Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy
Edited By Mette Lebech and John Haydn Gurmin
Empathy and the Hermeneutics of the Self: E. Stein, H. Kohut, P. Ricoeur
← 484 | 485 →MICHEL DUPUIS
ABSTRACT: This paper presents a brief contribution to a study of the role of empathy in the hermeneutics of the self, connecting three authors whose technical works either 1) explicitly develop a model of empathy (phenomenologist, E. Stein, 1917; psychoanalyst, H. Kohut, 1957) 2) or implicitly confer a crucial role to empathy behind other anthropological and ethical categories, such as self-esteem, solicitude and justice (philosopher of hermeneutics, P. Ricoeur, 1990/1992).
Stein’s sketches of philosophical anthropology are not and can not be reduced to any classical model. Although the richness of her thoughts doesn’t allow the reader to suppose a complete and definitive anthropological system, the beams of the uncompleted framework are clearly distinguishable. If several traditional terms are used, Stein tries however to elaborate an original vision of the human being, in particular of the processes of ontological and onto-genetic psychological constitution. Because human identity is historical and dynamic, a realistic anthropology has to expose empirical conditions of individuation. This ‘high’ empiricism, rather different from common empiricism, attempts to explain the meaning and to justify the validity of psychological facts, strategies, methods and models. Genuine philosophical anthropology is never simply theoretical, abstract or ‘purely’ philosophical, and the question of personal identity is not only a philosophical one: cognitive psychology, cultural history, social sciences, neurobiology,1 theology, etc. are deeply concerned. Likewise, this is the case with the anthropology of empathy.
← 485 | 486 →Already in her thesis about Einfühlung, Stein...
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