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Edith Stein and the philosophical history of the debate between idealism and realism in phenomenology

Grant number: 16/09096-9
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): January 02, 2017
Effective date (End): July 01, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Principal researcher:Juvenal Savian Filho
Grantee:Juvenal Savian Filho
Host: Jean-Francois Lavigne
Home Institution: Escola de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (EFLCH). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Guarulhos. Guarulhos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3, France  

Abstract

From the period of time when Edith Stein was Edmund Husserl's assistant until the final phase of her own philosophy, Stein repeatedly approached the debate between idealism and realism in Phenomenology, even if she has shown the impracticability of this discussion precisely in a phenomenological context. In fact, from a sort of "realistic expectation", she changed her position, in order to endorse the transcendental idealism, even when she was inspired by some medieval philosophical forms, especially the thoughts of Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. Such transcendental idealism, she argued, was a necessary or logical consequence of Phenomenology, in a way that there wasn't a necessary gap between Husserl's Logical Investigations and Ideas for a pure Phenomenology and phenomenological Philosophy. The reasons for Edith Stein's repeated insistence on this debate - not declaring herself "idealist" or "realist" - do not seem to come from her knowledge of medieval authors, but due to her attempt to understand Husserl's thought whilst also from her critical dialogue with Neothomism, which considered Phenomenology a mere phenomenalism. Edith Stein did not accept a similar interpretation. She sought other ways to justify what she considered a convergence of medieval forms of thoughts and Phenomenology. One of these ways was to derail this debate and discredit the award of a medieval thinkers' non-critical realism. This research project aims to clarify Edith Stein's transcendental idealism. In doing so, it intends to evaluate the meaning of the last phase of her philosophy, which allows to point to the complexity of interpretations of Husserl's thoughts by the first generation of his readers. (AU)

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