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The Nature of Sympathy explores, at different levels, the social emotions of fellow-feeling, the sense of identity, love and hatred, and traces their relationship to one another and to the values with which they are associated. Scheler criticizes other writers, from Adam Smith to Freud, who have argued that the sympathetic emotions derive from self-interested feelings or instincts. He reviews the evaluations of love and sympathy current in different historical periods and in different social and religious environments, and concludes by outlining a theory of fellow-feeling as the primary source of our knowledge of one another.

A prolific writer and a stimulating thinker, Max Scheler ranks second only to Husserl as a leading member of the German phenomenological school. Scheler's work lies mostly in the fields of ethics, politics, sociology, and religion. He looked to the emotions, believing them capable, in their own quality, of revealing the nature of the objects, and more especially the values, to which they are in principle directed.

"Scheler's book is in many ways important and great. The questions raised and the method followed are important: modern British thought with its crude use and abuse of the "emotive theory" could do well with a systematic study of the emotions which might show them up as complex intentional structures, and which might rely as much on the phenomenological insights of a Scheler, as on the behaviouristic flair of Gilbert Ryle."--J.N. Findlay, Mind

Max Scheler (1874-1928) was a professor of philosophy and sociology at the University of Cologne and was best known for his work in phenomenology, ethics, and philosophical anthropology.

Peter Heath (1920-2002) was a professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia and was former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America.

Werner Stark (1910-1985) was professor of sociology at Fordham University. He is recognized for his work in sociology of religion, social theory, and sociology of knowledge.

Graham McAleer is professor of philosophy and co-chair of the Catholic Social Thought Committee at Loyola College in Maryland.

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