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Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall/Automne 2012

Husserl and the Göttingen Circle

Angela Ales Bello, Antonio Calcagno
Pages 20-33

What Is Life? The Contributions of Hedwig Conrad-Martius and Edith Stein

The phenomenological movement originates with Edmund Husserl, and two of his young students and collaborators, Edith Stein and Hedwig Conrad-Martius, made a notable contribution to the very delineation of the phenomenological method, which pushed phenomenology in a “realistic” direction. This essay seeks to examine the decisive influence that these two thinkers had on two specific areas: the value of the sciences and certain metaphysical questions. Concerning the former, I maintain that Stein, departing from a philosophical, phenomenological analysis of the human being, is interested particularly in the formation of the cognitive value of the human sciences. Regarding the latter, Conrad-Martius, given her knowledge of biology, tackled the question of the role and meaning of the sciences of nature. The second question, related to metaphysical themes, became a specific and relevant object of research for both women phenomenologists. It will be investigated by comparing two works, one by each thinker, namely, the Metaphysische Gespräche by Conrad-Martius and Potenz und Akt by Edith Stein.

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