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Max Scheler And Emmanuel Lévinas

Max Scheler (1874–1928) was also a student of Husserl, but he, too, took phenomenology in a different direction, toward ethics (which had been ignored by both Husserl and Heidegger). Scheler was an intense man whose considerable contribution to philosophy was the introduction of emotion into the overly formal Kantian conception of ethics that still ruled the Continent. In Wesen und Formen der Sympathy ( 1913; English trans. The Nature of Sympathy, 1954), he resurrected moral sentiment theory and gave a central place in ethics to such emotions as love and hate. He argued that emotions have been understood by philosophers as merely "subjective" and argued a "cognitive" view, such that emotions could be construed as a source of knowledge. There is even, he argued, an emotional a priori, a universal and necessary status to the emotions that philosophers had neglected.

Scheler summed up the theme of the unfolding century between the wars in his book, Ressentiment (1961), in which he develops Nietzsche's accusation that modern morality is a "slave morality," a morality of resentment. But where Nietzsche blames Christianity, Scheler (a Catholic) exonerates his religion and shifts the blame instead to the bourgeoisie. Scheler's phenomenology, unlike Husserl's, was primarily concerned with value and, in particular, the source of values in feelings. What was becoming evident in phenomenology—and in European philosophy more generally—was a loosening up, a rejection of formality, an acceptance and an attempt to understand the less rational aspects of human existence. Worth mentioning here as well is Emmanuel Lévinas (1906–1995), who also elaborated a phenomenological ethics based on our felt relations with other people. "The face" is the focus of Lévinas's phenomenology. It is an interpersonal phenomenology rather than an Ego-or Dasein-based phenomenology, and interpersonal ethics, including love, plays a central role in it.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Pebi- to History of Philosophy - IndifferentismPhenomenology - Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Max Scheler And Emmanuel Lévinas, Jean-paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-ponty