Gregory Baus: Dooyeweerd’s Conception of Societal Sphere Sovereignty

Abstract: Abraham Kuyper’s conception of societal sphere sovereignty has received various interpretations. Herman Dooyeweerd’s interpretation of sphere sovereignty develops Kuyper’s conception in terms of its being rooted in and motivated from a distinctly Christian religious orientation, and results in a view of society that is neither individualistic, nor collectivistic. In this paper Dooyeweerd’s philosophically elaborated account is examined in terms of his notions of a basic creational diversity; modality and individuality structures; societal communities; sovereignty over-against autonomy/decentralization, and subsidiarity; distinct inner structural principles, the intrinsic limit of state power, and non-individualism. A consistent application of Dooyeweerd’s conception of sphere sovereignty to the question of the status of education as a sovereign sphere, and the propriety of its tax-based support, results in the conclusion that, according to Dooyeweerd’s view, the state does not properly possess the competence to fund schooling through taxation in any form.

You can find several version of Baus’ paper here.

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