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Intersubjectivity, Humanity, Being

Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy

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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Sinnereignis in the Philosophy of Edith Stein

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← 370 | 371 →HANNA-BARBARA GERL-FALKOVITZ

Translated from German by James Smith and Mette Lebech

ABSTRACT: Is the phenomenological method challenged by the expression of something inconceivable, by that which no longer can be captured by intentionality? Is there a gift of meaning that can be neither foreseen nor described, but that breaks through in an ‘event’? If there is, then Husserl’s intentionality is too narrow a concept to serve as the foundation of phenomenology in general. As Jean-Luc Marion indicates, intentionality already involves an idolizing view of the phenomena; the horizon of the I delimits the evidence.

In a similar way, Edith Stein is also a ‘heretic’ to Husserl. According to her theory, consciousness is always tempted towards solipsism and a demiurgical imperative, while the ‘person’ stands in a responsive relation to the world. Even in her early work Einführung in die Philosophie there are two absolute domains, consciousness and being; nothing about either one can be derived from the other. Reflecting her own biography, this ‘being’ breaks through, unexpectedly, into consciousness – as a ‘meaning-event’, independently of earlier experiences. In later works, this being is designated as Absolute Being, in contrast with finite being.

Is there an announcement of something inconceivable that over-taxes the phenomenological method? Is there a kind of appearing and self-revealing that cannot be met by intentionality, that even short-circuits it? Is there a gift of meaning that can be neither foreseen nor described, but that breaks through as...

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