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1. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
John Henry Crosby Introduction to The Philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand
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2. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Biography of Dietrich von Hildebrand
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3. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
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dietrich von hildebrand in dialogue
4. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
John Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamon An Ontology of Love: A Patristic Reading of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love
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Dietrich von Hildebrand’s treatise, The Nature of Love, is set in relation to the theological personalism of the Cappadocian fathers of the Church, and to my own earlier work done in this tradition. Several points of divergence are explored, especially points concerning von Hildebrand’s claim that love exists as a response to the beauty of the beloved person. God’s love for human beings does not always seem to fit the paradigm of value-response; His love seems rather to be creative of beauty in us rather than to respond to already existing beauty. But at the same time, the deep kinship of von Hildebrand’s personalism with that of the Cappadocian fathers is stressed; he is at one with them in affirming the heart as distinct from the intellect, in affirming love as the supreme act of the person, and in affirming the place of beauty in the existence of persons.
5. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Ann-Therese Gardner The Phenomenology of Body and Self In Dietrich von Hildebrand and Edmund Husserl
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Dietrich von Hildebrand was a student of Edmund Husserl, the father of phenomenology; but the former’s phenomenology does not entirely correlate with that of the latter. Von Hildebrand does not have the overarching phenomenological perspective of reduction that Husserl does, but engages in a more regional application of phenomenology. That there is also a real difference between their notions of phenomenology is manifest when we look at their characterizations of the body in relation to the self. For Husserl, it is precisely on account of the way he defines phenomenology that the body remains exterior to the self (where self is understood as Transcendental Ego). For von Hildebrand, the body is more closely related to interiority. We see this in his account of marriage, the exemplar of love, where the body is necessary for the perfect expression of spousal love; this indicates that the body is a constitutive part of the person as such. After drawing this distinction between Husserl and von Hilde brand on the notion of self, I formulate a more general account of von Hildebrand’s phenomenology through his understanding of given-ness. What von Hildebrand preserves of Husserlian phenomenology is a method of taking things as they appear. Love is given in ourselves and in the other, and the inter-personal nature of given-ness lets love appear in essential completeness to us.
6. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Brian Sudlow The Non-Violence of Love: A Hildebrand-Girard Encounter
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If love is a social as well as a personal reality, it could be fruitful to compare von Hildebrand’s understanding of love and desire with that of cultural anthropologist René Girard. Girard depicts love and desire as a triangular process which arises from imitation, rather than the result of auto-generative affection. In this sense, Girardian theory would seem to convict von Hildebrand of what is called the “romantic lie” wherein desire is thought to arise through the mutual appreciation of two subjects. However, in The Nature of Love von Hildebrand shows awareness of the possibility that love can be awakened by imitation. Moreover, the lack of a sufficient reason in Girardian theory for avoiding violence can be answered by turning to von Hildebrand’s appreciation of the ontological basis for desire.
7. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
David Utsler Dietrich von Hildebrand and Paul Ricoeur: Eidetic and Hermeneutic Phenomenology
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Dietrich von Hildebrand and Paul Ricoeur share the same philosophical roots in the early phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. Ricoeur went beyond Husserl to develop his own unique version of hermeneutics. Although Ricoeur rejected Husserl’s idealist version of phenomenology, Ricoeur never rejected the earliest interpretation Husserl gave to his own phenomenology. Von Hildebrand, although contributing insights of his own, identified his own phenomenology as that of the phenomenology explicated in Husserl’s Logical Investigations. In this paper I will look at aspects of Ricoeur’s account of the “mutual belonging” of phenomenology and hermeneutics. Assuming the affinity between von Hildebrand’s phenomenology and that of Husserl’s, I will apply Ricoeur’s analysis more closely to von Hildebrand. My thesis is that the mutual belonging shared by phenomenology and hermeneutics forms a basis to bring Dietrich von Hildebrand and Paul Ricoeur into dialogue. While their philosophies are markedly different, they both share a deep respect for the meaning of being.
8. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Francis E. Feingold Principium Versus Principiatum: The Transcendence of Love in von Hildebrand and Aquinas
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This paper seeks to defuse the claim, made by von Hildebrand and his followers, that Thomism has no place for a transcendent love whose principium would lie truly in the beloved, rather than ultimately in the needs and desires of the lover; it also seeks to refute the Thomist objection that von Hildebrand lacks a sufficient understanding of nature and its inherent teleology. In order to accomplish this, I distinguish between different kinds of principium or “for-its-own-sakeness.” Using St. Thomas’s theory of friend­ship-love, I show how every affective movement not only can but must have two different principia of two fundamentally different sorts: an “end-desired,” and an “end-for-whom” the former is desired. It is then noted that the key terms ‘value’ and bonum honestum are both used to describe both types of “worthiness,” and that this lack of distinction has led to much confusion between Thomists and followers of von Hildebrand; for, while the latter seem to tend to confer the higher “worthiness” of the “end-for-whom” also on inanimate objects like sunsets, the former often tend to classify even the beloved under the lower “worthiness” of the “end-desired,” both of which are untenable positions. It is shown, however, that for St. Thomas it is the higher and more ultimate sense of “worthiness” that is at stake in friendship-love and that it is a truly “transcendent” or “ecstatic” phenomenon. Two objections are then addressed: (1) St. Thomas’s claim that substantial unity is the greatest cause of love, and (2) his claim that man’s primary end is Vision. With respect to both of these claims I maintain that Aquinas’s position needs correction but that neither should be taken to imply that for Aquinas man is his own center or his own chief “end-for-whom.” Finally, it is shown that while von Hildebrand decries positing natural teleology as the explanation for man’s transcendence (a Thomistic position), I argue that this is only due to a confusion regarding the kind of explanation that nature is being invoked to serve: namely, von Hildebrand sees nature invoked as the final cause whereas Thomists actually invoke it as simply the formal cause of our love for our true Final Cause.
9. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Philip Blosser What Makes Experience “Moral”? Dietrich von Hildebrand vs. Max Scheler
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In this paper I examine two problems in Scheler’s ethics to which I believe von Hildebrand provides a solution: his (1) identification of moral value with the positive or negative response value that appears as a by-product of personal agency directed at realizing a non-moral value; and (2) the lack of any clear distinctively moral antithesis between good and evil in personal agency. In response to (1), I enlist von Hildebrand’s distinction between morally relevant and irrelevant values and his observation that not all value-responses are morally good/evil, and I illustrate the existence of specifically non-moral kinds of good/bad, such as the aesthetic. In response to (2), I enlist von Hildebrand’s distinction between the “subjectively satisfying” and “intrinsically important.” As von Hildebrand demonstrates, Scheler fails to see that this is not a distinction between ranks of values but rather is a distinction between views of importance in our motivation and importance of objective value independently of any motivation whatsoever. These solutions are elaborated vis-à-vis Peter Spader’s attempted defense of Scheler against von Hildebrand.
