Max Scheler

Max Scheler

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Max Scheler was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 philosopher known for his work in phenomenology, ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, and philosophical anthropology
Philosophical anthropology
Philosophical anthropology is a discipline dealing with questions of metaphysics and phenomenology of the human person, and interpersonal relationships. It is the attempt to unify disparate ways of understanding behaviour of humans as both creatures of their social environments and creators of...

. Scheler developed further the philosophical method
Philosophical method
Philosophical method is the study of how to do philosophy. A common view among philosophers is that philosophy is distinguished by the methods that philosophers follow in addressing philosophical questions...

 of the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl
Edmund Husserl
Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a philosopher and mathematician and the founder of the 20th century philosophical school of phenomenology. He broke with the positivist orientation of the science and philosophy of his day, yet he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic...

, and was called by José Ortega y Gasset
José Ortega y Gasset
José Ortega y Gasset was a Spanish liberal philosopher and essayist working during the first half of the 20th century while Spain oscillated between monarchy, republicanism and dictatorship. He was, along with Nietzsche, a proponent of the idea of perspectivism.-Biography:José Ortega y Gasset was...

 "the first man of the philosophical paradise." After his demise in 1928, Heidegger affirmed, with Ortega y Gasset, that all philosophers of the century were indebted to Scheler and praised him as "the strongest philosophical force in modern Germany, nay, in contemporary Europe and in contemporary philosophy as such." In 1954, Karol Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

, defended his doctoral thesis on "An Evaluation of the Possibility of Constructing a Christian Ethics
Christian ethics
The first recorded meeting on the topic of Christian ethics, after Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Great Commandment, and Great Commission , was the Council of Jerusalem , which is seen by most Christians as agreement that the New Covenant either abrogated or set aside at least some of the Old...

 on the Basis of the System of Max Scheler."

From Munich to Cologne (1874-1919)

Max Scheler was born in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Germany, August 22, 1874, to a Lutheran father and an Orthodox Jewish mother. As an adolescent, he turned to Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, likely because of its conception of love, although he became increasingly non-committal around 1921. After 1921 he disassociated himself in public from Catholicism.

Scheler studied medicine in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, both philosophy and sociology under Wilhelm Dilthey
Wilhelm Dilthey
Wilhelm Dilthey was a German historian, psychologist, sociologist and hermeneutic philosopher, who held Hegel's Chair in Philosophy at the University of Berlin. As a polymathic philosopher, working in a modern research university, Dilthey's research interests revolved around questions of...

 and Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel was a major German sociologist, philosopher, and critic.Simmel was one of the first generation of German sociologists: his neo-Kantian approach laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?',...

 in 1895. He received his doctorate in 1897 and his associate professorship (habilitation thesis) in 1899 at the University of Jena, where his advisor was Rudolf Eucken, and where he became Privatdozent
Privatdozent or Private lecturer is a title conferred in some European university systems, especially in German-speaking countries, for someone who pursues an academic career and holds all formal qualifications to become a tenured university professor...

in 1901. Throughout his life, Scheler entertained a strong interest in the philosophy of American pragmatism (Eucken corresponded with William James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...


He taught at Jena from 1900 to 1906. From 1907 to 1910, he taught at the University of Munich, where his study of Edmund Husserl
Edmund Husserl
Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a philosopher and mathematician and the founder of the 20th century philosophical school of phenomenology. He broke with the positivist orientation of the science and philosophy of his day, yet he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic...

's phenomenology deepened. Scheler had first met Husserl at the Halle in 1902. At Munich, Husserl's own teacher Franz Brentano
Franz Brentano
Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Brentano was an influential German philosopher and psychologist whose influence was felt by other such luminaries as Sigmund Freud, Edmund Husserl, Kazimierz Twardowski and Alexius Meinong, who followed and adapted his views.-Life:Brentano was born at Marienberg am...

 was still lecturing, and Scheler joined the Phenomenological Circle in Munich, centred around M. Beck, Th. Conrad, J. Daubert, M. Geiger, Dietrich von Hildebrand
Dietrich von Hildebrand
Dietrich von Hildebrand was a German Catholic philosopher and theologian who was called by Pope Pius XII "the 20th Century Doctor of the Church."...

