American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 91, Issue 4, Fall 2017

Dietrich von Hildebrand

Fritz Wenisch
Pages 607-621

Phenomenological Realism, Pre-Theoretical Awareness of Philosophical Objects, and Theoretical Views about Them

First, the chief method and object of philosophy as phenomenological realism understands it will be explained. Second, I turn to Dietrich von Hildebrand’s distinction between a person’s awareness of philosophical objects based on that person’s lived contact with the world and his or her theories about these objects. I emphasize that there is to be an organic transition between these two levels of awareness but that this organic transition is often missing, as in the case of non-philosophers who uncritically adopt theoretical views without paying attention to what reality has “told” them about itself, as well as in the case of philosophers. I will show that often, the absence of this organic transition leads to contradictions between what a person is aware of pre-theoretically and that very same person’s theoretical views. Thus, it is of crucial importance to pay attention to what is immediately given.