Max Scheler

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Max Scheler

Max Ferdinand Scheler (born August 22, 1874 in Munich , † May 19, 1928 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German philosopher , anthropologist and sociologist .



Scheler was the son of a domain administrator and an Orthodox Jewish mother. He studied medicine , philosophy and psychology in Munich and Berlin in 1899 , and also sociology in Berlin (with Wilhelm Dilthey , Carl Stumpf and Georg Simmel, among others ) . In Jena he got to know Neo-Kantianism , which was represented there by Otto Liebmann , especially in the areas of ethics and epistemology , and received his doctorate in 1897 under Rudolf Eucken on the subject of contributions to the establishment of the relationships between logical and ethical principles . In 1899 he completed his habilitation in Jena on the subject of the transcendental and the psychological method . In the same year Scheler married Amelie Ottilie, b. Wollmann sch. Von Dewitz-Krebs (1868–1924).

Creative time

Scheler experienced the first moments of reorientation by reading Husserl's Logical Investigations in the years 1900 to 1901. Until 1905 he taught at the University of Jena as a private lecturer . Due to a scandal surrounding his affair with Helene Voigt-Diederichs , the wife of Eugen Diederichs , he had to give up his position in Jena.

During his rehabilitation with Theodor Lipps at the University of Munich in 1906 he made the acquaintance of the phenomenologists resident there ( Alexander Pfänder , Moritz Geiger , Johannes Daubert , Dietrich von Hildebrand ). In addition to Husserl, he was influenced by Immanuel Kant , Henri Bergson and Friedrich Nietzsche during this period . In 1909 he was embroiled in another scandal by his wife, the trial of “the dignity of a university professor”, so that in 1910 he had to give up his position as a lecturer in Munich as well. He went to Göttingen and Berlin and until the outbreak of the World War he regularly took up a freelance teaching activity in the Philosophical Society of Göttingen. From 1911 his fruitful creative period began with numerous publications, beginning with his main work on ethical personalism .

After his divorce in February 1912, he married Märit Furtwängler (1891–1971), daughter of the archaeologist Adolf Furtwängler and sister of Wilhelm Furtwängler, in December of the same year .

For health reasons he did not have to take part in World War I as a soldier. However, this did not prevent him from actively raving about the beginning of the war (including in coffee houses), like so many intellectuals at that time. In 1915, for example, in his work The Genius of War and the German War , he stated that the World War was a call for the spiritual rebirth of man and a disintegration of capitalism . The war as a total experience is one of these writings .

From 1916 to 1922 he worked regularly on the Catholic magazine Hochland . According to Henckmann (1998), his most important contribution there was the article Sociological Reorientation and the Task of German Catholics after the War , which was published in 1916. At Easter 1916 he was solemnly accepted into the Catholic Church in Beuron Monastery . He came to the opinion that Christian socialism or solidarism was suitable for post-war Europe in order to find a way between the capitalist west and the communist east. By dealing with the Platonic-Augustinian love in Catholicism , he developed cosmopolitan beliefs.

In 1917/18 he looked after German prisoners of war in the service of the Foreign Office in Switzerland and the Netherlands .

With the publication Vom Ewigen im Menschen ( Vom Ewigen im Menschen) , published in 1921, he initiated a spiritual and religious renewal movement in the Catholic tradition in the Weimar Republic , in which, however, he himself did not take part.

After his appointment as professor of philosophy and sociology at the University of Cologne in 1921/1922, which was supported by Cologne's Lord Mayor Konrad Adenauer , he publicly distanced himself from Catholicism. For example, at a memorial service for the 250th anniversary of Spinoza's death in early 1922, he gave a speech that showed that he had meanwhile turned to the New Spinozism of Goethe's time and the ideas of Nietzsche. The later psychiatrist Kurt Schneider was one of his doctoral students . As director of the Institute for Social Sciences, Scheler contributed to the development of a new sociology. In his teaching he linked two historical moments in the development of society and science in Europe: the new physics in the 17th century and the development of the capitalist economy .

When he married Maria Scheu (1892–1969) after another divorce in 1924, conservative Catholics judged him as a person with an unstable character who vacillated between instinctual and spiritual.

In 1925 he held lectures for the first time on the fundamentals of philosophical anthropology , in which, according to Heidegger's testimony , he sought to work out what is special about humans as “God's co-workers” beyond simple theism or a vague pantheism .

His confrontation with the crises of the 20th century led him to new ideas. In January 1927 he gave the lecture The Idea of ​​Peace and Pacifism to generals of the Reichswehr in the Reichswehr Ministry in Berlin and in February 1927 at the German School of Politics , which was published as a book from the estate in 1931. In it he raises four questions: Whether eternal peace is humanly possible, whether there is a “cultural evolutionary tendency” to realize the ideal of eternal peace, whether eternal peace is foreseeable in the present, e.g. B. on the basis of pacifist currents and whether there are institutions that could realize the ideal. He answers these questions as follows: fight is an anthropological constant , war is not. There are indeed signs of a cultural change from the “right of power” to the “power of law”. The pacifist currents, especially the “liberal-free-trade pacifism” of the time (1931), are not suitable for achieving the goal; free trade did not extinguish the motives for war. Western European “big capitalism”, not “humanity”, is also behind the League of Nations . So the peace conference in Washington in 1921 should only be seen as a prelude to further world wars. He also rejected Marxist efforts to achieve peace on the basis of revolutions . He saw the pacification of the world by a single great power as impossible.

