Edward Baring: Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of Continental Philosophy

Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of Continental Philosophy Book Cover Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of Continental Philosophy
Edward Baring
Harvard University Press
Hardback $49.95

Reviewed by: Elad Lapidot (University of Bern)

Is Catholicism a Religion?

Over the last decades, scholars have increasingly called into question the universal validity of the category “religion” as referring to a supposed ahistorical constant domain of all human mind and civilization, the domain of faith. The claim has characteristically been that, even though nowadays we often speak and think of religion this way, both in everyday life and in scholarship, in fact our notion of religion is a historical construct. This conceptual construct, so the claim, is fashioned after a specific cultural tradition, the Christian West, which, as part of obtaining or preserving its global epistemic hegemony, has asserted its own culture – Christianity – as a universal and superior feature of human nature as such: religion. Consequently, all cultures would have their religions: the Jewish, the Greek, the Chinese, the Indian, the Aztec, which could therefore be compared and evaluated in view of the underlying paradigm – and ultimate paragon – of religion, Christianity.

This sort of critique of religion is commonly deployed in postcolonial-like discourses, which confront the Christian West with its non-Christian others. Could the same critique apply within Christianity itself (West vs. East) or even within the Western? Wouldn’t the construct “religion” arise not only from a geo-political bias, i.e. the West, but also from a chrono-political bias, i.e. Modernity? And if so, wouldn’t it give effect and perpetuate a bias within the Christian West, namely in favor of modern Christianity, marked by Protestantism and Secularism, so as to undermine premodern, Catholic forms of Christian civilization? Is Catholicism a religion?

There is much in Baring’s intriguing new book to suggest that Catholicism is in fact not primarily a religion, but a philosophy, or even – philosophy. The main theme of the book is continental philosophy, whose center according to Baring is phenomenology. Its explicit concern is intellectual and institutional genealogy, “the Making of Continental Philosophy”, namely how a specific direction in 20th century philosophy, phenomenology, has been able to transform “from a provincial philosophy in southwest Germany into a movement that spanned Europe” (2), and so to become “continental”. Here and elsewhere in the book, Baring highlights the political significance of epistemic constellations, underlying the transnational, pan-European character of phenomenology as “continental” philosophy. His own historiography performatively turns away from national narratives (phenomenology in France, Husserl in Spain, Heidegger in Italy etc.) in search of a more transnational, universal ground. The movement that spread Husserl’s word among the nations (“the single most important explanation for the international success of phenomenology in the twentieth century”, 5), Baring suggests, is the one that goes under the name of the universal itself, the catholicos, Catholicism. Catholicism is the principal agent in this continental, transnational, catholic historiography of philosophy.

It is somewhat paradoxical that Baring’s professed transnational perspective nonetheless preliminary features phenomenology as belonging to “southwest Germany”, namely as originally particular, which accordingly begs the question of its continental success. According to this logic, this transnational success can only be accounted for by something beyond phenomenology itself, something more European, more universal, which would be Catholicism. However, in what sense would phenomenological philosophy itself not be sufficiently universal to account for its own universal spread? In what sense is Catholicism more obviously universal, and what explains its own international success, beyond the province of Rome?

Be that as it may, the notion of success, namely the ability of philosophy or thought, the ability of ideas, to obtain and expand their hold on the world, on reality, is central to Baring’s project. The primary transnational feature of Catholicism that the book foregrounds is its global institutional presence. Next to the transnational and universal, “catholic” historiographic perspective, Baring’s study accommodates Catholicism also in focusing on the worldly reality of the Church. The Catholicism that, as the book suggests, carried phenomenology across the continent is first and foremost a “network of philosophers and theologians that stretched across Europe” (7); “we can speak of ‘continental philosophy’ because phenomenology could tap into the networks of a Church that already operated on a continental scale” (11).

The story of “making” continental philosophy, as told in the book, is indeed concerned less with conceptual genealogy of ideas and more with how they spread. It’s a story of thought as an inter-personal, inter-institutional happening, where events of thinking take place between works, between thinkers. The great individual names of phenomenology – Husserl, Heidegger, Scheler, the “phenomenological trinity” Baring calls them (6) – are there, but they function as basic coordinates for describing the real plot, which is scholarship. Primary and secondary literatures switch here places. The main protagonists of this book are neither the great names nor the great book, but their less known scholarly recipients, the clerics, who read, translate, introduce, interpret, discuss and institutionalize ideas, convene conferences and found archives, journals and schools. Most importantly, and this is one of the great achievements of this book, the history of thought is told through formative debates, such that polemics – and with it politics – is posited at the heart of epistemology, a real at the heart of the ideal. Could polemics too – next to transnationalism and institutionalism – count as Catholic heritage?

