Exemplary Persons and Ethics

Abstract
For Max Scheler, St. Francis represented perhaps the highest ideal of the moral life, an ideal he felt compelled to articulate throughout his philosophical work. In this paper, I examine the significance of the person of St. Francis for Scheler’s philosophy. I begin by developing Scheler’s notion of “exemplary person,” the idea that persons act as influences on moral life and thought. I then hypothesize that St. Francis functioned as an exemplary person for Scheler. Finally, I attempt to justify that hypothesis by examining Scheler’s discussion of Francis in Sympathy and by comparing Scheler’s philosophy to elements of the thought of Bonaventure and of Scotus. I conclude with a discussion of the significance of using exemplary persons for understanding the history of philosophy
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