Max Scheler - family grave in Cologne's south cemetery

On November 5, 1927, he gave a lecture on Man in the Age of Compromise at the German University of Politics in Berlin . With this compensation he wanted to "overcome the age-old tragic German contradiction between power and spirit" and defend the parliamentary democracy of the Weimar Republic against attacks from the right and left.

He also wanted to find a balance with the “panromantics” like Ludwig Klages , to build a bridge between the masculine and feminine, the western and eastern world, the Apollonian and Dionysian tendencies in the spirit of Nietzsche's idea. He took the view that without this spiritual bridging of the balance, a disastrous development would have to come about.

Shortly before his death, in early 1928 he published The Position of Man in the Cosmos , a late work that went back to a lecture in April 1927 that he had given at the conference Mensch und Erde in Darmstadt at the School of Wisdom of Count Hermann Keyserling . The ethnologist Leo Frobenius , the sinologist Richard Wilhelm and the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung also took part in this event .

Scheler is the father of the photographer Max Scheler . His grave is located in Cologne's southern cemetery (hall 18).


Material ethics of values

Scheler developed his ethics of values in connection with phenomenological beliefs of his time. Around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, some philosophers had begun - with Edmund Husserl as the source of ideas - to deal again with the ' objective ' and ' essence '. In this they clearly differed from the positivist , skeptical and science- oriented philosophers of the 19th century - such as B. Ludwig Feuerbach , Karl Marx and Ernst Mach . These held 'objectivity' and 'essence' - thematized in metaphysics as ' substance ' and ' being ' - as philosophical questions that cannot be answered, or can only be answered differently than usual. Husserl and other phenomenologists assumed that it was possible and necessary to provide convincing answers within the framework of philosophical traditions.

Her idea is' to let the 'thing itself' show up in its' essence 'through' sensitive looking and uncovering '. This possibility is denied by other philosophers. The basic phenomenological idea of ​​the 'essence view', which became known under the catchphrase “back to things”, runs through Scheler's material ethics of values.

In 1913 Scheler's work Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die Materiale Wertethik appeared . In this work he treads new paths beyond Husserl with ontological (concerning substance and being) and / or realistic tendencies. The experience of values ​​- also known as 'moral experience' - plays a central role in this.

Values ​​are ... as value phenomena ... real objects that are different from all emotional states; ... "

All good, so the tendency of Scheler's ethics of values, is based on the knowledge of the good, on the contemplation in oneself. In this contemplation and knowledge Socrates sees , according to Plato , moral salvation or the desirable virtue or efficiency of man. The knowledge of the good is the central concern of Plato's theory of ideas . By participating in ideas, people acquire knowledge for good behavior. For Scheler, the value phenomena that can be experienced intuitively have a similar character and function. They are spiritual objects that can be experienced, they are objective and they have an effect on action.

Values ​​are clearly tangible phenomena. The internally felt value evidence decides whether a value is correct . Means something like: Values ​​stand for themselves, they cannot be traced back to anything else. Just like the color yellow cannot be traced back to other colors.

A single act or a single person may be enough for us to grasp the essence of these values ​​in him. "

The empathic or intuitive experience gives values ​​their existential meaning. This intuitive experience is multi-layered or complex. Scheler describes them verbosely and in many ways. In doing so, he sets differences with which he differentiates his idea of ​​intuitive experience from other perspectives. For example, he denies the connection between intuitive experience and the experience of lust . He also sees no connection to inductive experience, abstraction through experience. On the other hand, it could be helpful to research the ethos of other times and peoples. In this way, the objective range of values ​​could be expanded and our culturally limited structures could be reflected by value experiences.

The moral arises from the experience of values, or in the 'personal sphere of the spiritual'. This leads to a clearly felt determination of values, from which good action spontaneously results: It is unintentional action. Acting well corresponds to the nature of the spiritually feeling person and happens autonomously . In Kant's ethics , on the other hand, the rational will determines moral decisions in a heteronomous way. This external determination excludes Scheler's assumption of feeling for value, or of acting out of 'moral experience'. With this he recorded important moments of the time and continued phenomenological philosophy. Research questions whether Scheler's criticism does justice to the Kantian ethics.

The intuitive experience of values ​​also shows a hierarchical system of further values. For humans, it sorts values ​​according to basic properties. These characteristics also structure the autonomy of moral action.