At any event, Baring tells continental philosophy’s church history, and according to him the early church of phenomenology was Catholic. To quote some impressive facts:

“self-professed Catholic philosophers produced more than 40 percent of all books and articles on Husserl, Heidegger, and Scheler written in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch in the period before World War II, making Catholic phenomenology by far the largest constituent part of the early European reception” (8-9);

“Within Europe, phenomenology has been most successful in Catholic countries, while tending to skip, at least at first, the Protestant strongholds of Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. Across the Atlantic, it has flourished in Latin America and at Catholic universities in the United States, such as Notre Dame, Boston College, DePaul, and Duquesne. The geography of phenomenology is best described, not by the contours of mainland Europe, but by the reach of the ‘universal Church’.” (11).

What is certain, in Baring’s account Catholicism does not just function as a contingent carrier of phenomenological philosophy, a vessel which would remain external to the content that it spreads. The Church is not simply a vehicle for Husserl’s word. The network of catholic intellectuals and institutions does not feature in this book as a mere logistical structure, but as the institutional embodiment of its intellectual content, of thought. Is Catholicism a religion? In this book, the Catholic emerges primarily as a philosophy. Insofar as Catholicism accounts for making phenomenology the philosophy of the European continent, Baring argues, it is because “before existentialism and before phenomenology, the first continental philosophy of the twentieth century was Catholic.” (19)

What is Catholic philosophy? This question is not really developed in the book, which has a very clear answer: medieval scholastic philosophy as it has been oriented by the works of Thomas Aquinas, namely Thomism. In the relevant period for the book, the first decades of the 20th century, Catholic philosophy consisted in the attempt to renew Thomism, namely in neo-Thomism or neo-scholasticism, which according to Baring was in these decades “the largest and most influential philosophical movement in the world” (8). Neo-Thomism was global philosophy, which makes one wonder about the reason it was only able to turn phenomenology “continental”, but no more than that. Neo-Thomism, as Baring portrays it, had set to itself a daring task. It translated medieval philosophy into modern terms not in order to modernize this philosophy, but, on the contrary, in order to effect “a philosophical conversion of modernity, a movement from modern to medieval metaphysics” (14). Neo-Thomism was the Catholic mission to the Moderns, aiming to reconvert modernity “back to Catholicism” (ibid.).

“Conversion” is a key word in Baring’s book. It is the basic description of the intellectual event that it portrays, and the plot is articulated by the personal conversions – official or not – of the protagonists. What was the nature of the conversion “back to Catholicism”, which neo-Thomists were trying to generate? The answer to this question lies at the heart of Baring’s historiographic thesis: it designates the ultimate purpose of Catholic, neo-Thomist philosophy, explains why phenomenology was deemed useful for Catholic intellectuals to pursue this purpose and so would account for why Catholicism helped phenomenology to its continental and international success.

Were neo-Thomists interested in converting modernity, modern thought and philosophy, from secularism or atheism back to religion? Obviously, as already indicated, neo-scholasticism was not looking to promote “religion” in its modern, paradigmatically Protestant or secular sense. But furthermore, Baring most often does not describe Catholic thought in terms of religion or what is commonly – in modern discourse – associated with religion as a special domain, of faith, transcendent God, holiness, spirituality etc., in short, as a different domain than secular, atheological or even atheistic philosophy.

On the contrary: neo-Thomism was looking to renew Thomism, for which, as described by Baring, theology implied worldly thought. Catholic thinkers “were convinced that the world incarnated a divine order, and that the institution of the Catholic Church was the worldly locus of redemption” (14); God is present in “His effects in the world” (30), such that faith is deemed “the perfection of natural knowledge” (29). The goal of Neo-Thomists was accordingly, among others, to connect Catholicism to science, natural science: by going back to Aquinas they were trying to reconnect with Aristotle. In other words, whether or not Catholicism was interested, in the first decades of the 20th century, in renewing something like religion, in Baring’s book Catholic philosophy emerges as a powerful agent for the renewal of Aristotelian philosophy, which historically speaking is perhaps nothing but Western philosophy, or philosophy tout court. Just as philosophy’s first and ultimate concern is with Being, Baring’s Catholicism is concerned with “the Real”.

