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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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Phenomenological Ontology: Stein’s Third Way

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← 138 | 139 →GLORIA ZÚÑIGA Y POSTIGO

ABSTRACT: Typical avenues for the examination of social phenomena are phenomenology or ontology. This paper argues that Edith Stein employs a particular mixture of phenomenology and ontology – a unique third way – which carves a path that arrives not only at a robust description of the phenomena of empathy and intersubjectivity, but also at a suitable framework for social phenomena, most especially value. A comparison of alternative phenomenological ontologies, as well as studies of social phenomena that are strictly either phenomenological or ontological, shows the advantages of Stein’s third way. Finally, I discuss research in neuroscience that corroborates Stein’s description of empathy.

The purpose of this paper is to show Edith Stein’s philosophical method as a particular mixture of phenomenology and ontology that is wholly distinct from other approaches that also combine phenomenology and ontology.1 Stein’s method stands out not only because it carves a new path in the examination of the mechanics of empathy and intersubjectivity (one that is consistent with recent discoveries in neuroscience, as we shall see later) but also because it sheds new light to the contemporary debates on value, especially moral and aesthetic.

But before we embark on the task at hand, it shall be important to recognize that the title of this paper points to an elephant in the room – i.e., phenomenological ontology – and we must confront it. To refer to anything as belonging to a class of investigations called phenomenological ontology...

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