Dan Zahavi

A Report from the XIII International Conference of the Max Scheler Gesellschaft

Verona, 27-30th May 2015

Maria Chiara Bruttomesso

The XIII International Max Scheler Conference has just come to end in Verona, Italy, graciously hosted by the University of Verona. Introduced by the Head of the Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology of the host university, Luigina Mortari, and the President of the Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft, Guido Cusinato, the Conference revealed from the start a new attempt to confront Scheler’s phenomenology with the current debates on the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of emotions.

The main subject was “Ordo Amoris and World-Openness. Philosophy of Emotions and Process of Individuation of the Person” and a major achievement was a new and productive exchange with some contemporary phenomenological approaches on empathy, intersubjectivity and the lived-body (Leib and Leibschema), also thanks to the participation of prominent representatives such as Dan Zahavi (Copenhagen) and Roberta De Monticelli (Milan). As the President of the Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft, Guido Cusinato, highlighted in his talk, this renewal also meant an attempt to shed new light on Scheler’s Philosophy, in particular by proposing an interpretation of his last period, alternative to the one of the metaphysical dualism of Geist und Drang. The direction is that of an Emotional Turn in which the concepts of Bildung of the human being, of the “care of the desire” and of the “cultivation of emotions” and values play a preeminent role in the transformation (Umbildung) of a person and a society as the expressive encounter with otherness.

A special session focused on a comparison between Scheler’s social ontology of feelings and the contemporary debate on collective intentionality, with presentations and discussions by Hans Bernhard Schmid (Vienna), Francesca De Vecchi (Milan), Alessandro Salice (Copenhagen), Emanuele Caminada (Cologne), Íngrid Vendrell Ferran (Marburg). The participants to the other sessions of the conference were prominent speakers from all over the world, such as Joachim Fischer (Dresden), Hans Rainer Sepp (Prague), Michael Gabel (Erfurt), Wolfhart Henckmann (Munich), Eugene Kelly (New York), Michele Averchi (Washington), Søren Engelsen (Southern Denmark, Odense), Roberta Guccinelli (Lucca), Liangkang Ni (Guangzhou), Wei Zhang (Guangzhou), Leonardo Rodríguez Duplá (Madrid), Günter Fröhlich (Ulm), Robert Zaborowski (Warsaw), Matthias Schlossberger (Potsdam), Marco Russo (Salerno), Mikhail Khorkov (Moscow), Zachary Davis (New York).

After three days’ talks, the last phase was devoted to young scholars’ presentations, selected by a call for papers, as it is the Gesellschaft’s aim to encourage new researches on Scheler by young philosophers. Such scholars were Evrim Kutlu (University of Cologne), Friedrich Hausen (University of Dresden), Riku Yokoyama (University of Freiburg), Jiaxin Wang (University of Freiburg), Adriana Alfaro Altamirano (University of Harvard), Alexey Zhavoronkov (Humboldt University of Berlin).

During the Society’s meeting, Guido Cusinato has been unanimously re-elected as President. The Executive Board (Vorstand) has been also confirmed, with Michael Gabel in the role of vice-president and Sabine-Maria Kuchta as the Society’s secretary. The Scientific Board of the Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft was renewed with the election of Zachary Davis (St. John’s University, New York) and Olivier Agard (University of Paris-Sorbonne).

The next International Max Scheler Conference, concerning Scheler’s concept of Ausgleich and interculturality, will be organized by Prof. Dr. Liangkang Ni most probably in November, 2017 and will be held at the SunYat-Sen University, Guangzhou (China).