“The Real” is the central concept of Baring’s narrative, which thus connects the contemporary discourse on philosophy and religion with the contemporary philosophical conversation on realism. Explicating this connection may have been a useful way for Baring to provide a more precise explanation of what he understands by “the Real”. Considering the pivotal centrality of this concept for the book’s argument, it remains rather vague and sometimes ambivalent. In fact, its basic significance in this book seems to be above all polemic, in that it designates what neo-scholasticism, seeking to renew medieval, premodern philosophy, was asserting against modern thought. Indeed, throughout the book, Catholic positions are characterized in various ways as opposing the negation of realism by modern philosophy, namely as opposition to the idealism, relativism and subjectivism that would characterize modern thought.

That non-realism (a negation of or distance from the Real) is constitutive to modern philosophy, is a decisive presupposition of Baring’s project. The exact significance of this presupposed non-realism or idealism remains as much an open question as the exact meaning of “the Real”. If the supposed non-realism of modern philosophy means detachment from the worldly and natural order, in favor of some dimension of transcendence, of some supernatural or transcendental subjectivity, will or spirit, this would mean that modern thought, far from being secular and “worldly”, has rather become closer to religion, as a relation to the unworldly. This kind of analysis no doubt sits well with accounts of modernity, such as Hans Jonas’, as arising from man’s liberation from and subsequent domination of nature (NB: not against but precisely through modern, technological science), which would resemble or even be the avatar of ancient Gnosticism, religion of the Alien God. Neo-Thomism, working to effect on modernity a – as the title of Baring’s book reads – “Conversion to the Real”, which is actually a re-conversion, a movement back to the world, would accordingly be the modern permutation of the same anti-heresiological movement that for someone like Hans Blumenberg, for instance, accounted for the emergence of Christian doctrine. This movement may be described less as a conversion from philosophy to religion than as a conversion from religion back to philosophy, from faith back to reason.

Converting modern philosophy to the Real was in any case, so Baring, the missionary goal of neo-scholasticism in the first decades of the 20th century. It is for this mission that Catholic networks identified phenomenology as suitable and for this purpose they “made” it continental. The reason that phenomenology was found by neo-Thomist to be such a suitable discourse for deploying the conversion of non-realist modern philosophy to realism, Baring argues, is that phenomenological thought, to begin with Husserl’s notion of intentionality (consciousness is always of an object), was identified as an anti-idealist movement back to the Real within modern philosophy itself, so to speak a spontaneous movement of self-conversion: “phenomenological intentionality seemed to bypass the distortions of idealism and provide access to the mind-independent real. For neo-scholastics, phenomenology could help secular thinkers recognize God’s order in the world.” (14) How exactly neo-scholastic thinkers and institutions tried to achieve this goal, their more or less successful negotiations – and debates – among themselves, with phenomenology, as well as vis-à-vis other Catholic, Protestant and non-religious intellectual currents, and how all this contributed to the making of continental philosophy – this is the story told by Baring’s rich book.

One basic and far-reaching insight of Baring concerns the ambivalent nature of conversion: the shift from one conception to another at the same time connects both conceptions and thus opens the way to a counter-conversion, from the second conception to the first. Conversions work “in both directions” (16). This insight may be deemed as a structural principle that regulates – and complicates – basic dynamics in the history of thought, something like the Third Law of Intellectual Motion. It seems to be particularly significant in conversions that are not just spontaneous, but induced, namely in conversion projects, in missionary movements.With respect to the neo-Thomist mission to convert modern philosophy “back to Catholicism”, in order to do so it established “the Real” as a connection between modern phenomenology and medieval scholasticism, which would serve as a passage from the former to the latter. As Baring shows, however, this passage also facilitated the inverse movement, to the effect that the bridge built between Thomism and phenomenology also served Catholic thinkers to cross to the other side and to “break with Roman Catholicism” (15). The paradigmatic example discussed by Baring is Heidegger.

What is however the meaning of this counter-conversion, away from Catholicism, which according to Baring has become so prevalent in post-WWII phenomenology so as to completely obliterate its early Catholic years? Would it be that phenomenology, and continental philosophy, was moving away from religion, towards secular and atheistic thought? Is Catholicism religion? The question of religion, as already noted, interestingly does not explicitly frame the narrative of the book, which foregrounds instead the debate of realism vs. idealism. Catholicism is realism, but is it therefore more or less a religion?

