The Mind of Max Scheler: The First Comprehensive Guide Based on the Complete Works

The Mind of Max Scheler: The First Comprehensive Guide Based on the Complete Works

The Mind of Max Scheler: The First Comprehensive Guide Based on the Complete Works

The Mind of Max Scheler: The First Comprehensive Guide Based on the Complete Works

Synopsis

This text provides a look at the philosophy of Max Scheler (1874-1928) based on his work as it appears in the 15-volume German collected edition. It opens a view of a complex system of thought of early 20th century philosophy which preceded investigations by Heidegger, Husserl, and others.

Excerpt

Max Scheler was born in Munich, Germany on August 22, 1874. His mother was of Jewish extraction. His father was Protestant. As an adolescent he was drawn to Catholicism, probably because of Catholicism's teachings on love. By 1922, however, he had fallen away from Catholicism in favor of a metaphysical attempt to explicate the Divine as "becoming" in history. He renounced the notion of a Christian Creator God.

The year 1922, therefore, roughly divides his productivity into a first and second period of philosophical inquiry. The year also roughly divides his personal life, which was not without drama, misunderstanding and tragedy. He received his doctorate in 1887 at Jena University. His advisor was Rudolf Eucken who lectured in Europe and America on the task of achieving a unity of mankind in order to prevent the destructive forces that worked in modern society. For this Eucken was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1908. Scheler was stimulated by a number of Euckenian thoughts, including his support of the League of Nations.

Scheler wrote his habilitation-thesis in 1899, also at Jena University, and began his teaching career there. In December 1906 he taught at the then predominately Catholic University of Munich. He met here a number of early phenomenologists, but he had already at that time distanced himself from a number of facets of the understanding of phenomenology generated by "the father of phenomenology," Edmund Husserl.

Due to the dissolution of his first marriage with Amalie von Dewitz- Krebs, who was a divorcee seven years his senior and subsequent to controversies between the University and political parties not favorable to Catholicism, he lost his position in Munich in 1910. There were two sons of this first marriage; one died early, the other had, according to Scheler, inherited only negative traits of his parents; from his mother hysteria and parsimony; from himself a weak will lending itself easily to lustful inclinations. The son died between 1938 and 1940 in a Nazi concentration camp near Oldenburg, partly because he had a Jewish grandmother, partly because he had been classified as a criminal psychopath.

Having lost permission in Munich to teach at a university, Scheler became a private scholar, lecturer and free-lance writer between 1910 . . .

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