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Traces of the Person: Max Scheler’s and Paul Ricoeur’s Attempts on Personal Ethics

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image of Frontiers of Philosophy in China

To encounter a fellow-being does not mean only to see her face, to notice the color of her eyes, but to meet her eyes and to be addressed by her. Who one is irreducible to any objective property or value, and likewise cannot be comprehended through propositional statements in the manner of “talking about …” something. Rather, such comprehension demands an account of giving way to the appearance of the other as other. This account, prominently linked to E. Levinas’ “ethics as first philosophy,” has also been developed as phenomenological personalism. While Max Scheler developed his “Ethical Personalism” within his material Value Ethics, his Philosophy of Fellow-Feeling and in his late Philosophical Anthropology of human spirit, Paul Ricoeur develops his personalism through different approaches: from his early attempts on need and desire as the affective basis of our values to the perspective on the particular way we lead our lives in narratively constituting our personal identity, and finally to his concept of recognition. Reconstructing personalism as a philosophy of discovering the other person in her otherness and as a concept of social practice are the aims of this paper.


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