There are qualities that have their value in themselves, which he calls 'modalities of self-worth'. He arranges them under terms like

  1. 'Pleasant - unpleasant' as sensual values
  2. 'Noble - common' as worth living
  3. 'Right - wrong, beautiful - ugly, true - wrong' as properties of spiritual values ​​or as functions of spiritual feeling.
  4. 'sacred - profane' as values ​​for absolute objects.

These 'self-esteem modalities' correspond to 'subsequent values' (consecutive values). Their properties show up in reactions to other people, art, science, legislation as

  1. 'Please-displease',
  2. 'Approve - disapprove',
  3. 'Respect - disregard',
  4. 'Useful-harmful' '
  5. 'repay' and
  6. 'Sympathy'.

These values ​​are also arranged hierarchically. All properties ensure security and certainty when trading.

Scheler's “material ethics of values”, it is claimed in research, “ undoubtedly represents the main achievement of ethics in the 20th century ... ” and is comparable to perspectives that function as a guide in Asian cultures. The feeling of value, the intuitive value phenomena that Scheler describes as the basis of individual action, can be described in this way, analogous to Asian views on this topic. " ... we recognize that the phenomena are nothing other than the sight of one's own spiritual preoccupation, ... " These phenomena are also the basis of responsibility for one's own actions in the Buddhist self-image. Scheler wanted the exchange between Eastern and Western philosophies and theories of salvation as early as 1925.

Education, the image of man and the forms of knowledge

In the context of education and knowledge, Scheler addresses his ideas on 'Philosophical Anthropology'. In his preface to his work The Position of Man in the Cosmos , he speaks of a current, common task in which at his time - apart from the philosophers - biologists, physicians, psychologists and sociologists already participate. One is now ready to think about what the essence of man consists of in connection with the knowledge of individual sciences.

The question of the 'essence of man' philosophically thematizes the unchangeable constant in every person. Individual differences are neglected and human actions are measured against objective criteria.

Scheler places his answer in the series of traditional answers and combines them with the latest results from other sciences of his time. This way of working corresponds to the phenomenological idea of ​​researching the “lifeworld”.

I have therefore undertaken to give a new attempt at a philosophical anthropology on the broadest basis. "

The value of 'education' belongs to this 'broadest foundation'. In 1925 Scheler worked it out in The Forms of Knowledge and Education . He is tied to his image of man. If one only looks at man in a functionalist way , he appears to be a mistake in nature; at least it is extremely inefficient when it comes to the cost of self-preservation. Scheler turns against this scientific image of man as the only guiding principle for education. Man has spiritual needs, he has “spirit” and “reason” that cannot be scientifically grasped. Anyone who sees “spirit” and “reason” only as a “complicated by-product of the urge to live” will not be able to understand his idea and the value of “education”. Scheler formulates the word 'education' "wants to set a self-worth".

He explains his idea of ​​humans by referring to the newly discovered abilities of animals. Such as B. technical intelligence, the ability to make sensible choices, tool use, tool manufacture, altruistic actions and the like. a .:

It is the great, also philosophical, value that the young and vigorous advancing animal psychology possesses that it has shown us how much people used to be inclined to underestimate the psychological abilities of animals. "

The latter had previously only been awarded to humans. Scheler characterizes this as a fundamental misjudgment of philosophical research on anthropology.

On the other hand, Scheler thinks it is correct that people are more than their skills and abilities. In contrast to animals, it has areas or 'spheres' with their own meaningful internal structure. In these 'spheres' man can perform “acts of an autonomous legality” that cannot be understood with the fundamental laws of physiology. Scheler counts to the "acts of autonomous legality" z. B. the following: Man is able through reflection to prefer the maintenance and realization of a spiritual value (honor, dignity, salvation, conviction) even to the highest value of life, the preservation of one's own existence. An animal does not have the ability to choose between values ​​or to prefer one value to the other.

The human mind is essentially characterized by the following characteristics that distinguish it from animals: People are guided by cultural values. They are capable of desireless love and are independent of their instincts. People can gain insights into the nature of things and find generally applicable values. Animals “live exclusively in their environment”, but humans reach “beyond all possible milieu of life”.

In order to realize this reaching, transcending , man is dependent on education. Through education, the individual can grow beyond himself. In this way he realizes his own being or his divine nature. Incarnation and the becoming of the Godhead are inextricably linked. This connection shapes the world process. In his concept of cosmology , man is a “microcosm” that depicts the “macrocosm” (the universe) in itself. Through education, he receives knowledge of the deity and insights into the nature of the interaction with her. In return, the deity is able to “know and grasp itself, understand and redeem itself”. Thus, through the “value of education”, the incarnation receives a cosmological dimension that surpasses everything individual; it is “the meaning of the earth, yes of the world itself”.

" ... all training" for something "is there for the most extreme" purposes "lacking education - for well-formed people themselves. "

In spite of everything, Scheler does not advocate “ dandyism ”, as he puts it: Man should not become a work of art. Education is not “wanting to make yourself a work of art”, but rather to be kept free from all wanting. In education people should “lose themselves” in order to win themselves. You can do this by letting yourself be captured by a role model. The role models that become effective in this way can be of different types. Because there is not the only humanity that applies to all people.

