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Giving form to Life According to Max Scheler

  • Daniela Verducci
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 74)

Abstract

Precisely at the heart of his most mature phenomenological work, Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, in the section “Fühlen und Gefühle”, dedicated to showing the existence of an “ordre du coeur”, an affective intentionality on the same level as cogitative intentionality, Max Scheler brings up “the class of the intentional affective functions”.1 In doing so he refers to a type of operation for pure feeling which is subsidiary to acts and analogous to that which is found in the intentional movement of representative consciousness.2

Keywords

Nicomachian Ethic Intentional Relationship Affective Relationship Empirical Object Spiritual Person 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    “die Klasse der intentionalen Fühlfunktionen”. Cf.: M. Scheler Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, in Gesammelte Werke (henceforth cited as GW) 2 Bern, Munich; Francke Verlag, (1954), p. 264. Further references to Formalismus will be indicated by F.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F, p. 87. M. Frings, in his recent monograph on Scheler, The Mind of Max Scheler (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1997), (pp. 22–25; 60-63), seems to propose that the acts of pure feeling directed to values and the intentional affective functions are identical. In fact, he thinks that Scheler attributes a merely functional existence to values (“The Functional Existence of Values” is the title of the first section of the first chapter of his book), depriving them of any existence in and of themselves (“The Non-Existence of Values Per Se” is the title of a sub-section). In contrast, we think that a precise differentiation between acts and functions emerges from Formalismus, whereby acts realize themselves in the free dimension of the person while functions develop according to their own automatisms in the ambit of the psycho-physical self (F, p. 387; in addition: pp. 118, 122, 124, 334, where acts and functions are named together, linked with the conjunction, “and”). This distinction seems more suitable than identifying acts and functions, more in accord with the Schelerian idea of the spirit as that whole of “all that presents the essence of act, intentionality and fullness of sense” (F, p. 388), which, even though it lacks power (it is “ohnmächtig”, M. Scheler, “Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos”, in GW 9, Späte Schriften [1976], p. 45), is able to enter into a cognitive relationship with the world of ideal being as much as it is able to direct and guide, inhibiting and loosing, the course of life. (Idem, “Probleme einer Soziologie des Wissens”, GW 8, Die Wissensformen und die Gesellschaft [1960] p. 40, n. 1). In fact, it is our opinion that the spiritual person’s capacity to contribute to the accomplishment of being pivots precisely on the discovery that acts of pure feeling, which operate exclusively in the ideal sphere, are constituted so as to be assisted by the intentional affective functions, which fulfill and prolong the intentional acts of feeling, until they arrive at their effective realization on the psycho-physical leGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    In mathematics, Fourier, Dirichlet and Lobatschewski contributed to the generalization of the process of the geometric analysis of the continuous curve. P. G. Dirichlet, in particular, was the first to work on the mathematical notion of function, enabling Cauchy, Riemann and Weierstrasse to better focus on the conceptual gaps still present in the area of the functional analysis of continuity, differentiability, analyticity and integrability. In 1887 A. R. Dedekind offered the first explicit formulation of the current notion of the concept of function, which Schroeder then applied to the theory of relativity in 1895. In the logic of Frege as well, the objective field is divided into the object sector and the functions, which are marked by “lack of integration” (Ergänzungsbedürftigkeit). In his 1922 work, Logik der reinen Erkenntnis, the Neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen dealt with the new importance of the concept of function in the mathematical theory of equations. He wrote that it derived from the law introduced by Leibniz on the reciprocal dependence between two variable quantities by which it is possible to produce, among the single members or elements, a relationship which accomplishes the function. In 1910 E. Cassirer in his work Substanzbegriff und Funktion-Begriff, while guiding conceptualization to the exercise of the function of order, considers the functional relationship as a producer of concepts. In fact, introducing the nexus of a function into an ambit of variable content always means establishing between the members of the set a constant and general connection which configures them according to the specific form of the concept or symbolic form. In the field of psychology, the two works of William James The Principles of Psychology (1890) and Psychology (1892) launch a fierce attack on the rational psychology of the metaphysical tradition and on the more recent psychological structuralism of Wundt. They were based precisely on a functional consideration of the psyche, one drawn from Spencer and Darwinism. James holds that the soul is not a spiritual absolute entity with its own evolution, but that it derives its current condition from interaction with the environment and adaptation to it. Thus spiritual activity must be considered a function of cerebral activity and in general of the body. In the biological sciences a debate was underway cover priority between form and function. Von Uexkuell, in Umwelt und Innenwelt der Tiere (1921), described the functional circle in animals which connects adductor and effector organs, thus identifying the theoretical structure which was fundamental to enabling biological researchers to reconstruct foreign environments.