It is only in the Epilog that Baring directly addresses the question of religion. “Continental philosophy today is haunted by religion” (343): the famous return to religion, a contemporary conversion – or perhaps even a contemporary mission? By whom – to whom? Is Baring’s book a part of this project, namely facilitating the passage from contemporary continental philosophy to religion by recalling how it was Catholicism that originally “made” phenomenology into continental philosophy? The “religious specters” that “haunt” continental philosophy today, Baring argues, indeed arise from its “family history”, namely phenomenology’s transmission to the world as it was “passed down through Catholic scholars” (344), so to speak phenomenology’s Catholic womb. The current return to religion in continental philosophy is connected to its Catholic heritage.

However, according to Baring’s further insight into the Third Law of Intellectual Movement, just as conversion is not only unidirectional, inheritance too is not simply linear. He points out that intellectual inheritance may pass on not just positive, affirmative doctrines, but also negative positions, what he terms “negative inheritance” (347). According to Baring’s analysis, it is by way of “negative inheritance” that phenomenology’s Catholic past, namely neo-Thomism, continues to operate within continental philosophy’s return to religion. In other words, Catholicism, as portrayed in Baring’s book, is present in this contemporary return to religion not as the positive agent, not as the agent of religion, but on the contrary in the negative, anti-religious positions – more specifically in their realism.

He brings the example of Quentin Meillassoux, who “presents himself as a rationalist ally to the natural sciences, seeking to reinvigorate realism after a period of idealist hegemony. Meillassoux is aware of his proximity to Thomism, which he defines as ‘the progressive rationalization of Judeo-Christianity under the influence of Greek philosophy’”. (348) Baring’s conclusion: “The atheist scourge of much contemporary continental philosophy appears as the inverted image of those Catholic thinkers who helped make philosophy continental in the first place.” (ibid.)  It is not in the return to religion but rather in the resistance to this return that current continental philosophy would be inspired by Catholicism, which consequently operates, at least in this context, not as a religion, but as anti-religion.


Synopsis of the Book:

Baring’s story is told in three chronological parts, which concern three different periods in the early history of phenomenology in its reception by Catholic scholars: 1900-1930, 1930-1940 and 1940-1950. The narrative is organized by another triad, three main figures of early German phenomenology, the “phenomenological trinity”: Husserl, Heidegger and Scheler, and the debates around them.

Part I, “Neo-Scholastic Conversion. 1900-1930” deals with the immediate Catholic reception of German phenomenology. Baring traces back the initial reception to a specific current within neo-Thomism, “progressive Thomism”, promoted by the Louvain School of Léon Noël, head of the Institut supérieur de Philosophie. Progressive Thomism was oriented by the work of Cardinal Désiré Mercier (Critériologie), who translated Thomist realism into the discourse of epistemology. This anti-Kantian epistemology was the site of early Catholic reception of Husserl, as told in Chapters 1 and 2. The first reception referred to The Logical Investigations of 1900-1901 and was enthusiastic, as Husserl’s anti-psychological notions, such as intentionality (which goes back through Brentano to scholasticism) and categorical intuition, appeared to secure epistemic access to “the objective order of the world” (40). “For Catholics around Europe, reading Husserl’s Logical Investigations was a revelation”, Baring writes (48). Modern philosophy’s “conversion to the Real” was celebrated by scholars such as Jospeh Geyser, Erich Przywara and the Milan School’s Agostino Gemelli, and even existentially performed through a personal conversion, such as by Edith Stein, to whom phenomenology has showen “the way into ‘the majestic temple of scholastic thought’” (75). All the more disappointing was Husserl’s return to the transcendental consciousness in his Ideen of 1913. The second reception identified in Husserl a second, reversed conversion, from realism back to idealism, which “was experienced by neo-scholastics as a betrayal— both of Husserl’s earlier work and, by implication, of their own project” (61).

