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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Edited by Antonio Calcagno

Volume 82, Issue 1, Winter 2008
Edith Stein

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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Antonio Calcagno Introduction
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Joyce Avrech Berkman Edith Stein: A Life Unveiled and Veiled
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Drawing on diverse first-person documents, philosophical writings, and historical scholarship, this bio-historical introduction to Edith Stein examines her crucial life choices and philosophical creativity within the framework of her formative personal and historical circumstances. Drawn deeply to unravel the mysteries of life that she prized as a fertile hidden darkness, Stein deliberately disclosed and concealed her inner tumult and reflections. This essay argues that the axis of herlife was her agonizing struggle—rife with ambiguity, confusion, contradiction, and luminous clarity—to redefine and re-constellate her various selves as a highlyeducated woman, Jew, German, Catholic convert, philosopher, mystic, educator, nun, citizen, friend, and family member. At the heart of her striving for psychological coherence was her unquenchable curiosity, her search for complex truth, her sustained optimistic belief in human agency and empathic potential, her longing to help create a better world, and, after World War I, her invincible faith in God.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Antonio Calcagno Thinking Community and the State from Within
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Stein describes the peculiar mental life of the community as a Gemeinschaftserlebnis or lived experience of the community. Such an experience is marked by a certain form of consciousness insofar as one knows that one is dwelling with and for the other (miteinander und füreinander) at varying degrees of intensity.Furthermore, one experiences solidarity as one dwells within the experience of the other and vice versa. Two central problems arise with this phenomenologicaldescription. First, one wonders whether the doctrine of empathy itself can account for these higher social mental states without necessarily arguing for a specific form of consciousness that is particular to community. Second, the question arises as to why community is described as being accompanied by a peculiar mental state, whereas other social structures like the mass, society, and the state are not described in this way. This article has as its focus these two questions.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Beate Beckmann-Zöller Edith Stein’s Theory of the Person in Her Münster Years (1932–1933)
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The new critical edition of Stein’s lectures on philosophical and theological anthropology makes it possible to research further her theory of the person as developed during her middle period in Munster, that is, between 1932 and 1933. Her project revolves around the anthropological foundations of a Catholicpedagogy. Th is phase of her work is marked by various debates. On one hand, she attempts to bring the intellectual legacy of Husserl and phenomenology intodialogue with Thomas Aquinas and other Scholastic thinkers. On the other hand, she confronts the ideas and spirit of National Socialism with her Catholic faith.Stein’s Munster phenomenological method contrasts with Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology; she develops an “eidetic psychology within a universal ontology.” In her “somatological” anthropology, the human being appears as a unity of lived body, soul, and mind. As a person, the human being is investigated as species, double species (man-woman), individual, as having a communal essence (outside the concept of race), and, ultimately, as a seeker of God. Stein examines the freedom of human beings, which lies between the givens of nature and grace, as well as the tension between knowledge and faith. In the final section of this paper, I discuss Stein’s position over against contemporary deconstructivist feminism.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Walter Redmond A Nothing that Is: Edith Stein on Being Without Essence
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St. Thomas Aquinas has been considered a kairos in intellectual history for seeing God’s essence as being. Martin Heidegger criticized philosophers forrepresenting being as a be-ing and identifying it with God, and Jean-Luc Marion speaks of “God without being.” In her Potency and Act Edith Stein introduced thecategory of being without essence, but such being is not God but “the opposite.” For St. Augustine sin was an approach to nonbeing, and Stein saw it leading to a“displacement into nonbeing,” to an “annihilation” where only a “null being” is retained. This eschatological reflection is an intriguing aspect of her “fusion” ofscholasticism and phenomenology.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Sarah Borden Sharkey Edith Stein and Thomas Aquinas on Being and Essence