the school of dietrich von hildebrand
10. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Josef Seifert Dietrich von Hildebrand on Benevolence in Love and Friendship: A Masterful Contribution to Perennial Philosophy
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One of the deepest contributions of Dietrich von Hildebrand towards a philosophy of love is the ingenious chapter seven of his book The Nature of Love on the intentio benevolentiae of love (the “intention of benevolence”). According to von Hildebrand, the intention of benevolence constitutes in some sense the inner core of love and its goodness and should always, as he explains, take priority over that other most distinctive trait of love, the intentio unionis, the “desire for union.” This paper shows that von Hildebrand’s distinction between the three “categories of importance” (of the “good”) allows us to understand the benevolent intention and desire for the happiness of the beloved person in a deeper way than was possible ever before. This benevolent intention enables the loving person to see and experience the objective goods for the beloved person from within. The loving person partakes in his affective and free response of love in the innermost and unique center of the beloved person to whom the objective good for him or her is directed. In the intentio benevolentiae, however, the objective good for the beloved person is desired and willed by the loving person not only inasmuch as it is endowed with intrinsic value, but also insofar as it addresses itself to the unique center of consciousness of the beloved person. This applies to all categories of love, even the love of an enemy. Above and beyond this, however, in the love of friendship and in spousal love, in parental love, etc., the objective goods and evils for the other person are not only desired and rejoiced in under the point of view that they are goods for the beloved person, as also in the love of neighbor. Rather, because they are goods and evils for the person beloved in friendship or spousal love, they also become (indirect) objective goods for the friend or spouse. The paper ends with a comparison between some of the texts of Saint Anselm on heaven and von Hildebrand’s chapter, showing that what Anselm says in a sublime text on heaven (that in heaven we will not rejoice more over our own good and blessedness than over that of the beloved persons, and even will rejoice in the beatitude of God more than in our own) can only be truly understood by analyzing it in the light of von Hildebrand’s insights and sharp distinctions. Thus von Hildebrand makes a decisive contribution to the clarification of a central topic in the philosophia perennis: the benevolence of love.
11. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Robert E. Wood Dietrich von Hildebrand on the Heart
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Dietrich von Hildebrand’s compressed treatment of the life of feeling is contained in his work, The Heart: An Analysis of Human and Divine Affectivity, originally titled The Sacred Heart. This work focuses upon the “core” of the author’s written corpus. It at­tempts to place the phenomena of the heart on a plane co-equal with intellectual and volitional phenomena and to rescue devotion to the Sacred Heart from its tendency to mawkish sentimentality. This paper will focus upon a summary of the phenomenological description of affective life. Von Hildebrand sets himself against a dominant tendency in the philosophic tradition to downplay the role of the heart, though he explores the reasons for that tendency in the skewing of one’s judgment by emotionality or senti­mentality. He explores the hierarchy of feelings and pays special attention to “spiritual feelings” in the religious, aesthetic, moral, and intellectual life. He also examines ways in which the heart is underdeveloped by the hypertrophy of intellectual, pragmatic, or volitional modes; also ways in which one cancels out altogether the work of the heart in the state of heartlessness; again, ways in which the heart becomes tyrannical and blocks the capacity for intelligent self-assessment. Properly developed, the heart “has its reason of which reason knows nothing”—a famous saying of Pascal that the author qualifies by viewing reason here as the kind of abstract reason that operates in logic, mathematics, and natural science. The alertness associated with the heart is that of “the whole man,” and not some separate aspect. The last part of the essay appends a friendly criticism of von Hildebrand’s tendency to “substantialize” the powers of the mind and what I take to be a misreading of Plato and Aristotle. Finally, the phenomena of the heart are located within a bipolar view of the field of human awareness, rooted in the sensory and open to the totality via the notion of Being.
12. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Fritz Wenisch Self-Regarding and Non-Self-Regarding Actions, and Comments on a Non-Self-Regarding Interest in Another’s Good
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One of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s most significant contributions in his Ethics is the distinction between three “categories of importance,” three types of motives for human actions as well as voluntative and affective responses. They are the “subjectively satisfying,” the “objective good for the person,” and “value” (in the sense of the important in itself). Although the second is called “objective good for the person,” von Hildebrand understands it as the good for the agent or the person responding. Thus, this category comprises those objects which are truly in the agent’s (or responding person’s) interest (rather than what is only satisfying or pleasing for the moment, but possibly opposed to one’s true interest). In his Moralia, von Hildebrand presents the objective good for another as an additional “source of morality” (as he calls it). There, he argues, however (as he does in his book The Nature of Love in which he discusses that source in detail), that the interest in another’s good is an outgrowth of love. Contrary to that, I intend to show that in human motivation, a concern for another’s good may exist prior to and independently of love as von Hildebrand understands it; that acting out of a sincere concern for the well-being of others can occur on behalf of those persons of whom the agent would not be prepared to say that he loves them. I further intend to show that this motive is to be distinguished from intending to do what one understands to be right (which includes cases in which one wishes to act in accordance with one’s duty), as well as from aiming at the realization of a value. Thus, human actions are to be divided into self-regarding and non-self-regarding ones. The first comprise those aiming at the subjectively satisfying and those aiming at the (objective) good for the agent; the second comprise those aiming at the (objective) good for someone other than the agent, those aiming at conforming one’s conduct to what one understands to be right, and those aiming at the realization of an object that is important in itself.
13. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Stephen D. Schwarz Dietrich von Hildebrand on the Role of the Heart and the Will in Love
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Is love from the heart or from the will? Many writers claim that love is an act of the will. Von Hildebrand is emphatic in his claim that love is the voice of the heart, that to really love a person is to feel love for that person, and not merely to will for him what is good, and surely not merely to “will to love” him. In this, I think von Hildebrand is absolutely correct. But I also think that those who stress the role of the will are basically correct. And so my project in this paper is to show that these two seemingly opposed claims are not really contradictory but actually two sides of the same coin. Indeed, a careful reading of von Hildebrand himself shows that he too provides an important and even essential role for the will in his theory of the nature of love. I discuss six major ways in which the will plays a crucial role in love. The most important of these is the will as the center of cooperative freedom. The experience of love is in its very nature a gift, something I cannot produce for myself by an act of will. But once it is there in my heart I can freely say an inner yes to it. I can identify myself with it and make it explicitly my own. It is now my love in a new way since it is not merely the voice of my heart but of my whole being. Another major way in which the will plays a crucial role in love is faithfulness and perseverance. Briefly, we can say that love is the voice of the heart and the role of the will is to serve love.
14. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Paola Premoli De Marchi Dietrich von Hildebrand and the Birth of Love as an I-Thou Relation
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The Nature of Love has rightly been defined as a Summa of von Hildebrand’s thought, but Hildebrandian philosophy is an organic whole, and many insights contained in that treatise are rooted in works written many years before. Understanding his other inquiries into the essence of the spiritual relations which can be performed only by persons is a necessary prerequisite for understanding the significance of von Hildebrand’s masterpiece on love. This paper focuses on von Hildebrand’s phenomenological investigations into the “birth” of human relationships and their effects on the self-realization of the person as they are described mainly in Metaphysik der Gemeinschaft, in some other works, and in a few unpublished pages. This paper, then, is divided into three parts: (1) The first part is dedicated to summarizing von Hildebrand’s analysis of the essence of personal relationships as spiri­tual acts, as social acts, and as acts which involve value responses. Von Hildebrand’s anthropology is essentially a metaphysical and relational philosophy of the person: the person is a spiritual substance—an individual subject—and at the same time a subject who is called to realize himself through his relationships to the world, to other human subjects, and to God. (2) On the basis of this framework, the second part of the paper develops a phenomenological description of the path that begins from the initial spiritual contact between persons and leads to the I-Thou relation. This analysis, according to von Hildebrand, must consider above all the communication between persons and the conditions for interpersonal reciprocity, union, and communion. On the basis of these investigations, we can understand why love is the most perfect kind of relationship. This is true from the point of view of the relation in itself, since love is the relationship which can produce the deepest link between persons; but it is also true from the point of view of the relata (the terms of the relation), since love fosters the highest realization of the persons as individuals. This inquiry also reveals the deep connection between von Hildebrand’s works Metaphysik der Gemeinschaft and The Nature of Love. (3) The third and final part of the paper aims to further deepen our understanding of von Hildebrand’s insights into the effects of love on the human person by drawing on some of his minor works and unpublished writings. Von Hildebrand’s crucial argument in this regard is that love is the most perfect act, since it affects the perfection of the persons involved, that is, both the lover and the beloved. Only in loving and in being loved is the human being re-affirmed in his being and awakened to his full personal existence and essence.
dietrich von hildebrand on particular questions
15. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Stephen Phelan Love and the Will in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love
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Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love is a deep and pene­trating analysis of love as a value-response, in which he elucidates many facets of, and distinctions within, this greatest gift to the human person. Building upon his work, The Heart, von Hildbrand follows the implications of the affective character of love as a response to the value of other persons, and indicates numerous ways in which love goes beyond other affective responses. What I shall argue in this paper, however, is that his thesis, if consid­ered as fully capturing the essence of love, is inadequate to fully describe our lived experience of often having to love in the ab­sence of a full and sufficiently heartfelt response to the beloved. In truth we are called to love whether or not our heart responds adequately in a given situation, and this aspect, the verb-character of love, or where love and the will intersect, is what I believe is not completely ignored but is under-examined by von Hildebrand in this work. As such, I hope that the reader will see that I am not attempting to refute his thesis but rather to elucidate what I believe is a boundary which I do not see adequately addressed in his work.
16. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Mary M. Keys Humility in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love
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In this paper I examine the role that humility plays in Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love, giving special attention to the interrelation between humility and love as von Hildebrand expresses and explores it throughout this book. Consideration is also given to an apparent foil of humility, the virtue of magnanimity or greatness of soul; to an authentic foil of both humility and love, the vice of pride; and to the way von Hildebrand understands the relationship between natural and supernatural virtue as it pertains to humility. To grasp von Hildebrand’s theory of humility more fully, both in itself and as it applies to his theory of love, I turn to another of his works: Humility, Wellspring of Virtue. The paper’s conclusion reflects briefly on the relationship between Dietrich von Hildebrand’s appreciation for humility as a preeminent virtue and his own great-souled struggle against National Socialism.
17. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Mathew Lu Universalism, Particularism, and Subjectivity—Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Concept of Eigenleben and Modern Moral Philosophy
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Modern philosophers tend to regard morality as intrinsically universalist, embracing universal norms that apply formally to each moral agent qua moral agent, independent of particularities such as familial relationships or membership in a specific community. At the same time, however, most of us think (and certainly act as if) those particularist properties play a significant and legitimate role in our moral lives. Accordingly, determining the proper relationship of these two spheres of the moral life is of great importance, but a fully successful resolution of this tension re­mains lacking. I believe Dietrich von Hildebrand’s work on love, and specifically his development of the idea of Eigenleben (Subjectivity) in The Nature of Love, offers a fruitful way forward. In this paper I begin by laying out some of the chief features of the universalist character of modern moral theory in both Kan­tianism and consequentialism. I then articulate some of the ways in which von Hildebrand’s understanding of Eigenleben offers us genuine insights towards articulating a substantive account of the proper relationship of the universal demands of morality and the particularist demands of my own life. Specifically, von Hildebrand’s critique of extreme altruism shows that moral agents cannot be properly understood according to merely formal properties like rationality, because each person’s particular Eigenleben is the only real grounds for moral agency. Von Hildebrand develops a critique of depersonalized universalism similar to Bernard Williams’s later criticisms of Kantian moral thought, while offering a positive account that is in many ways more compelling. Ultimately, von Hildebrand allows us to see that a genuine Subjectivity is the necessary ground for the possibility of love, including and especially the love of God, which serves as the basis for a genuine morality based on objective values. Building on this insight we can begin to articulate an account of the moral life grounded in answering the call of God that can do justice to both our universalist and particularist intuitions.
18. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray Introduction to The Early Phenomenology: Munich and Göttingen
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19. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Alice von Hildebrand Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Acquiantance with Early Phenomenology
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20. Quaestiones Disputatae: Volume > 3 > Issue: 1
Dallas Willard Realism Sustained? Interpreting Husserl’s Progression into Idealism
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