakness'</b>]]> Intellectuals in the post-Medieval West, striving for scholarly emancipation, developed methodologies to target so as to free themselves from the dominant Christian, largely Roman Catholic, intellectual tradition. Machiavelli was one such critic, calling for the repristination of pre-Christian classics. Such methodologies are never without an inherent quest for power. Machiavelli developed a Classicist, 'heroic exemplar' hermeneutic in order to extol the republicanist, manly, ferocious, imperialist virtues of Rome, vis-à-vis the divisive, meek, caring, justice-seeking, unpatriotic, Christian leaders of his day. He therefore initiated Modern ideological militaristic competitiveness with its mutually suspicious balance of powers practices. This article forms part of a series of articles on methodologies of targeting groups.<hr/>In die na-Middeleeuse Weste het intellektuele, in hul strewe na wetenskaplike emansipasie, metodologieë ontwikkel om hulself van die dominerend-Christelike, meesal Rooms-Katolieke, intellektuele tradisie te bevry. Machiavelli was een so 'n kritikus; hy het gestreef na 'n repristinasie na die voor-Christelike Klassieke. Sulke metodologieë is nooit sonder 'n inherente magstrewe nie. Machiavelli het 'n Klassistiese, 'heroïes eksemplaristiese' hermeneutiek ontwikkel om die republikeinse, manlike, aanvallende, imperialistiese deugde van Rome te vereer, in teenstelling met die verdelende, sagsinninge, sorgsame, reg-soekende, onpatriotiese Christelike leiers van sy tyd. Hy het toe die Moderne ideologiese militaristiese kompeterendheidsidee met sy onderling-suspisieuse magsbalansgedagte ontwikkel. Hierdie artikel vorm deel van 'n reeks van sulke metodologieë wat groepe teiken. <![CDATA[<b>Calvin on slavery: Providence and social ethics in the 16th century</b>]]>