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In her later philosophical writings, Stein works to synthesize the medieval scholastic tradition and contemporary phenomenology. Stein draws heavily fromThomas Aquinas’s work so that the prevalence of positive references to Thomas have led many to read Stein as a Thomist. On critical questions regarding beingand essence, however, Stein is not a Thomist. In addition to mental and actual being, she also affirms essential being, which is properly the being of intelligibilitiesas well as potencies. Essential being is never separate from an entity with either mental or actual being, but it is a distinct type of being. In this essay, I attempt tocontrast briefly Stein’s account of being and essence with Thomas’s position and to bring out the way in which Stein’s affirmation of essential being leads her ina more Scotist than Thomist direction, at least on questions related to essences and universals.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Karl Schudt Edith Stein’s Proof for the Existence of God from Consciousness
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I examine Edith Stein’s argument for the existence of God found in Finite and Eternal Being. Although largely Thomistic in its structure, the proof is unique in its details, starting with the life of the ego (Ichleben) and ascending to the being of God. The ego is shown to be contingent in its being as well as in the meaning-content through which it lives. Stein argues that this dependent being cannot be accounted for without a being that does not need to receive its being, namely, God. She then turns to the felt security of being as a counter to Heideggerian Angst as a revelatory mood, arguing that security puts us into contact with divine being. She concludes by admitting that proofs rarely convince because of the infinite distance between creature and creator, but concedes to them a role, nonetheless, in shrinking the distance between belief and unbelief.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Terrence C. Wright Artistic Truth and the True Self in Edith Stein
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This paper explores Stein’s treatment of truth and art as a way of approaching her philosophy of the self. Stein argues that one can distinguish between the truthof what something is and the truth of what something ought to be. She maintains that the work of art helps us to understand this distinction because it can serve as a revelation of the truth of what something is, but the work of art only succeeds when it also reflects what its subject ought to be. Stein makes an analogous distinction regarding the self as it is and as it ought to be. In her anthropology she argues that human beings are individuated not only by matter but also by form and that understanding our individuating form is the key to becoming the person we ought to be. Stein develops the theory that persons are called to be their true selves through their relationship to the divine. The paper argues that for Stein art and life are related in such a way that striving to be one’s true self transformsone’s life into a work of art.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Angela Ales Bello Edmund Husserl and Edith Stein: The Question of the Human Subject
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The goal of this article is to analyze the way in which Edith Stein describes the human subject throughout her research, including her phenomenological phaseand the period of her Christian philosophy. In order to do this, I trace essential moments in Husserl’s philosophy, showing both Stein’s reliance upon Husserl andher originality. Both thinkers believe that an analysis of the human being can be carried out by examining consciousness and its lived experiences. Through suchan examination Stein arrives at the same conclusion as Husserl, namely, that the human subject is formed of body, psyche, and spirit (Geist). Stein’s originalityconsists in a further development of the complexity of the human being. She maps this out, providing detailed analyses of the I, the soul, the spirit, and, ultimately,the person. She makes use of medieval philosophical anthropology, including that of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Peter. J. Schulz Toward the Subjectivity of the Human Person: Edith Stein’s Contribution to the Theory of Identity
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Edith Stein’s work revolves around one central question, namely, the identity of the person. Discussions of this topic are already present in Stein’s dissertation. Iexamine her theory of identity, developed throughout her work and maturing in her magnum opus, Finite and Eternal Being, in three stages, each of which is historically relevant and original. First, Stein’s development of the question is examined phenomenologically, focusing on Stein’s early work. Second, I will show how Stein takes her early phenomenological positions concerning the nature of the human person and combines them with Greek and medieval insights into ontology. Here I focus on Finite and Eternal Being. Finally, I concentrate on the meaning and value of Stein’s theory of identity as it contributes to a theory of the person in connection with Greek and medieval metaphysics, and a phenomenological philosophy of consciousness. Together, the three stages of the essay will demonstrate Stein’s systematic contribution toward a theory of personal identity, one of the most difficult problems of philosophy.
books received
11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 82 > Issue: 1
Books Received
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