, Theodor Lipps
Theodor Lipps
Theodor Lipps was a German philosopher. Lipps was one of the most influential German university professors of his time, attracting many students from other countries. Lipps was very concerned with conceptions of art and the aesthetic, focusing much of his philosophy around such issues...

, and Alexander Pfänder
Alexander Pfänder
Alexander Pfänder was a German philosopher and phenomenologist. He was born in Iserlohn and spent his entire academic career in Munich, where he was a student of Theodor Lipps and one of the founding members of the Munich circle of phenomenologists...

. Scheler was never a student of Husserl's and overall, their relationship remained strained. Scheler, in later years, was rather critical of the "master's" Logical Investigations (1900/01) and Ideas I (1913), and he also was to harbour reservations about Being and Time
Being and Time
Being and Time is a book by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Although written quickly, and despite the fact that Heidegger never completed the project outlined in the introduction, it remains his most important work and has profoundly influenced 20th-century philosophy, particularly...

by Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

. Due to personal matters he was caught up in the conflict between the predominantly Catholic university and the local socialist media, which led to the loss of his Munich teaching position in 1910. From 1910 to 1911, Scheler briefly lectured at the Philosophical Society of Göttingen
Göttingen is a university town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Göttingen. The Leine river runs through the town. In 2006 the population was 129,686.-General information:...

, where he made and renewed acquaintances with Theodore Conrad, Hedwig Conrad-Martius
Hedwig Conrad-Martius
Hedwig Conrad-Martius was a German phenomenologist who became a Christian mystic.- Life and works :...

 (an ontologist and Conrad's wife), Moritz Geiger
Moritz Geiger
Moritz Geiger was a German philosopher and a disciple of Edmund Husserl. Beside phenomenology, he dedicated himself to psychology, epistemology and aesthetics.- Life :...

, Jean Hering, Roman Ingarden
Roman Ingarden
Roman Witold Ingarden was a Polish philosopher who worked in phenomenology, ontology and aesthetics.Before World War II, Ingarden published his works mainly in the German language...

, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Husserl, Alexandre Koyré
Alexandre Koyré
Alexandre Koyré , sometimes anglicised as Alexander Koiré, was a French philosopher of Russian origin who wrote on the history and philosophy of science.-Life:...

, and Adolf Reinach
Adolf Reinach
Adolf Bernhard Philipp Reinach , German philosopher, phenomenologist and law theorist.-Life and Works:...

. Edith Stein
Edith Stein
Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross, sometimes also known as Saint Edith Stein , was a German Roman Catholic philosopher and nun, regarded as a martyr and saint of the Roman Catholic Church...

 was one of his students, impressed by him "way beyond philosophy".. Thereafter, he moved to Berlin as an unattached writer and grew close to Walther Rathenau
Walther Rathenau
Walther Rathenau was a German Jewish industrialist, politician, writer, and statesman who served as Foreign Minister of Germany during the Weimar Republic...

 and Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart
Werner Sombart was a German economist and sociologist, the head of the “Youngest Historical School” and one of the leading Continental European social scientists during the first quarter of the 20th century....


Scheler has exercised a notable influence on Catholic circles to this day, including his student Stein and Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 who wrote his Habilitation and many articles on Scheler's philosophy. Along with other Munich phenomenologists such as Reinach, Pfänder and Geiger, he co-founded in 1912 the famous Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung, with Husserl as main editor.

While his first marriage had ended in divorce, Scheler married Märit Furtwängler in 1912, who was the sister of the noted conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler
Wilhelm Furtwängler
Wilhelm Furtwängler was a German conductor and composer. He is widely considered to have been one of the greatest symphonic and operatic conductors of the 20th century. By the 1930s he had built a reputation as one of the leading conductors in Europe, and he was the leading conductor who remained...

. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 (1914–1918), Scheler was initially drafted but later discharged because of astigmia of the eyes. He was passionately devoted to the defence of both war and Germany's cause during the conflict. His conversion to Catholicism dates to this period.

In 1919, he became professor of philosophy and sociology at the University of Cologne
University of Cologne
The University of Cologne is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with over 44,000 students, one of the largest universities in Germany. The university is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, an association of Germany's leading research universities...

. He stayed there until 1928. Early that year, he accepted a new position at the University of Frankfurt. He looked forward to meeting here Ernst Cassirer
Ernst Cassirer
Ernst Cassirer was a German philosopher. He was one of the major figures in the development of philosophical idealism in the first half of the 20th century...

, Karl Mannheim
Karl Mannheim
Karl Mannheim , or Károly Mannheim in the original writing of his name, was a Jewish Hungarian-born sociologist, influential in the first half of the 20th century and one of the founding fathers of classical sociology and a founder of the sociology of knowledge.-Life:Mannheim studied in Budapest,...

, Rudolph Otto and Richard Wilhelm
Richard Wilhelm
Richard Wilhelm was a German sinologist, as well as theologian and missionary. He is best remembered for his translations of philosophical works from Chinese into German that in turn have been translated into other major languages of the world, including English...

, sometimes referred to in his writings. In 1927 at a conference in Darmstadt
Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area.The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat...

, near Frankfurt, arranged by Hermann Keyserling, Scheler delivered a lengthy lecture, entitled 'Man's Particular Place' (Die Sonderstellung des Menschen), published later in much abbreviated form as Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos [literally: 'Man's Position in the Cosmos']. His well known oratorical style and delivery captivated his audience for about four hours.

Later life (1920-1928)

Toward the end of his life, many invitations were extended to him, among them those from China, India, Japan, Russia, and the United States. However, on the advice of his physician, he had to cancel reservations already made with Star Line.

At the time, Scheler increasingly focused on political development. He met the Russian emigrant-philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev
Nikolai Berdyaev
Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev was a Russian religious and political philosopher.-Early life and education:Berdyaev was born in Kiev into an aristocratic military family. He spent a solitary childhood at home, where his father's library allowed him to read widely...

 in Berlin in 1923. Scheler was the only scholar of rank of the then German intelligentsia who gave warning in public speeches delivered as early as 1927 of the dangers of the growing Nazi movement and Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

. 'Politics and Morals', 'The Idea of Eternal Peace and Pacifism' were subjects of talks he delivered in Berlin in 1927. His analyses of capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 revealed it to be a calculating, globally growing 'mind-set
In decision theory and general systems theory, a mindset is a set of assumptions, methods or notations held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices,...

', rather than an economic system. While economic capitalism may have had some roots in ascetic Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 (cf. Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

), its very mind-set, however, is argued by Scheler to have had its origin in modern, subconscious angst
Angst is an English, German, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch word for fear or anxiety . It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety or inner turmoil...

as expressed in increasing needs for financial and other securities, for protection and personal safeguards as well as for rational manageability of all entities. However, the subordination of the value of the individual person to this mind-set was sufficient reason for Max Scheler to denounce it and to outline and predict a whole new era of culture and values, which he called 'The World-Era of Adjustment'.

Scheler also advocated an international university to be set up in Switzerland and was at that time supportive of programs such as 'continuing education
Continuing education
Continuing education is an all-encompassing term within a broad spectrum of post-secondary learning activities and programs. The term is used mainly in the United States and Canada...

' and of what he seems to have been the first to call a 'United States of Europe
United States of Europe
Since the 1950s, European integration has seen the development of a supranational system of governance, as its institutions move further from the concept of simple intergovernmentalism. However, with the Maastricht Treaty of 1993, new intergovernmental elements have been introduced alongside the...