In this sense, Scheler describes three main types of forms of knowledge:

  1. the achievement and mastery knowledge of the positive sciences to achieve practical goals
  2. the educational knowledge of philosophy to shape the personality
  3. the redemption and salvation knowledge of religions as a loving participation in the process of being itself.

Each of these forms of knowledge is characterized by specific motivation, cognitive goals, cognitive acts, exemplary personality types, social groups involved in acquiring and disseminating knowledge, as well as historical forms of movement. These correspond to the value modalities 1) vital values ​​2) spiritual values ​​3) holiness values. Scheler considers all three values ​​to be necessary. The one-sided orientation of Western culture on achievement knowledge endangers these values. The Asian cultures, on the other hand, have a huge lead in the areas of philosophical education and knowledge of salvation. In order to remedy the one-sidedness, Scheler pleads for a cultural exchange. The greatest value in this exchange is the knowledge of redemption. The knowledge of redemption alone is purposeless and thus serves the incarnation. Performance and socially relevant knowledge are ultimately at its service. Therefore, humanistic educational knowledge cannot be the ultimate goal.

Philosophical anthropology

Scheler was more concerned with anthropology than any other philosophical subject. In 1928 he published for his 'Philosophical Anthropology' a breakdown of the areas that he wanted to take into account:

  • a typology of human self-awareness,
  • Essential ontology of human beings,
  • comparative representation of humans and animals,
  • a doctrine of the timing of human life,
  • a doctrine of the origin of man,
  • a philosophy of man from a social and historical point of view,
  • the future of man,
  • a comparison between different anthropologies based on essence ontology
  • and the relationship between man and the world.

He had previously announced that he would publish a basic and comprehensive 'Philosophical Anthropology'. After his death, it was found that he had not started writing them. He left lectures and statements on topics of his anthropology in other publications. The most extensive lecture was 'Man's position in the cosmos', which is available as a book. In this book he gives a 'short, very concise summary of some of the main points of his' Philosophical Anthropology'.

One of these main points is 'the essence of man'. For the phenomenologist and metaphysician Scheler, this essence results from the development of organic life and the activities of the spirit. This synopsis ultimately led to Scheler's teaching that humans should be viewed both as a biopsychic living being and as a 'carrier of the spirit'. Contemporaries like the phenomenologist Helmuth Plessner defined humans exclusively in terms of the organic and the historical. Scheler also sees people rooted in a 'world ground'. That is the subject of the metaphysical side of his anthropology. The empirical sciences have their own access to anthropology. Metaphysics must take into account the empirical results.

The essence of life

Scheler first determines the human form of life by comparing humans with animals. He explains his picture of the living being in an organic step model. Here he names four organic stages in the development of biological and psychological forms of life. He assigns a psychological level to each biological level, which he calls 'levels from the inside of life'. All stages of development, which Scheler referred to as 'layers' following the metaphysician Nicolai Hartmann , build on each other hierarchically. The categories of a lower stratum are transformed in the higher. You will be enriched with something new. Scheler characterizes each layer by a certain principle.

1. The layer of the emotional urge: Scheler gives it the properties 'dark', 'undifferentiated' and 'ecstatic' and names it as the drive for everything that animals and people perceive, perceive and imagine. He compares the functioning of the urge to feeling in humans with the autonomous functioning of the autonomic nervous system. Even in the case of plants, one can speak of the need for feeling that is shown in growth. In animals and humans, the instinctual life is an expression of the urge to feel. Scheler comprehensively understands the human urge to feel as the “power potential of subjectivity”.

2nd layer of instinct: This layer is a first differentiation of the urge to feel and its properties. Scheler defines ' instinct ' through various behaviors . In this way he avoids having to commit to a generally binding meaning. He does the same with the other layers. He deduces from the different behaviors: Certain stimuli (birth of a chick) trigger an invariably identical process ( breeding behavior ). Instinctive behavior is determined and therefore a primitive form of being . Remnants of instincts such as the “ child schema ” can be observed in humans .

3rd layer of associative memory: Just as instinct expands the 'dark emotional urge', so the layer of associative memory expands that of instinct. Scheler understands 'associative memory' as a 'repetitive instinct' that shows itself as 'imitate' and 'copy' in behavior. This repetitive instinct or the 'associative principle' is a 'conservative principle'. It makes available to the individual only the possibilities of action of the tradition of his kind. Living beings of this level have associative control over what they perceive and what they remember. For Scheler, perceiving and remembering one's own behavior and those of others are the psychological conditions of traditional action; they are the 'inside of life' at this stage of development. The organic individual gradually detaches itself from being bound by species , from the rigidity of instinct and from drives , feelings and affects . It can now adapt to non-species-typical situations, e.g. B. in sexual behavior. It can be stated that the sexual impulse serves exclusively for reproduction as long as it is embedded in periods of heat . “Detached from the 'instinctive rhythm', it becomes more and more an independent source of pleasure” - and can “even in higher animals… far outgrow the biological meaning of its existence (e.g. masturbation in monkeys, dogs)”.

