American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 97, Issue 1, Winter 2023

Joseph Gamache
Pages 75-99

Von Hildebrand, Scheler, and Marcel on Interpreting One’s Friends

It is generally accepted that truth is a norm of belief and that, whatever else this might mean, it implies that a person is obligated to believe a proposition only if it is true. Yet this seems to conflict with the norms by which friends form beliefs about each other. For instance, if friends are required to practice interpretive charity in the formation of their beliefs about each other, obligations to believe propositions that are false might arise. In this paper, I assume that there is some such obligation of interpretive charity, and I investigate whether it may be reconciled with the truth-norm. I take for my starting point an account of interpretive charity from the work of Dietrich von Hildebrand, which I develop by critical retrieval of related works by Max Scheler and Gabriel Marcel. The paper concludes that Marcel’s thought on fidelity and reflection is best suited to complete von Hildebrand’s account in such a way as to achieve the sought-after reconciliation of the norms of truth and friendship