'. He deplored the gap existing in Germany between power and mind, a gap which he regarded as the very source of an impending dictatorship and the greatest obstacle to the establishment of German democracy. Five years after his death, the Nazi dictatorship (1933–1945) suppressed Scheler's work.

Love and the "Phenomenological Attitude"

When the editors of Geisteswissenschaften invited Scheler (about 1913/14) to write on the then developing philosophical method of phenomenology, Scheler indicated a reservation concerning the task because he could only report his own viewpoint on phenomenology and there was no "phenomenological school" defined by universally accepted theses. There was only a circle of philosophers bound by a "common bearing and attitude toward philosophical problems." Scheler never agreed with Husserl that phenomenology is a method in the strict sense, but rather "an attitude of spiritual seeing...something which otherwise remains hidden...." Calling phenomenology a method fails to take seriously the phenomenological domain of original experience: the givenness of phenomenological facts (essences or values as a priori) "before they have been fixed by logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

," and prior to assuming a set of criteria or symbols, as is the case in the empirical and human sciences as well as other (modern) philosophies which tailor their methods to those of the sciences.

Rather, that which is given in phenomenology "is given only in the seeing and experiencing act itself." The essences are never given to an 'outside' observer with no direct contact with the thing itself. Phenomenology is an engagement of phenomena, while simultaneously a waiting for its self-givenness; it is not a methodical procedure of observation as if its object is stationary. Thus, the particular attitude (Geisteshaltung, lit. "disposition of the spirit" or "spiritual posture") of the philosopher is crucial for the disclosure, or seeing, of phenomenological facts. This attitude is fundamentally a moral one, where the strength of philosophical inquiry rests upon the basis of love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

. Scheler describes the essence of philosophical thinking as "a love-determined movement of the inmost personal self of a finite being toward participation in the essential reality of all possibles."

The movement and act of love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

 is important for philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 for two reasons: (1) If philosophy, as Scheler describes it, hearkening back to the Platonic tradition, is a participation in a "primal essence of all essences" (Urwesen), it follows that for this participation to be achieved one must incorporate within oneself the content or essential characteristic of the primal essence. For Scheler, such a primal essence is most characterized according to love, thus the way to achieve the most direct and intimate participation is precisely to share in the movement of love. It is important to mention, however, that this primal essence is not an objectifiable entity whose possible correlate is knowledge; thus, even if philosophy is always concerned with knowing, as Scheler would concur, nevertheless, reason itself is not the proper participative faculty by which the greatest level of knowing is achieved. Only when reason and logic have behind them the movement of love and the proper moral preconditions can one achieve philosophical knowledge. (2) Love is likewise important insofar as its essence is the condition for the possibility of the givenness of value-objects and especially the givenness of an object in terms of its highest possible value. Love is the movement which "brings about the continuous emergence of ever-higher value in the object--just as if it was streaming out from the object of its own accord, without any sort of exertion...on the part of the lover. ...true love open our spiritual eyes to ever-higher values in the object loved." Hatred, on the other hand, is the closing off of oneself or closing ones eyes to the world of values. It is in the latter context that value-inversions or devaluations become prevalent, and are sometimes solidified as proper in societies. Furthermore, by calling love a movement, Scheler hopes to dispel the interpretation that love and hate are only reactions to felt values rather than the very ground for the possibility of value-givenness (or value-concealment). Scheler writes, "Love and hate are acts in which the value-realm accessible to the feelings of a either extended or narrowed." Love and hate are to be distinguished from sensible and even psychical feelings; they are, instead, characterized by an intentional function (one always loves or hates something) and therefore must belong to the same anthropological sphere as theoretical consciousness and the acts of willing and thinking. Scheler, therefore calls love and hate, "spiritual feelings," and are the basis for an "emotive a priori" insofar as values, through love, are given in the same manner as are essences, through cognition. In short, love is a value-cognition, and insofar as it is determinative of the way in which a philosopher approaches the world, it is also indicative of a phenomenological attitude.

