The Hidden Player on the Instrument of Reason

Philosophia Reformata 84 (1):31-57 (2019)
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This essay focuses on the simile of the hidden player on the instrument of reason which occurs at least ten times in the works of Herman Dooyeweerd. Invariably, the context is his critique of the autonomy of thought. The purpose of the simile seems clear: pointing at the person of the thinker behind the veil of reason in order to dispel the myth of religious neutrality. Although this is indeed the accepted view among interpreters, it is argued that it fails to do justice to Dooyeweerd’s emphasis on participation. The player, the instrument, and the central motif of the music are insolubly interconnected. In the second half of the paper, the idea of participation is highlighted as a counterpoise against both the alleged autonomy of thought and a penchant for personalism among Reformational philosophers.



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