Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy
A Possible Opening Up of Phenomenology Towards the Metaphysical Question of Materia Prima: Edith Stein’s Thought in Relation to the Work of Vitalis de Furno, Edmund Husserl and Hedwig Conrad-Martius
← 524 | 525 →FRANCESCO ALFIERI OFM1
ABSTRACT: This paper seeks to analyze the approach to matter as set out by Edith Stein in Potency and Act and in Finite and Eternal Being. The results help to clarify Stein’s position regarding the principium individuationis. After a brief description of the typically medieval ideas and themes analysed by Stein, the discussion will show how her reasoning starts from the ontological-formal and gnoseological corpus of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology. This analysis also tries to show how the specificity of Stein’s writings is due to the fact that her work has always been communitarian: every paragraph of her texts is full of comparisons, quotations, references to other authors that are fundamental to Stein’s research and journey towards the ‘truth’. Of key importance here is the work of Hedwig Conrad-Martius, whose influence on Stein is assessed in detail.
On the complex question of formal and material ontology systematically developed by Edith Stein in her writings, especially in Potency and Act and in Finite and Eternal Being, we shall start by isolating the question ← 525 | 526 →of material ontology in order to compare it with Husserl’s research on material a priori and to delineate Stein’s specific position on the ‘doctrine of matter’. The close comparison with the work of Husserl in this paper seeks to show how distant Stein’s position is from Husserl’s due to her introduction of ‘unformed prime matter’, a concept that is not compatible with the doctrine of material a priori...
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