Who is Max Ferdinand Scheler?June 26, 2021
Max Ferdinand Scheler (22 August 1874, Munich – 19 May 1928, Frankfurt) was a German philosopher. He is known for his work on phenomena, ethical and philosophical anthropology.
He developed the views of Edmund Husserl, who was the first to deal with phenomena. Later Pope II. Karol Wojtyla, who would become John Paul, adapted Max Scheler’s theory to Christian ethics in her doctoral thesis in 1954.
German phenomenologist, social philosopher, and information sociologist who advocated that “experience” should be handled with all its aspects, especially religious, personal, social, terminal and historical aspects, giving due importance to each one. Concentrating on the emotional underpinnings of thought that traditional philosophers have often ignored in almost all of his philosophy, Scheler was born in Munich, studied in Jena, and returned to Munich in 1907 with phenomenology, particularly the earlier Husserl phenomenology and practiced by the followers of Husserl’s Munich School. met with realistic phenomenology.
Scheler’s early works, which were greatly influenced by the life philosophies of Dilthey and Bergson, consisted of phenomenological studies that were preliminary to the value theory he would later create in the field of ethics. In these early works, Scheler focused on the description of the feelings of “sympathy” and “offence” and criticized the Kantian rationalism based on formalism. In addition, Scheler wrote essays during World War I as an ardent nationalist supporting the war, trying to justify why war was necessary with his philosophical criticisms of modern culture.
Later, although he moved to a much broader and more comprehensive society design, his criticisms of modernity constitute the constant subjects of his writings. One of the main targets of these criticisms is the naturalism and reasoned deduction of the philosophies of English-speaking countries. His conversion to Catholicism after the war allowed him to apply the phenomenological description method to religious phenomena and affects, and later on he applied this method mostly to the themes of anthropology and natural sciences. In his recent writings, Scheler focused more on the metaphysical philosophical problems that emerged with the rise of modern science. Although very deep insights are encountered in his thoughts, the fact that these insights are generally not organized in a systematic way and are not firmly grounded constitutes one of the most distinctive features of his philosophy.
Undoubtedly, the most important part of Scheler’s philosophy is his ethical teaching, which is based on value analysis, which aims to understand the hierarchy of objective values developed against Kant’s ethics a priori emotionally. Emphasizing that the ethics he developed is essentially “personalistic,” Scheler tries to make personal values superior in all respects by separating the “person” from the “me” in this context. Scheler, who adopted a more pragmatic approach in the field of information theory, applied this approach to the fields of science and perception, and defined philosophy as a discipline that investigates the vision of essences.
On the other hand, Scheler’s philosophy of religion can be viewed as an effort to reconcile the Augustinian understanding, which argues that God can be reached through love, and the Aquinasian understanding, which argues that God can be known through reason. As a matter of fact, it is observed that Scheler, who exhibits a dualistic approach, especially in his recent works, whose boundaries are drawn with philosophical anthropology and meraphysics, is in search of eliminating the traditional conflict between spiritual love and life impulse by concentrating on the concept of sympathy. The backbone of Scheler’s phenomenological method is the understanding of the objectivity of essences, which are a priori independent from the knower, although they have always been present in his life from the beginning. In this sense, according to Scheler, although values are objective, they are not essences in the Platonic sense. Their objectivity can be attained only in direct experience, in the sphere of emotions. For example, listening to beauty in music does not mean only hearing certain notes and certain sounds. Scheler makes a distinction here between ‘valuations’ or value perspectives and ‘values’. The former, valuations, are historically relative and may vary, while the latter, values, are independent and unchanging. Accordingly, there are four values, among which there is always a sharp hierarchy: “pleasure”, “vitality”, “spirit”, “religion”. There are various personalities that correspond to these values and who have the ability to discover these values, although they do not create them. They may be value discoverers or value revealers, as well as embodying previously revealed values in concrete form with their lives.