4th layer of practical intelligence: This layer 'corrects' the associative principle. In principle, it is still 'organically bound' and is supplemented by further, also organically bound skills. Living beings with practical intelligence can choose between 'goods'. This is shown e.g. B. as selection of sexual partners (beginnings of eros ). Behavior that could be considered an expression of practical intelligence is a sudden event in which a living being solves a task of its own accord for the first time that satisfies its needs . Scheler defines the psychological side of this behavior “as an insight into a state of affairs ( according to its existence and coincidental nature ) on the basis of a relationship structure ”. It is a matter of 'productive thinking', which always includes “the anticipation , the pre-existence of a new and never experienced fact (pro-videntia, prudentia, cleverness, cunning, cunning)…” Scheler also counts people's technical thinking in this productive way of thinking . "There is only one (albeit large) difference of degree between a clever chimpanzee and Edison , who is only seen as a technician."

Animals also reach this level, adds Scheler, contradicting many contemporaries. The experiments of the psychologist Wolfgang Köhler "... clearly show, in my opinion, that the performance of animals cannot all be derived from instincts and associated associative processes (memory components of existing conceptual connections), that in some cases there are real intelligence actions."

The following roughly happens with such intelligence acts on the psychic side of life:

By the instinctual goal, e.g. B. a fruit, the animals optically light up and stand out sharply against the optical environmental field and become independent, all the conditions that the animal's environment contains are transformed in a peculiar way ... It (the animal) receives such a relatively 'abstract' Relief that (other) things ... receive the abstract dynamic reference character 'thing for fruit-picking'; ... It is the instinctual dynamics in the animal itself that begins to become more objective and to expand into the surrounding components. "

The other thing in question (e.g. a stick) that the animal uses to get possession of the fruit is given the temporary dynamic functional value "... of a 'something to bring the fruit closer" "(tool presentation). From the animal's point of view, this something seems to be directed towards the goal (the fruit) or to move towards it. The animal can therefore intervene in its instinctual structure in the implementation of practical intelligence in order to achieve advantages. This concludes the bio-psychological sequence of stages, as science has shown, notes Scheler. The objective and phenomenal properties of living beings such as self-movement, self-formation, self-differentiation, self-limitation are shown.

The essence of the mind

Scheler counters these bio-psychic layers with the completely different principle of the mind . Through the spirit man is completely 'removed' from the context of nature . The principle of the mind ...

“... stands outside of everything that we can call 'life' in the broadest sense: That which alone makes people 'people' is not a new stage in life ... but it is all and every life in general , also a principle opposite to life in man, a real new fact of being, which as such cannot at all be traced back to the 'natural evolution of life', but, ... only falls back on the supreme one ground of things themselves ... whose one great manifestation is the ' Life is."

According to Scheler, people are therefore “environmentally free” and “ cosmopolitan ” and capable of “perfect objectivity”. His relationship to the world and to himself is 'opposite' to that of the animal. Humans can distance themselves from the world, reflect on themselves and make the world an object for themselves because they are 'carriers of the spirit'. The 'spirit' defines the 'special position of man', is the pointed statement of Scheler's philosophical anthropology.

Man realizes and transcends the layers of the organic and psychic life principles and finally becomes a representative of the 'sphere' of the spirit. This sphere manifests itself in the ' person in man'. It is the 'ontic (its) center', its spatiotemporal unit and its individual '. But this center, Scheler continues, cannot be made the 'object of his knowledge'. The person is only when he thinks: his being consists exclusively in the 'free execution of his (thought) acts'.

We can only concentrate on the being of our person, concentrate on it - but not objectify it. "

It is and remains an unknown quantity of man, it is 'his X'. Scheler claims that this unknown quantity is 'in the highest ground of being itself'. He assumes this ground of being because there would be an 'unbreakable essential connection between act and idea'.

Together with the acts of that 'spiritual ground of being', people with their acts of thought contribute to a spiritual order of being that is objective and goal-oriented. This spiritual or thinking cooperation is embedded in the interaction of biophysical life and spirit. The spirit permeates life with ideas that give life its meaning. Life, on the other hand, first enables the spirit and gives it an activity in order to realize it in life.

As essentially different as 'life' and 'spirit' are, both principles are dependent on each other in man: the spirit ideas life - but the spirit from its simplest act of excitation to the performance of a work to which we ascribe spiritual meaning in Life alone is capable of setting and realizing activity. "

With ideieren Scheler called the collection of essential textures and constitutions of the world. This corresponds to his interpretation of Husserl's ' phenomenological view of essence ' . The vision of the essence and the activity of the unit physis (body) and psyche ( soul ) complement each other. The tripartite division of the human being and the cosmos into body, soul and spirit is an almost two thousand year old Neoplatonic or Christian - metaphysical division of Plotinus and Augustine . The separation of body and mind is reflected in the modern dualism of body and mind-soul z. B. continued with Descartes . Scheler rejects both types of separation. The new separation or the new dualism that he thinks he is encountering is that between spirit and life.