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    F, p. 387.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    “Sage ich dagegen: ‘Ich nehme mein Ich wahr’, so haben die beiden ‘Iche’ wieder verschiedene Sinn”, F, p. 389.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cfr. our “Meraviglia e disincanto nel pensiero di Max Scheler”, in Interpretazione e Meraviglia, Atti del XIV Colloquio sull’InterpretazioneMacerata (Pisa: Giardini Editore, 1994), pp. 53-64.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    “So ist moderne Metaphysik nicht mehr Kosmologie und Gegenstandsmetaphysik, sondern Metaanthropologie und Aktmetaphysik. Leitende Einsicht ist dabei, dass der oberste Grund alles dessen, was gegenstandsfähig ist, selber nicht gegenstandsfähig ist, sondern nur reine vollziehbare Aktualität als Attribut des ewig sich selbst hervozbringenden Seins”, in M. Scheler, “Philosophische Weltanschauung”, in Späte Schriften, GW 9 (1995), p. 83. The text appeared for the first time in Münchener Neuesten Nachrichten, May 5, 1928, that is a few days before Scheler’s sudden death on MGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    “Alle gegenständliche Welt und ihre Seinsweisen sind nicht ein’ sein an sich’, sondern nur ein der gesamten geistigen und leiblichen Organisation des Menschen angemessener Gegenwurf und ‘Ausschnitt’ aus diesem Sein an sich. Erst vom Wesensbilden des Menschen aus, das die ‘philosophische Anthropologie’ erforscht, ist — als Rückverlangerung seiner urtümlich aus dem Zentrum des Menschen quellenden Akte des Geistes — ein Schluss zu ziehen auf die wahren Attribute des obersten Grundes aller Dingen”. Ibid., p. 82.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    M. Scheler, “Das Wesen der Philosophie und der moralischen Bedingung des philosophischen Erkennens”, in Vom Ewigen im Menschen, GW 5 (1954). In particular on page 68 Scheler defines the act of philosophizing as “liebesbestimmter Aktus der Teilnahme des Kernes endlichen Menschenperson am Wesenhaften aller möglichen Dinge”, again stating a few lines below that “Philosophie Erkenntnis ist”.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    F, pp. 262-264.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    F, p. 264.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    “Das Fühlen geht ursprünglich auf eine eigene Art von Gegenständen, eben die Werte”, p. 264.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    “‘Fühlen’ is also ein sinnvolles und darum auch der ‘Erfüllung’ und ‘Nichterfüllung’ fähiges Geschehen” (F, p. 263).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    “Ein ursprüngliches Sichbeziehen, Sichrichten des Fühlens auf ein Gegeständliches, auf Werte” (F, pp. 262-263).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    “Eine punktuelle … Bewegung, in der mir etwas gegeben wird und ‘zur Erschauung’ kommt” (F, p. 263).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    “Zielbestimmte Bewegung” (F, p. 263).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    F, pp. 55-56.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    “Die in den betreffenden Wertverhalten liegenden Wertqualitäten fordern von sich aus gewisse Qualitäten derartiger emotionaler ‘Antwortreaktionen’ — wie anderseits diese auch in ihnen in gewissem Sinne ‘ihr Ziel erreichen’ ” (F, p. 264).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    F, p. 264.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    “Im Vollzug des Fühlens wird uns das Fühlen nicht gegenständlich bewusst: Es tritt uns nur eine Wertqualität von aussen oder innen her ‘entgegen’ ” (F, p. 264).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    F, p. 83, note 2; in addition, M. Scheler, Wesen und Formen der Sympathie, GW 7 (1973), p. 41 and p. 68; ‘Das Wesen der Philosophie’, op. cit., p. 81 and ‘Probleme einer Soziologie des Wissens’, op. cit., p. 104.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    F, p. 387; in addition, M. Scheler, ‘Erkenntnis und Arbeit’ (henceforth cited EA), in GW 8, “Die Wissenformen und die Gesellschaft”, pp. 283–Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    F, p. 70.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    F, p. 265.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    F, p. 87 and p. 89.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    M. Scheler, “Probleme der Religion” (from now on: PR), in Vom Ewigen im Menschen, op. cit, p. 195.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    PR, p. 197.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    EA, p. 203.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    PR, p. 195.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    PR, p. 196.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
