Person and Polis

Max Scheler's Personalism as Political Theory

By Stephen F. Schneck

Subjects: Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in Political Theory: Contemporary Issues
Paperback : 9780887063398, 188 pages, January 1987
Hardcover : 9780887063404, 188 pages, January 1987

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments and Dedication


1. Phenomenology and Ontology

Historical and Intellectual Background of Scheler's Thought
Husserl's Idealism
Scheler's Realism
Revival of Metaphysics

2. Person, Other, Community

Act and Person
Genesis of the Person
Person and Other, Sociality and Intersubjectivity

3. Personalism as Political Theory

Beyond a Schelerian Political Theory
Models and Leaders: Extending the Purview of Politics
Power: Morality and Politics
Personalist Socialism, Personalist Democracy

4. Personalism and Modern Politics

Bourgeois Liberalism
Personalism, Liberalism, and Political Legitimacy
Bourgeois Marxism
Dialectical Materialism
Class and Species Subjectivity
Critique of Ideology
Personalism and Marxism

Conclusion: An Evaluation of Personalism as Political Theory


The Problem of Transformation
The Problem of Value Perception





Primary Works
Secondary Literature


Name Index

Subject Index


Martin Heidegger cited him as "the most potent philosophical power . .. in all of contemporary philosophy. " Ortega y Gasset called him "the first man of genius, the Adam of the new Paradise. " Writing at a crucial time in intellectual history, his influence has extended to persons as diverse as Dietrich von Hildebrand, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Karol Wojtyla, Jurgen Habermas, Ernst Bloch, and members of the generation of thinkers that developed in the German universities during the Weimar years. Despite this far-reaching impact, the social theory and philosophy of Max Scheler have never been examined for the significance of their political thought.

This book opens the possibility of deriving a contemporary political theory from Scheler's philosophy and social theory, based on his understanding of the person, the community, and the significant new directions these elements suggest. Standing at some distance from modern liberalism, conservatism, and Marxism, both in their bourgeois and Enlightenment varieties, Scheler's personalism has its roots in the rich admixture of life philosophy and phenomenology that gave rise to Martin Heidegger's early philosophy. It is a philosophical anthropology founded on Scheler's own realist phenomenology, sociology of knowledge, and non-formal ethics.

The book considers Scheler's many works and includes translations and reviews of unpublished materials. It includes an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary name sources.

Stephen Schneck teaches in the Department of Politics, The Catholic University of America.