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Intersubjectivity, Humanity, Being

Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy

Edited By Mette Lebech and John Haydn Gurmin

This volume brings together revised versions of papers presented at the inaugural conference of the International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES). The conference papers are supplemented by a number of specially commissioned essays in order to provide a representative sample of the best research currently being carried out on Stein’s philosophy in the English speaking world. The first part of the volume centres on Stein’s phenomenology; the second part looks at her Christian philosophy; and the third part explores the contexts of her philosophical work.
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Edith Stein’s Reworked Liberalism and the State

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← 82 | 83 →ANTONIO CALCAGNO

ABSTRACT: Edith Stein’s theory of the state has traditionally been read as a confirmation of either her communitarian or personalist philosophy. While it is true that Stein’s political philosophy draws upon her theories of community and the person, it is also true that Stein advocates for a strong Liberal vision of the state. In this paper, I show how Stein interweaves her Liberal convictions with her own theory of community. Furthermore, I argue that Stein’s overemphasis on the primacy of the law, formally understood, undermines her theory of community. Finally, I argue that Stein’s sense of solidarity is too strong a requirement for the good functioning of the state. States do function, and function well, with less stringent bonds between members of the state than those indicated by Stein.

While it is true that Edith Stein articulated various critiques of liberalism, especially of the contractarian sort, one must not dismiss liberalism altogether from her theory of the state in favour of a communitarian or personalist vision of the state.1 In this paper, I argue that Stein does not ← 83 | 84 →outright reject liberalism. While there is a general consensus that Stein drew inspiration from liberal ideals, scholars tend to focus on the phenomenological roots of Stein’s political theory.2 In fact, her theory of the state, including her arguments for the primacy of the rule of law, draws heavily from certain liberal precepts based on her own philosophical and personal political convictions. Stein’s...

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