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Scheler, Max (1874–1928)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC067-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2023
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Max Scheler (1874–1928) was an early and greatly influential pioneer in the development of the phenomenological tradition at the outset of the twenty-first century. Examined most extensively in his magnum opus, Formalism in Ethics and a Non-Formal Ethics of Value, Scheler is best known for his contribution to the phenomenological approach to an ethical value theory. His approach is predominantly motivated by providing an alternative to the rationalistic accounts of ethics, most notably the ethics of Immanuel Kant. Rather than ground ethics in a notion of reason, Scheler seeks to show that ethics is grounded in the experience of value and in particular in the value of persons. Scheler’s restless mind and spirit, however, led him to explore and introduce novel avenues of inquiry for phenomenological investigation that are still being explored. In addition to ethics, Scheler wrote original works on the nature of religious experience, the sociology of knowledge, philosophical anthropology, epistemology, metaphysics, history, and politics. Propelled by both the originality of his thought and his engaging personality, Scheler was one of the most sought-after thinkers in Germany and Europe during his lifetime. With the rise of National Socialism soon after his death, Scheler’s works were removed from German libraries due to his Jewish heritage and, as a consequence, Scheler’s pivotal contribution to phenomenology continues to be rediscovered.

Citing this article:
Steinbok, A. J. and Zachary Davis. Scheler, Max (1874–1928), 2023, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC067-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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