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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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Chapter 7: Education of the Human Person



Education of the Human Person

Every work reflects the one who wrought it, the time it was forged in, and the purpose for which it was conceived. That is why Stein’s The Structure of the Human Person is a key not only to Stein’s entire work, but also to the Jewish experience in Germany in the nineteen thirties, and to the philosophy of education as such. It reveals Stein’s deep commitment to the human person, constitutes her Auseinandersetzung with National Socialism, and argues for the centrality of the human being in education theory. In the following discussion these three aspects will be examined. First we will look at Stein’s education theory in the context of her entire work, assessing the influence that education had on the elaboration of her philosophy and her understanding of the philosophical significance of education (1). Next we will deal with the work as part of history: its precedents and antecedents, what occasioned it and what it, in turn, occasioned. Its sources constitute a significant part of its precedents, and the method a significant part of what it handed on. Hence these are examined as aspects of the work’s history (2). Finally, the structure of the work is exhibited, beginning with Stein’s justification for understanding the theory of education as philosophical and theological anthropology and ending with her account of the constitution of the human person in its essential openness (3).

‘Aufbau’ (as in the work’s German title:...

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