Selected Philosophical Essays [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 27 (1):158-158 (1973)
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The present collection of essays was designed by translator David Lachterman to provide the reader with a better understanding of Scheler’s major work, Formalism in Ethics and Non-formal Ethics of Values, which will also be published in translation by Northwestern University Press. Lachterman provides us with an illuminating preface which sketches the general character of Scheler’s thought, particularly its relationship to Husserl and Heidegger, and which discusses each of the five selections. Four of the five essays presented here are incomplete works, and three were never published in Scheler’s lifetime. The first, "The Idols of Self-Knowledge," is an attempt to differentiate psychical and physical phenomena and criticizes the way Brentano went about making this distinction. In "Ordo amoris" Scheler maintains with Augustine and Pascal, the priority of love over cognition. In "Phenomenology and the Theory Cognition," Scheler develops his own account of the phenomenological method. "The Theory of the Three Facts" represents Scheler’s views on the distinction between phenomenological, scientific and common sense "facts." The last essay is entitled "Idealism and Realism" and demonstrates "that it is a mistake to opt for either one of the parties to this conflict," and argues instead for a phenomenology of essences. The last section of this text, which was to be a confrontation of Scheler with the then recently published Being and Time, never appeared but is still awaiting publication in the critical edition of Scheler’s works. One welcomes Prof. Lachterman’s initiative in making available to the English reader these essays of one of the most significant figures in twentieth century German philosophy.—J. D. C.



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