Scheler also distances himself from anthropological ideas which, from his point of view, overlook the essence of life in its peculiarity and autonomy. For him , this includes sensualistic , positivistic and scientific philosophers from antiquity to the present day, such as Epicurus , Lucretius , La Mettrie , Hume , Mach . He also rejects vitalistic concepts. The 'principle of life' for the overall conception of human beings is 'far overestimated' by vitalists, he says. He counts among its representatives, for example: Charles Sanders Peirce , William James , John Dewey , Friedrich Nietzsche .

Reviews of Philosophical Anthropology

The publications of Scheler's “The Position of Man in the Cosmos” and Plessner's “The Steps of the Organic” are considered a breakthrough to what has since become known as “Philosophical Anthropology”.

Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger state that Scheler did not succeed in a new draft of philosophical anthropology. According to Cassirer, Scheler sticks to Descartes' dualism. He also inherits the problems characteristic of Cartesianism . Heidegger claims that Scheler is actually only repeating the traditional addition model of humans as a 'reasonable living being'. Ontologically, without reflection, he equates people with 'living beings plus reason'.

From a theological point of view, Scheler's attempt to combine his new anthropology with metaphysical views of the world ground remains important. “This reason is bipolar; he combines the self-assertion of the urge to live with the orientation of the spirit to beings. So z. B. determine and limit the technical achievements of humans based on their global mission. "

From a metaphysical point of view, some have suggested that the unity that Scheler envisioned with his anthropology can no longer be achieved today. The Tübingen philosopher Walter Schulz assumes that the question of human nature is no longer a philosophical project. Today the (natural) sciences have the floor. Scheler also described this drifting apart of metaphysics and empiricism: “Man is such a broad, colorful, diverse thing that the definitions are all a little too short. It has too many endings. "


In Munich , Cologne, Leverkusen and Solingen there is a Max-Scheler- or Schelerstraße, in Dortmund-Scharnhorst the Schelerweg was named after him



  • On the phenomenology and theory of feelings of sympathy and of love and hate , 1913
  • The Genius of War and the German War , 1915
  • The formalism in ethics and the material ethics of values , 1913–1916
  • War and Construction , 1916
  • The causes of German hatred , 1917
  • The overthrow of values , 1919
  • New attempt to lay the foundations for an ethical personalism , 1921
  • On the Eternal in Man , 1921
  • Problems of religion. For religious renewal , 1921
  • Essence and Forms of Sympathy , 1923 (reissued as the title from 1913: On phenomenology ...)
  • Writings on sociology and ideology , 3 volumes, 1923/1924
  • The forms of knowledge and society , 1926
  • Man in the Age of Compromise , 1927
  • The position of man in the cosmos , 1928
    • Knowledge and work. A study of the value and limits of the pragmatic motive in the knowledge of the world.
  • Philosophical worldview , 1929
  • Logic I. (fragment, proof sheets). Amsterdam 1975, ISBN 90-6203-229-X .


Secondary literature

Philosophy bibliography : Max Scheler - Additional references on the topic

A collection of secondary literature from the year 2000 can be found on the Max Scheler Society homepage (see web links ).