Material Value-Ethics

A fundamental aspect of Scheler's phenomenology is the extension of the realm of the a priori to include not only formal propositions, but material ones as well. Kant's identification of the a priori with the formal was a "fundamental error" which is the basis of his ethical formalism. Furthermore, Kant erroneously identified the realm of the non-formal (material) with sensible or empirical content. The heart of Scheler's criticism of Kant is within his theory of values
Value theory
Value theory encompasses a range of approaches to understanding how, why and to what degree people should value things; whether the thing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. This investigation began in ancient philosophy, where it is called axiology or ethics. Early philosophical...

. Values are given a priori, and are "feelable" phenomena. The intentional feeling of love discloses values insofar as love opens a person evermore to beings-of-value (Wertsein).

Additionally, values are not formal realities; they do not exist somewhere apart from the world and their bearers, and they only exist with a value-bearer, as a value-being. They are, therefore, part of the realm of a material a priori. Nevertheless, values can vary with respect to their bearers without there ever occurring an alteration in the object as bearer. E.g., the value of a specific work of art or specific religious articles may vary according to differences of culture and religion. However, this variation of values with respect to their bearers by no means amounts to the relativity of values as such, but only with respect to the particular value-bearer. As such, the values of culture are always spiritual irrespective of the objects that may bear this value, and values of the holy still remain the highest values regardless of their bearers. According to Scheler, the disclosure of the value-being of an object precedes representation. The axiological
Axiology is the philosophical study of value. It is either the collective term for ethics and aesthetics—philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of value—or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethics...

 reality of values is given prior to knowing, but, upon being felt through value-feeling, can be known (as to their essential interconnections). Values and their corresponding disvalues are ranked according to their essential interconnections as follows:
  1. Values of the holy vs. disvalues of the unholy
  2. Values of the spirit (truth, beauty, vs. disvalues of their opposites)
  3. Values of life and the noble vs. disvalues of the vulgar
  4. Values of pleasure vs. disvalues of pain
  5. Values of utility vs. disvalues of the useless.

Further essential interconnections apply with respect to a value's (disvalue's) existence or non-existence:
  1. The existence of a positive value is itself a positive value.
  2. The existence of a negative value (disvalue) is itself a negative value.
  3. The non-existence of a positive value is itself a negative value.
  4. The non-existence of a negative value is itself a positive value.

And with respect to values of good and evil:
  1. Good is the value that is attached to the realization of a positive value in the sphere of willing.
  2. Evil is the value that is attached to the realization of a negative value in the sphere of willing.
  3. Good is the value that is attached to the realization of a higher value in the sphere of willing.
  4. Evil is the value that is attached to the realization of a lower value [at the expense of a higher one] in the sphere of willing.

Goodness, however, is not simply "attached" to an act of willing, but originates ultimately within the disposition (Gesinnung) or "basic moral tenor" of the acting person. Accordingly:
  1. The criterion of 'good' consists in the agreement of a value intended, in the realization, with the value preferred, or in its disagreement with the value rejected.
  2. The criterion of 'evil' consists in the disagreement of a value intended, in the realization, with the value preferred, or in its agreement with the value rejected.

One may note that most of the older ethical systems (Kantian formalism, theonomic ethics, nietzscheanism, hedonism, consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

, and platonism, for example) fall into axiological error by emphasizing one value-rank to the exclusion of the others. A novel aspect of Scheler's ethics is the importance of the "kairos" or call of the hour. Moral rules cannot guide the person to make ethical choices in difficult, existential life-choices. For Scheler, the very capacity to obey rules is rooted in the basic moral tenor of
the person.

A disorder "of the heart" occurs whenever a person prefers a value of a lower rank to a higher rank, or a disvalue to a value.

The term Wertsein or value-being is used by Scheler in many contexts, but his untimely death prevented him from working out an axiological ontology
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations...