  32. 32.
    PR, p. 198.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
  34. 34.
    PR, pp. 200-201.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    EA, “Zusätze”, p. 448.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    M. Scheler, ‘Arbeit und Ethik’, in GW 1, “Frühe Schriften”, (1971), p. 168.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
  38. 38.
    Aristotle Nicomachian Ethics, VI, 1140b 6-7, in which he affirms: “In fact, the end of production (poiesis) is other than the production itself, while the end of action (praxis) is not: acting morally well is an end unto itself”.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    Published respectively in 1899 in Jena, by Vopelius (now in: Gesammelte Werke (GW), Vol. I, Frühe Schriften edited by Maria Scheler and M. Frings, Bern and Munich: Francke Verlag, 1971, pp. 9-161) and in 1900 in Leipzig, by Dürer (now in GW 1, op. cit., pp. 162-197).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf.: M. Scheler, Probleme einer Soziologie des Wissens, GW 8 (1960), p. 21.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In one of his first essays “Arbeit und Ethik”, which appeared in 1899 in Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik 114/2, pp. 161-200 (now in GW 1, op.cit., pp. 161-197), Scheler names Comte with his sociology, the English and Marx with their political economics along with Schmöller as those who dealt with these questions from the point of view of the empirical sciences, without being able to integrate their consideration with those of the philosophers, who, in this very field, had abandoned their task.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cf. the beginning of the work Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos (in GW 9 “Späte Schriften”, (1975), pp. 7-73), and for a review on the various types of anthropology Mensch und Geschichte, now in GW 9, pp. 120-144.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    With this alternative Max Scheler’s work opens, Erkenntnis und Arbeit now in GW 8 “Die Wissensformen und die Gesellschaft”(1960), p. 193 (henceforth cited as EuA).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    EuA, p. 212: “Die Handlungsweise ist für uns die ganze Bedeutung dieses Gedankens” and shortly before that Scheler, again recalling Peirce’s declarations, says: “Wir müssen die Handlungsweise bestimmen, die dieser Gedanke hervorzuführen geeignet ist.”Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    EuA, p. 212. Scheler quotes from a translation made in W. Jerusalem Der Pragmatismus (Leipzig: Philos. Soziolog. Bücherei, 1908), Vol. I, p. 29.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    EuA, p. 214.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    EuA, p. 200; p. 215.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    EuA, pp. 215-216.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    EuA, p. 219: “wird eine Art der Brauchbarkeit und Nutzlichkeit”.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    EuA, p. 220: “irgendeine Frage vorlegen”.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    EuA, p. 213.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Scheler here seems to reconnect with observations on the rationalistic reduction at work in Western thinking, something he himself stated in Formalismus when dealing with “Fühlen e Gefühle”, or that feeling and sentiment from which so-called “affective perception” springs, another of the novelties introduced by him in the field of reflection on perception.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    EuA, p. 211.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cf. the concluding sentence of EuA, on p. 382; “Die Zukunft aber besitz eine neue selbständige Erhebung des echt philosophischen und metaphysischen Geist.” See also the enigmatic essay, Der Mensch im Weltalter des Ausgleichs, published posthumously in: H. Lichtenberger, J. Shotwell, M. Scheler (eds.), Ausgleich als Schicksal und Aufgabe (Berlin: Rothschild Publisher, 1929), (now in “Der Mensch im Weltalter des Ausgleichs”, GW 9, pp. 145-171).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    EuA, p. 239.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    EuA, p. 240.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    M. Scheler, Versuche einer Philosophie des Lebens, GW 3, “Vom Umsturz der Werte” (1972).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    EuA, pp. 240-241.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    EuA, p. 241.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    EuA, pp. 205-208.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    EuA, p. 206.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cf.: Der Mensch im Weltalter des Ausgleichs, op.cit.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ibid., p. 315.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ibid., p. 465.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniela Verducci
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MacerataItaly

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