  • Ralf Becker , Christian Bermes , Heinz Leonardy (eds.): The formation of society. Scheler's social philosophy in context. Königshausen & Neumann Verlag, Würzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8260-3551-7 .
  • Christian Bermes, Wolfhart Henckmann, Heinz Leonardy (eds.): Solidarity. Person and social world. Königshausen & Neumann Verlag, Würzburg 2005, ISBN 3-8260-3303-5 .
  • Christian Bermes, Wolfhart Henckmann, Heinz Leonardy (eds.): Reason and feeling. Scheler's phenomenology of emotional life. Königshausen & Neumann Verlag, Würzburg 2003, ISBN 3-8260-2486-9 .
  • Christian Bermes, Wolfhart Henckmann, Heinz Leonardy (eds.): Person and value. Scheler's “Formalism” - Perspectives and Effects. (Philosophical Contexts), K. Alber Verlag, Freiburg i.Br. 2000, ISBN 3-495-47970-8 .
  • Christian Bermes, Wolfhart Henckmann, Heinz Leonardy (eds.): Thinking of the origin - origin of thinking. Scheler's philosophy and its beginnings in Jena. Königshausen & Neumann Verlag, Würzburg 1998, ISBN 3-8260-1537-1 . (Critical Yearbook of Philosophy, Vol. 3)
  • Guido Cusinato: Person and Self-Transcendence: Ecstasy and Epoché of the Ego as Individuation Processes in Schelling and Scheler , Königshausen & Neumann Verlag, Würzburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-8260-4945-3
  • Quick, Kurt . Spiritual mobilization: the German intellectuals and the First World War; an attempt (Berlin, Alexander Fest Verlag, 2000)
  • Konrad Fuchs:  SCHELER, Max Ferdinand. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 9, Bautz, Herzberg 1995, ISBN 3-88309-058-1 , Sp. 75-77.
  • Paul Good: Max Scheler. An introduction. Parerga Verlag, Düsseldorf u. a. 1998, ISBN 3-930450-34-8 .
  • Hans H. Groothoff: Max Scheler: Philosophical anthropology and pedagogy between the world wars. A study. Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-8300-0860-0 . (Series of publications upbringing - education - teaching, vol. 103)
  • Wolfhart Henckmann:  Scheler, Max Ferdinand. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , pp. 644-646 ( digitized version ).
  • Wolfhart Henckmann: Max Scheler. Beck Verlag, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-41943-7 . (Beck'sche series, vol. 543; thinker)
  • Peter Hoeres: The war of the philosophers. German and British Philosophy in World War I , 2004, ISBN 978-3-506-71731-3 .
  • Wilhelm Mader: Max Scheler. In self-testimonials and picture documents. 2nd Edition. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek near Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-499-50290-9 . (Rowohlt's monographs, vol. 290)
  • Jan H. Nota: Max Scheler. Man and his philosophy. Börsig Verlag, Fridingen a. D. 1995, ISBN 3-9802256-4-X .
  • Ernst W. Orth, Gerhard Pfafferott (ed.), Studies on the philosophy of Max Scheler. K. Alber Verlag, Freiburg i.Br. 1994, ISBN 3-495-47798-5 . (Phenomenological Research, Vol. 28/29)
  • Gerhard Pfafferott (Ed.): On the overthrow of values ​​in modern society. II. International Colloquium of the Max Scheler Society . Bouvier Verlag, Bonn 1997, ISBN 3-416-02621-7 .
  • Gérard Raulet (ed.), Max Scheler. L'anthropologie philosophique en Allemagne dans l'entre-deux-guerres - Philosophical anthropology in the interwar period. Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, Paris 2001, ISBN 2-7351-0937-2 .
  • Angelika Sander: Max Scheler for an introduction. Junius Verlag, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-88506-338-7 . (Introduction, Vol. 238)