. Another unique and controversial element of Scheler's axiology is the notion of the emotive a priori: values can only be felt, just as color can only be seen. Reason cannot think values; the mind can only
order categories of value after lived experience has happened. For Scheler, the person is the locus of value-experience, a timeless act-being that acts into time. Scheler's appropriation of a value-based metaphysics renders his phenomenology quite different from the phenomenology of consciousness (Husserl, Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

) or the existential analysis of the being-in-the-world of Dasein (Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

). Scheler's concept of the "lived body
Lived body
In phenomenology, the lived body is your own body as experienced by yourself, as yourself. Your own body manifests itself to you mainly as your possibilities of acting in the world. It is what lets you reach out and grab something, for instance, but it also, and more importantly, allows for the...

" was appropriated in the early work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Maurice Merleau-Ponty was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Karl Marx, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger in addition to being closely associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir...


Max Scheler extended the phenomenological method to include a reduction of the scientific method too, thus questioning the idea of Husserl that phenomenological philosophy should be pursued as a rigorous science. Natural and scientific attitudes (Einstellung) are both phenomenologically counterpositive and hence must be sublated in the advancement of the real phenomenological reduction which, in the eyes of Scheler, has more the shapes of an allround ascesis (Askese) rather than a mere logical procedure of suspending the existential judgments. The Wesenschau, according to Scheler, is an act of blowing up the Sosein limits of Sein A into the essential-ontological domain of Sein B, in short, an ontological participation of Sosenheiten, seeing the things as such (cf. the Buddhist concept of tathata
God in Buddhism
The refutation of the notion of a supreme God or a prime mover is seen by many as a key distinction between Buddhism and other religions. In Buddhism the sole aim of spiritual practice is the complete alleviation of stress in samsara, called nirvana...

, and the Christian theological quidditas).

Major works (English translations)

144 pages. (German title: Philosophische Weltanschauung.)
480 pages.
274 pages. ISBN 0-208-01401-2.
201 pages. ISBN 0-8052-0370-2.
359 pages. ISBN 0-8101-0379-6.
620 pages. ISBN 0-8101-0415-6. (Original German edition: Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, 1913-16.)
239 pages. ISBN 0-7100-0302-1.
201 pages. ISBN 90-247-3380-4.
267 pages. ISBN 0-226-73671-7.
79 pages. ISBN 978-0-8101-2529-2.

Secondary references

205 pages. ISBN 0-8387-5228-4.
221 pages. ISBN 0-8214-1108-X.
282 pages. ISBN 0-8091-1800-9.
223 pages.
118 pages.
176 pages.
324 pages. ISBN 0-87462-613-7. 2nd ed., 2001.
260 pages. ISBN 1402013337. 2nd ed., 2001.
203 pages. ISBN 0-8057-7707-5.
247 pages. ISBN 0-7923-4492-8.
213 pages. ISBN 0-8199-0852-5. (Original Dutch title: Max Scheler: De man en zijn werk)
130 pages.
188 pages. ISBN 0-88706-340-3.
327 pages. ISBN 0-8232-2178-4.
298 pages. ISBN 0-02-930770-8.

See also

  • Ressentiment
    Ressentiment , in philosophy and psychology, is a particular form of resentment or hostility. It is the French word for "resentment" . Ressentiment is a sense of hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one's frustration, that is, an assignment of blame for one's frustration...

  • Scheler's Stratification of Emotional Life
    Scheler's Stratification of Emotional Life
    Max Scheler was an early 20th century German Continental philosopher in the phenomenological tradition. Scheler's style of phenomenology has been described by some scholars as “applied phenomenology”: an appeal to facts or “things in themselves” as always furnishing a descriptive basis for...

  • Max Scheler's Concept of Ressentiment
    Max Scheler's Concept of Ressentiment
    Max Scheler was both the most respected and neglected of the major early 20th century German Continental philosophers in the phenomenological tradition. His observations and insights concerning "a special form of human hate" and related social and psychological phenomenon furnished a descriptive...

External links