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The Philosophy of Edith Stein

From Phenomenology to Metaphysics

Mette Lebech

Many interested reader will have put aside a work by Edith Stein due to its seeming inaccessibility, with the awareness that there was something important there for a future occasion. This collection of essays attempts to provide an idea of what this important something might be and give a key to the reading of Stein’s various works. It is divided into two parts reflecting Stein’s development. The first part, «Phenomenology», deals with those features of Stein’s work that set it apart from that of other phenomenologists, notably Husserl. The second part is entitled «Metaphysics», although Stein the phenomenologist would, like Husserl, initially have shied away from this designation. However, as Stein gradually understood the importance of the Christian faith for completing the phenomenological project of founding the sciences, and accepted it as indispensable for a philosophical view of the whole, her «attempt at an ascent to the meaning of being» can legitimately be called metaphysics, even as it also constitutes a fundamental criticism of Aristotle and Aquinas.
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The material for this volume consists of previously published articles. All have been revised to fit them into this patchwork monograph, most of them substantially. Permission has been sought for reprinting or translating them. Thanks are due to Therese Meehan, Anna-Marie Lebech Sørensen and Liz Meade for careful reading of the chapters and many helpful suggestions.

Chapter 1 is based on a German version of the paper, originally given to the Edith Stein Gesellschaft Deutschland in Salzburg, 17 April 2010 and published in the Edith Stein Jahrbuch, 2011, pp. 71–86. It was subsequently given in a substantially revised English version as a paper in Centre of Dialogue and Prayer Oświęcim/Auschwitz to commemorate Stein’s death, 8 June, 2012. The title of the paper was ‘Edith Stein as a European Philosopher’. A German version of this paper is to be published with the other papers given at the conference by P. Manfred Deselaers.

Chapter 2 and 3 were originally printed in The Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society. A much shorter version of the first paper was given at the Intercorporeality and Intersubjectivity International Conference, UCD, 6–8 June 2008, which was published in Maynooth Philosophical Papers, 2008, ed. Simon Nolan, Maynooth, pp. 16–20 under the title ‘Stein’s Phenomenology of the Body. The Human Being between Description of Experience and Social Construction’. It was subsequently expanded for a longer paper given at the Centre for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen 13...

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