See also

Web links

Commons : Max Scheler  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Max Scheler  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i Wolfhart Henckmann : Max Scheler. Beck , Munich 1998, p. 253.
  2. Meike Werner: Modernism in the Province: Cultural Experiments in Fin-de-Siècle-Jena . Wallstein , Göttingen 2003, pp. 110-111.
  3. Flasch, Kurt., The spiritual mobilization: the German intellectuals and the First World War; an attempt , (Berlin, Alexander Fest Verlag, 2000), p. 103 ev
  4. a b c Henckmann 1998, p. 254.
  5. Wolfhart Henckmann:  Scheler, Max Ferdinand. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , pp. 644-646 ( digitized version ).
  6. Volker Roelcke : Schneider, Kurt. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1304.
  7. Martin Heidegger: In memoriam Max Scheler, in: Metaphysical Beginnings of Logic in the Exit of Leibniz (Complete Edition Volume 26), Frankfurt / Main 1978, p. 62 ff.
  8. Term “Eternal Peace” alluding to Kant's book On Eternal Peace
  9. The Idea of ​​Peace and Pacifism. Berlin 1931, p. 51.
  10. For example by Hans Blumenberg with the words: “... this view ... is not available at all. It was Husserl's platonizing illusion that there is a conception of essence as a property that establishes ownership and is based on it again and again. " Manfred Sommer, Hans Blumenberg: To things and back. Frankfurt a. M. 2002 (Tb), p. 9.
  11. See Johannes Hirschberger: History of Philosophy , Vol. II. Frechen n.d., p. 593 f.
  12. For the following presentation, see especially Max Scheler: The formalism in ethics and the material ethics of values . Reprint from: "Yearbook for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research", Vol. I and II, edited by EDMUND HUSSERL, Freiburg i. Br., Halle ad Saale, 1916, pp. 1-19., accessed August 19, 2016
  13. The formalism in ethics and the material ethics of values , p. 14
  14. The formalism in ethics and the material ethics of values , p. 65 u. 350.
  15. "Plato knew this when he linked the vision of ideas to a turning away of the soul from the sensual content of things and to the soul turning into itself in order to find the" origins "of things here." Scheler: The position of People in the cosmos. Chapter 7, in the Gutenberg project, accessed on August 19, 2016 - For further similarities in Plato and Scheler cf. Guido Cusinato: Eros and Agape at Scheler. In: Christian Bermes, Wolfhart Henckmann, Heinz Leonardy (eds.): Reason and feeling: Scheler's phenomenology of emotional life. Würzburg 2003, pp. 93-108. Google Book, accessed August 19, 2006
  16. See Henckmann, Wolfhart: Max Scheler. Munich 1998, p. 103.
  17. The formalism in ethics and the material ethics of values , p. 9.
  18. See pages 255, 279, etc. 315 in The Formalism in Ethics and the Material Ethics of Values .
  19. ^ Cf. Johann-Christian Põder: Evidenz des Ethischen: die Fundamentalethik Knud E. Løgstrup. Tübingen 2011, p. 150 f. Google book. Accessed on August 18, 2016. - Cf. Rupert Grill: Pioneer of a renewed moral theology: impulses from German moral theology between 1900 and the Second Vatican Council. Freiburg / Vienna 2008, p. 138
  20. Jörg U. Noller: Scheler's criticism of the Kantian moral theory in the context of material ethics of values. In: XXII. German Congress for Philosophy, September 11-15, 2011, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich .
  21. Cf. Max Scheler: The formalism in ethics and the material ethics of values , pp. 101-109. - In addition, the work of Gerhard Schweppenhäuser: The Antinomy of Universalism: on the moral-philosophical discourse of modernity . Würzburg 2005, pp. 63-69.
  22. Liangkang Ni: On the Cause of Consciousness: Phenomenology - Buddhism - Confucianism. Würzburg 2010, p. 8 u. 162. Google Book, accessed August 18, 2016
  23. Scheler: Forms of Knowledge and Education . In: Max Scheler: Late writings . Bern 1976, p. 115.
  24. The different philosophical views on this can be read in Eisler's "Dictionary of Philosophical Terms" . Essence
  25. Man's position in the cosmos. 1927. Chapter 4. Gutenberg
  26. The forms of knowledge and education. In: Max Scheler: Late writings. Bern 1976, p. 99.
  27. This does not apply to every philosopher. B. Hume argued that animals, like humans, learn through experience and repetition of activities. Hume: Inquiry into the human mind. Leibniz suspected that animals can remember and imagine something. Kirchner / Michaelis: Dictionary of Philosophical Terms. - E. von Hartmann claimed that animals have a physiological will. Cf. Eduard von Hartmann : Philosophy of the Unconscious. Volume 1, Leipzig 10 [o. J.], pp. 49-62.
  28. The forms of knowledge and education. In: Max Scheler: Late writings. Bern 1976, p. 99 f.
  29. See The Forms of Knowledge and Education. In: Max Scheler: Late writings. Bern 1976, p. 100.
  30. The forms of knowledge and education. P. 103 "
  31. Wolfhart Henckmann: Max Scheler, p. 188.
  32. The forms of knowledge and education. In: Max Scheler: Late writings. Bern 1976, p. 115.
  33. This publication is available in the Gutenberg project. Accessed September 4, 2016.
  34. See Henckmann, Max Scheler , pp. 191–194.
  35. See Helmuth Plessner: The stages of the organic and the human. Berlin-New York (de Gruyter) 1975 [1928].
  36. See Henckmann, Max Scheler , p. 49.
  37. This suggestion by Nicolai Hartmann is significant for 'Philosophical Anthropology'. See Joachim Fischer's basic presentation in Information Philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology
  38. Cf. Walter Schulz : Philosophy in the changed world . Stuttgart 2001, 7th edition, p. 423.
  39. Quoted by Friedrich Rapp (ed.) Technology and Philosophy. Düsseldorf 1990, p. 83.
  40. Man's position in the cosmos, Chapter 5.
  41. Scheler refers here to an experiment by Koehler with chimpanzees. In this experiment monkeys got hold of a fruit with the help of boxes and sticks. Cf. Walter Schulz: Philosophy in the changed world. Stuttgart 2001, 7th edition, p. 425. Google book. Accessed September 3, 2016.
  42. For the whole section cf. The position of man in the cosmos , chapter 5.
  43. Man's position in the cosmos , Chapter 6.
  44. Man's position in the cosmos , Chapter 6.
  45. See the section on man's position in the cosmos , Chapter 6.
  46. Man's position in the cosmos , Chapter 9.
  47. See Man's Position in the Cosmos , Chapter 9.
  48. See Information Philosophy: Joachim Fischer's basic presentation of philosophical anthropology.
  49. cf. Matthias Wunsch: On the standard criticism of Max Scheler's anthropology and its limits. A plea for Nicolai Hartmann's theory of categories. XXII. German Congress for Philosophy, September 11-15, 2011, Munich 2011, p. 2 f. PDF of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
  50. ^ Otto Pöggeler: Max Scheler. In: Moeller & Jahn (ed.) German Biographical Encyclopedia of Theology and the Churches. Berlin / New York 2005, p. 1181 ff.
  51. Scheler quoted. V. Walter Schulz: Philosophy in the changed world. Stuttgart 2001, 7th edition, p. 432.
  52. Konrad Adenauer and Volker Gröbe: Streets and squares in Lindenthal , JP Bachem, Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-7616-1018-1 , p. 110 f.
  53. Max-Scheler-Straße in 51377 Leverkusen Steinbüchel (North Rhine-Westphalia). Retrieved August 23, 2020 .