Hedwig Conrad-martius' phenomenological approach to life sciences and the question of vitalism

Axiomathes 18 (4):503-514 (2008)
Abstract
The philosophy of Hedwig Conrad-Martius represents a very important intersection point between phenomenological research and the natural sciences in the twentieth century. She tried to open a common pattern from the ontology of the physical being up to anthropology, passing from the biological sciences. An intersection point that, for the particular features of her thought, is rather a perspective point from which to observe, in an interesting and original way, both natural sciences and phenomenology. The 1923 essay entitled Real Ontology (Conrad-Martius 1923) is the starting point for her reflections about science, but it is also the point that marks a separation from Husserl (for a detailed discussion, see: Ales Bello 2003, pp. 184–195), even if not from phenomenology. A fundamental question is faced: “why something instead of nothing?” or: “what is the reality?,” shifting the focus from essence to existence. Whichever the answer, a deeply realistic position must be assumed, based on the assumption of a clear distinction between the subject and the world, and the possibility of knowledge, intended as adaequatio of the subject’s intellectus to the external reality.
Keywords Phenomenology  Ontogenesis  Vitalism  Ontology
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