Chapter 3 follows the intellectual development of early Heidegger, a phenomenological convert away from Catholicism. Influenced by Joseph Geyser, young Heidegger, “a progressive scholastic” (88), in his 1913 dissertation embraced Husserl’s anti-Psychologism, and in his 1916 Habilitaiton on Dun Scotus, the “pinnacle of Heidegger’s neo-scholastic period” (97), formulated a meaning-based realism. The disengagement is signaled in 1917, as Heidegger stated that Catholicism “forgot religion for theology and dogma” and looked for religious experience in Christian mysticism, Augustine and Protestants from Luther, Otto, Overbeck, Kierkegaard, Dilthey and Schleiermacher. Being and Time of 1927, so Baring’s perceptive analysis, features a curious atheism based on “two confessional strands” (113): Catholic ontology, but no longer perennis, and Protestant Dasein-analysis, but indifferent to faith.

Chapter 4 traces a similar dynamic with respect to Max Scheler, extending the plot from theory to ethics and politics. Scheler’s 1913 Formalism in Ethics provided a phenomenological access (Wert-nehmen, axiological intuition) to an “objective order of value” (140) and his personalism, the notion of Gesamtperson, gave this ethics a socio-political embodiment. Both combined offered practical philosophy to Catholic social revival and anti-liberal, anti-bourgeois, anti-capitalist corporatism. Carl Muth’s influential Catholic magazine Hochland celebrated Scheler as “Black Nietzsche” (124) and intellectuals followed him in his early WWI patriotism, growing distance from nationalism and anti-republicanism in Weimar, such as Paul-Ludwig Landsberg’s “conservative revolution” (137). Disenchantment manifested itself, on the Catholic side, in doubts raised by neo-scholastics, such as Przywara, as to Scheler’s too heavy reliance on human intuition and emotional intentionality, and on Scheler’s side, in the pantheistic turn of his late work (1928, The Human Place in the Cosmos).

Part II, “Existential Journeys 1930-1940”, describes how, beyond its initial reception by neo-scholasticism, phenomenology “became a privileged battlefield in intra-Christian debates” (152). The central intra-Christian tension in Baring’s narrative is between neo-scholastics and existentialists. Chapter 5 tells about the rise of “Christian Existentialism across Europe” by portraying the tension between two converts to Catholicism, Gabriel Marcel and Jacques Maritain. Marcel (Metaphysical Journal, 1927; Being and Having, 1935), influence and mentor to existentialists such as Nicolai Berdyaev, René Le Senne, Jean Wahl as well as Simone de Beauvoir, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Paul Ricoeur and Jean-Paul Sartre, criticized neo-Thomist intellectualism as “hubris”, and insisted on the “unintelligibility of existence”, its embodiment and “mystery”. Maritain claimed “existential philosophy” describes rather Thomism itself, which deals with esse and acknowledges its mystery, deems it nevertheless “open to intellectual understanding” (163).

Chapter 6 goes back to the Catholic reception of Husserl and how during the 1930s it was shaped by a division within neo-scholasticism, between progressive and strict Thomists. Baring portrays this division through the “Critical Realism Debate”, concerning the attempt of the Louvain School’s progressives, such as Léon Noël and René Kremer, to base realism on epistemology, namely on critique of subjective knowledge (leading to post-WII “transcendental Thomism”). “Strict” Thomists such as Étienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain rejected the notion of “critical” – Cartesian or Kantian – realism as self-contradictory, insisting on the primacy of metaphysics over epistemology. Baring shows how this debate pressed progressive intellectuals, such as Kremer, Kurt Reinhart and Sofia Vanni Rovighi, who initially embraced Husserl’s phenomenology, to reject and rectify his perceived idealistic tendencies, especially as manifested in the Cartesian Meditations of 1931.

Chapter 7 presents the 1930s’ reception of Heidegger as the battleground for the inter-confessional debate between neo-Scholastics (such as Przywara, Alfred Delp and Hans Urs von Balthasar) and Protestants, in particular Karl Barth’s Kierkegaard-inspired Dialectical Theology. Baring describes this debate as arising from “two diametrically opposed, if symmetrical, accounts of Heidegger’s atheism: Thomists explained it by the restrictions placed upon Heidegger’s ontology by his (Protestant) prioritization of human subjectivity; Protestant theologians understood it through his attempt to ground the analysis of human finitude in an ontology, which arose from an excessive and Catholic faith in our rational capacities.” (213) In other words, both (dialectical theology’s) emphasis on the unintelligible and (neo-Thomist) emphasis on intelligibility could be construed, from the opposite  perspective, as subjectivist and so proto-atheistic. This leads Baring to the brilliant observation whereby “religious notes” of atheistic conceptions (he speaks of existentialism) may arise not from “uncomplicated inheritance of a believing antecedent, but rather as the reflection of a more distant voice, directed toward and bouncing of a common religious foe” (240), i.e. “negative inheritance”.

