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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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Solidarity and the Legal Order in Stein’s Political Theory

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← 102 | 103 →MARIANNE SAWICKI

ABSTRACT: Solidarity, as a substantive legal principle, works at cross purposes to sovereignty, the defining characteristic of the nation-state. This paper criticizes Stein’s resort to a religious account of solidarity in the 1930s in the concluding sections of Endliches und ewiges Sein and Der Aufbau der menschlichen Person. The paper then retrieves the theory of ‘pure law’ from Staat and constructs a secular account of solidarity to complement it, based on Stein’s phenomenology of community in the Beiträge treatises of the 1920s. It is hoped that the result is a sturdier, more adaptable phenomenology of law.

Stein will be a patroness of Europe, in more than name only, if her work bestows insights to guide discussion of political and legal challenges facing the European Union of today. She could not have foreseen the EU when she was developing her phenomenology of community and the state, some ninety years ago. In fact, the vision of human solidarity that was to inspire the mature Stein would be an explicitly religious one, not political or legal. At the end of her life, Stein would write of the unity of humankind as a mystical body, the body of Christ. This hope of a pan-national unity in Christ took root in her mind and heart soon after she penned her treatises on Community and on the State.1 That biographical fact may explain ← 103 | 104 →why Stein’s writing veered away from matters political, legal, and social after...

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