XIII International Conference of Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft (Verona, 27-30th May 2015)

Ordo amoris and World-openness

Philosophy of Emotion and Process of Individuation of the Person

 XIII International Conference of Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft

University of Verona

Via S. Francesco, Aula T5, 27-30th May 2015






The perception of the importance of emotions changed radically during the decade from 1987 to 1996. This was particularly due to some works that reached the general public, such as R. De Sousa (1987), A. Damasio (1994), D. Goleman (1995) and J. LeDoux (1996). Before 1987 the dominant idea was that emotions were the tardy and secon­dary result of cognitive activity. At the beginning of the twentieth century an important exception was represented by Max Scheler’s phenomenology of emotions, to whom the Conference is dedicated. We can attempt to sum up his position in six main points: 1. Feelings and emotions are not the final result of a cognitive process, on the contrary they are the origin of every perceptive and cognitive process: in the beginning was the emotion. In this sense, «every primary relationship with the world […] is essentially and primarily not a representational or perceptive relationship, but an emotional relationship» (M. Scheler, Formalismus, GW II, 206); 2. Feelings and emotions are not confined to a solipsistic dimension. They are what Feelings and emotions are not confined to a solipsistic dimension. They are what allows us to get into contact with others and make empathy possible. Through the act of feeling we are able to have a direct perception of the other person’s expressivity, without the need for an argument from analogy. In the other’s smile we can perceive his intentions and his happiness directly (M. Scheler, Zur Phänomenologie und Theorie der Sympathiegefühle von Liebe und Hass, 1913); 3. Feelings and emotions are not inner and private states, but they give shape to a precise “emotional bre­akthrough” (emotioneller Durchbruch) into reality: by which the human being places his own existence in the world. In fact emotions draw the landscape of our experience, they let shapes and irregularities emerge and outline elevations and abysses where only a flat and colourless plain would have existed (M. Scheler, Zur Rehabilitierung der Tugend, 1913); 4. In the human being feelings are not regulated au­tomatically. The development of an ordo amoris is a process that is not prearranged from the start, but on the contrary requires a formation process (Bildung). In this process of affective formation, every human being ushers in their singularity. Each ordo amoris matches a different perspective on World-Opennes (Weltoffenheit) (M. Scheler, Ordo amoris, 1916 ca.); 5. There is not an immediate feeling at the roots of ethics, but an act of feeling that takes shape in a maturation process aimed at transcending the self-referential horizon of one’s own egological pole (epoché from egocentrism and narcissism). This act of feeling deals with the objectivity of value judgments just as the external perception deals with that of factual judgments, and is affected by phenomena of illusion just as the external perception. In contrast with Brentano, there isn’t therefore a priority of inner perception over external perception: even feeling and emotions are affected by phenomena of illusion and deception. This means that, at the core of the phenomenology of feelings, there is the problem of emotional maturity (M. Scheler, Die Idole der Selbsterkenntnis, 1911); 6. To rehabilitate emotions doesn’t imply an individualistic ‘emotionalism’: the rehabilitation of emotions is not aimed at the exaltation of an immediate act of feeling, but at the process of cultivation of emotions that leads to self-transcending of the immediate act of feeling through virtue (M. Scheler, Zur Rehabilitierung der Tugend, 1913). The aim of this conference is to deal with the above-mentioned issues, keeping in mind the present debates, in particular the ones about personal identity, about the phenomenology of otherness, about the concepts of body schema and body image and about the we-intentionality. For some scholars, there is also a need to emphasize the limits of classical cognitivism concerning emotions. David Hume had already proved that the problem of personal identity can no longer be understood in terms of a “rational self”, but should only start from passions, i.e. in terms of a “moral self”. Hence, a sequence of open questions: in what way does emotional experience affect the individuation process of a person? In what way are individual transformation and social transformation intermingled? In what way do feelings guide our relation with the world and with otherness? In what way do emotions allow us to express and shape what we are?



Wednesday, May 27th

9.30 Opening Greetings by Luigina Mortari (Head of the Department of Philosophy, Education and Psychology, University of Verona) and Guido Cusinato (President of Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft) Session 1: The forces leading to the individuation of a person: intersubjectivity, body schema and emotions (Aula T5) 10.00-13.00 Shaun Gallagher, What Romeo saw in Juliet’s face Dan Zahavi, Husserl, Stein and Scheler on Empathy and Selfhood Roberta De Monticelli, The Sensible Reason. Outline of a Phenomenology of Feeling 13.00-14.30 lunch 14.30-16.00 Guido Cusinato, Im Anfang war die Emotion/In the beginning was emotion Joachim Fischer Der „Emotional Turn“ in den Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften aus der Perspektive Max Schelers 16.30-18.00 Hans Rainer Sepp,  „Schöpfung des Geistes in die wolkenhafte Materie der Empfindung“ Schelers Theorie von der Sublimierung des Lebens Christian Bermes, Individualität und Personalität in der Praktischen Philosophie