Chapter 8 returns to the reception of Scheler, “The Black Nietzsche”, in Catholic political thought. Baring shows how the Schelerian notion of social corpora as embodying spiritual order of values could support to conflicting conceptions of Catholic anti-liberal politics. Luigi Stefanini drew on Scheler to affirm a “hierarchical order of values” enacted by an authoritarian and totalitarian state, which led him to collaborate with the Fascist regime and even acknowledge “racial defense” as “an act of the sovereignty and transcendence of the spirit” (259). In contrast, for Paul-Louis Landsberg, as Paul Ludwig Landsberg was known in his French exile and anti-Fascist resistance, “the divine order is always to come and can never be fully worked out. For that reason, authoritarianism runs the risk of shutting down the process by which the true order is revealed” (263), which led him to reject Nazism and Communism. Baring exemplifies the same ambivalence in Scheler in the development of Emmanuel Mounier’s Catholic-Nietzschean magazine Esprit, from support of Vichy to Resistance and post-WII negotiations of Thomism and Marxism.

Part III, “Catholic Legacies 1940-1950”, discusses how after “the Catholics who had helped promote phenomenological ideas around Europe withdrew from the stage”, “[t[he script that they had written […] persisted, to be picked up and adapted by new actors.” (276) Chapter 9 is dedicated to the story of the Husserl Archives, famously smuggled from Germany to Belgium by the young Franciscan Herman Leo Van Breda, to be institutionalized within Louvain’s Institut Supérieur de Philosophie. According to Baring, after WWII Van Breda, who was looking for means to secure the archives’ further existence (which he obtained at last from UNESCO), realized that “the archives would flourish only if they became independent of the Church” (297). Catholicism, which made phenomenology continental, was now required, in order to prefect its own making, to retreat. Like the truth of Heidegger’s Beyng, the appearance of neo-Thomism in phenomenology was completed by the concealment of neo-Thomism in phenomenology’s Veröffentlichung. It is thus that the first volume of the Husserliana was dedicated to the Cartesian Meditations, “the text where Husserl distinguished his work most clearly from scholasticism” (300).

Chapter 10, the last one, indicates traces of neo-scholasticism in “Postwar Phenomenology”, once again through an intellectual tension, this time between the secular Merleau-Ponty and the Protestant Paul Ricoeur. Both of “Marcelian bent”, affirming embodiment and existence versus idealism, their diverging interpretations of Marcel reproduced the debate between Thomism and Existentialism, inasmuch as Merleau-Ponty emphasized the intentional order of perception and Ricoeur the mystery and the “fault”. The disagreement on Marcel was intertwined with a disagreement on Husserl, which reproduced the debate between progressive and strict Thomism: whereas Merleau-Ponty, like the Louvain School, strove to protect Husserl’s realism from his transcendentalism, Ricoeur, like Maritain, read Husserl as an idealist. Commenting on the Protestant philosopher’s surprising affinity to strict Thomism, Baring provides a precious polemic triangulation, which is perhaps the real glory of scholastic sophistication: “Against the Thomists, Ricoeur denied that Christians could use philosophy to defend religious dogmas. Against the Barthians, Ricoeur did think philosophy retained an important role. It could challenge the pretension of science to have provided ‘a final solution.’ Christian philosophy would thus be a ‘science of limits, an essentially Socratic, ironic position [. . .] forbidding all thought to be totalitarian’.” (327)


Three Concluding Reflections:

  1. The key concept of the book’s argument is “the Real”. Catholicism promoted phenomenology for the sake of converting modern philosophy to the Real. As noted above, however, realism signifies in this book primarily polemically, in contrast to the alleged idealism of modern thought. However, as Baring insightfully shows with respect to “atheism”, polemic meanings are unstable and easily turned around. Just like criticism of “atheism” can be found in any religious position against any other religious position, isn’t criticism of “idealism” as detached from the real, i.e. as false, inherent to the disagreement of any philosophical position against all the others? Wasn’t metaphysical dogmatism for Kant too disconnected from reality, as the Ptolemaic system for Copernicus? For Hegel, an arche-idealist, the real was the reasonable. