Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy
Edited By Mette Lebech and John Haydn Gurmin
Part two Christian Philosophy
Christof Betschart OCD Quid and Quale: Reflections on a Possible Complementarity Between Metaphysical and Phenomenological Approaches to Personal Individuality in Edith Stein’s Potenz und Akt abstract: The principle of individuation for human persons is one of the points on which Edith Stein is critical of a Thomistic account. In my view, it is possible to show that Stein’s phenomenological perspective does not exclude a Thomistic position, but can be understood in a complementary manner. An investigation into Stein’s distinction between Quid and Quale in the human person has led me to this hypothesis. By Quid, Stein means the common human form with its faculties bearing an individual openness to specific contents (Erschlossenheit) and an individual lifeforce (Lebenskraft). This indi- viduality is the result not only of material dispositions and circumstances (Thomistic view), but even more basically of the Quale by which Stein means a fundamental quality of the being of each person. 1. Introduction Let us start with some preliminary questions. Firstly, why choose the question of personal individuality in Potency and Act?1 It is worthwhile, in my view, to study this not very well known work of Edith Stein containing an explicit 1 Edith Stein, Potency and Act: Studies Toward a Philosophy of Being, CWES 11 (Washington DC: ICS Publications, 2009); original: Potenz und Akt: Studien zu einer Philosophie des Seins, ESGA 10 (Freiburg i. Br.: Herder, 2005); abbreviation: PA, followed by the page in the English translation and in square brackets the page in the German edition....
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