Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall/Automne 2012
Husserl and the Göttingen Circle
The Values of War and Peace
Max Scheler’s Political Transformations
Max Scheler’s contribution to the early development of phenomenology is second to only Edmund Husserl’s. What perhaps distinguishes Scheler’s early contribution is his willingness to examine phenomenologically social and political phenomena. Not only did this early trajectory lead him to develop a non-formal value theory, but it also enabled him to engage directly in the political problems of his time. Like many of his contemporary intellectuals, Scheler was an adamant
supporter of German aggression during the onset of World War I, and he wrote many works during this time demonstrating the value and justification of the war. In only a few years’ time, Scheler’s position on the value of war shifted dramatically and he began to defend a position of peace and pacifism. The aim of this paper is twofold: (1) to clarify the early themes and influences in phenomenology that prepared Scheler for his analysis of war and peace; and (2) to illustrate
how Scheler’s analysis offers the possibility of concretising the present experience of war and the possibility of peace.