Thursday, May 28th

Session 2: Scheler’s Social Ontology of Feelings (Aula T5) 9.30-11.00 Hans Bernhard Schmid, Shared Feelings Francesca De Vecchi Gesamtpserson: some crucial issues in Max Scheler’s social ontology 11.30-13.30 Alessandro Salice, Collective Intentionality and the We-perspective. A Schelerian Approach Emanuele Caminada, Relativ natürliche Weltanschauung & common sense Ingrid Vendrell Ferran, Kollektive affektive Intentionalität bei Max Scheler   Session 3: Scheler and Contemporary Philosophy (Aula T5) 15.00-16.30 Michael Gabel, Die Phänomenalität des Verborgenen. Überlegungen zur Erfahrbarkeit der Person Wolfhart Henckmann, Schelers Anthropologie in der zeitgenössischen Kritik


Members Meeting of Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft (Aula T5)

Friday, May 29th

Session 4: Aula 2.2 9.30-11.00 Zachary Davis, Max Scheler on the Embodiment of Values Daniele Bruzzone, Max Scheler’s concept of Bildung and the affective core of education 11.30-13.00 Michele Averchi, The Role of Idleness in Bildung Søren Engelsen, Max Scheler and Contemporary Metaethics. 13.00-14.30 lunch 14.30-16.00 Roberta Guccinelli, Value-Feelings and Disvalue-Feelings. A Phenomenological Approach to Self-Knowledge. Wei Zhang, Einsfühlung bei Scheler und im späteren Konfuzianismus– Eine phänomenologische und interkulturelle Untersuchung 16.30-17.15 Ni Liangkang, Die Streitfrage über Unmittelbarkeit bzw. Mittelbarkeit der interpersonalen Erfahrung bei Scheler und Husserl.   Session 5: aula 2.3 9.30-11.00 Leonardo Rodríguez Duplá, Schelers Begründung seiner Lehre vom Primat der Liebe. Günter Fröhlich, Individuelle Lebensordnung und Weltbezug. Die Frage nach dem „guten Leben“ in Schelers Ordo Amoris 11.30-13.00 Jaromir Brejdak, “Nicht ich sondern Christus in mir”. Das Vorbilden der menschlichen Identität aus der Sicht Max Schelers Robert Zaborowsky, Plato and Scheler on affective world 13.00-14.30 lunch 14.30-16.00 Matthias Schlossberger, Die weltöffnende Bedeutung des Fühlens. Über die Konsequenzen von Schelers Theorie der Gefühle für die Erkenntnistheorie und die Ethik. Marco Russo, Philosophische Kosmologie 16.30-18.00 Mikhail Khorkov, Zu Max Schelers Konzeption des emotionalen Apriori. Eugene Kelly, Das Schicksal des Personenbegriffs im Spätwerk Schelers

Saturday, May 30th

Session 6: aula 2.2 9.30-11.00 Evrim Kutlu, Liebe-Bildung-Person: Die Bedeutung der Bildung im Mensch- und Gottwerdungsprozess Friedrich Hausen, Affektives Erfassen von Bedeutsamkeit. Überlegungen zu Schelers Wertfühlen vor dem Hintergrund neuerer Debatten 11.30-13.00 Riku Yokoyama, Liebe als Kommunikationsform in der intimen Sphäre Jiaxin Wang, Die „Hyle“ – phänomenologisch oder anthropologisch gesehen? Session 7: Aula 2.3 9.30-11.00 Sophie Adler, Wie handelt der geistige Mensch? Max Scheler zur Rolle von Leiblichkeit und Personalität für das menschliche Handeln Alfaro Altamirano, Max Scheler and Adam Smith on Sympathy and the Voice of Conscience 11.30-13.00 Enrique Muñoz, Liebe und Angst. Phänomenologie der Emotionen in Scheler und Heidegger Alexey Zhavoronkov, Scheler und Nietzsche über das Mitleid: Ein zweiter Blick