Volume 91, Issue 4, Fall 2017
Dietrich von Hildebrand
The Island Community of Spinalonga Seen in the Light of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Phenomenology of Community
The paper aims at a phenomenological clarification of the “island community” category in the light of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s metaphysics of community. I begin with presenting a brief social history of the Spinalonga leprosarium as a model of an island community; then follows a sketch of some of the main findings made by the German philosopher concerning community per se (as presented in his Metaphysik der Gemeinschaft), and finally an attempt is made to explain the place of island communities in Hildebrand’s hierarchy of communities. I aim to show that an island community should be taken as a special example of what he calls a life circle (Lebenskreis). It is special because it somehow transcends the “primitiveness” imposed by Hildebrand on Lebenskreise in general, as a result of being rooted in a serious realm of value and meaning (Sinn- und Wertbereich).