The Personalist Project

Comments (11)

Katie van Schaijik

#1, Dec 29, 2013 9:39am

You're forgetting von Hildebrand! 

He was part of the Göttingen circle around Husserl before Edith Stein.  He, too, converted to Catholicism, partly under the influence of Max Scheler. And, while he had to flee Hitler to the US, he survived the war, and continued to write philosophical and religious works until he died in the late 70's. So influential was he that Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that when the real history of the 20th century is finally told, Dietrich von Hildebrand would be recognized as "most prominent" among the great Catholic thinkers.

Pope John Paul II, too, called von Hildebrand "one of the great ethical thinkers of the 20th century."

Katie van Schaijik

#2, Dec 29, 2013 9:40am

Also, he was a great devotee of St. Augustine, and an admirer of Scotus and Bonaventure.

Sam Roeble

#3, Dec 30, 2013 9:11am

Thanks, I added him in there.  The main people I wanted to emphasize were Stein and Heidegger; in particular, their different responses to Husserl and Nazism (including the difference between Ratzinger and Heidegger).

Von Hildebrand was about 3 years ahead of Stein, and deserves his due.  But I couldn't find any evidence of his influence on Heidegger.  Nevertheless, you're right Katie, he should be foremost in the list of people who influenced Ratzinger. 

Sam Roeble

#4, Dec 30, 2013 10:00am

I also found this previous post by Travis to be helpful:

It clarifies, in English, more fully where Stein disagrees with Heidegger.  And, the article that Jules provided in the comments is very much in agreement with DePaulo's Being and Conversion, namely, the insertion of St. Augustine in interpreting the differences of understanding self-possession between Stein and Heidegger.

Sam Roeble

#5, Dec 30, 2013 1:45pm

It is ironic that Sartre and Heidegger come to the same conclusion, based on the article provided by Jules

1) Without an objective value/ transcendent Persons to give onself to, there is self-annihilation

2) Domination or 'the will to power' hastens this self-annihilation, even if the agent (Heidegger) sugar coats his philosphy with pantheism (identification of self with external reality)

3) Sartre's Being and Nothingness is just a 'next step' to Heidegger's Being and Time

Sam Roeble

#6, Dec 30, 2013 1:51pm

Here's the key passage that ties it all together:

"Heidegger's pursuit of radical authenticity, that is, the full
appropriation of one's being as one's own necessarily leads to
nihilism, a definitive loss of self. We have here a literally correct
though fundamentally perverted application of Christ's teaching
on the saving and loss of one's life. Heidegger is in effect saying
that one must literally loose his life in order to possess it. But
unlike Christ, by loss he does not mean self abandonment in
self-donation to another, he literally means self-annihilation." (Fedoryka)

Like Kant, Heidegger's philosophy seems harmless on the surface--but at the root he is like a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Devra Torres

#7, Dec 30, 2013 2:19pm

Samwise, thank you for writing this--it whet my appetite for more on Edith Stein and personalism, which was going to be the topic of the doctoral dissertation that I never ended up writing.

Just one quibble: I wouldn't say "While still a Jew," since acceptance of Christianity doesn't make one no longer Jewish.  

Sam Roeble

#8, Dec 30, 2013 2:46pm

ah, will do.

Go for it, I'm finding she is at the heart of a lot of uncovered 'gold' in the 'goldmine' of Catholic philosophy. 

Sam Roeble

#9, Dec 30, 2013 2:53pm

For instance, Stein disagrees with Descartes "Cogito Ergo Sum" and Husserl/Heidegger's "man's essence is existence".  IMO, she says these are reserved for God alone.  Rather, Stein argues that "man's essence is a specific way of existence or sphere of responsibility as either a man or a woman".  This is crucial to being a person. 

Again, I want to thank Travis for previously posting her "commentary on Being and Time"

Sam Roeble

#10, Dec 31, 2013 1:02pm

Archbishop Bergoglio follows a similar line of thought:

"La esencia del ser humano tiende a la unión del hombre y de la mujer como recíproca realización, atención y cuidado, y como el camino natural para la procreación" from his July 5th message to Argentine Bishops, 2010

Anne Costa

#11, Jan 2, 2014 12:42pm

Samwise, Dec. 30 at 3:46pm

ah, will do.

Go for it, I'm finding she is at the heart of a lot of uncovered 'gold' in the 'goldmine' of Catholic philosophy. 

 A treasure to be sure! With equal potential to influence the formation of women in our culture today. Thanks for your explanations here.

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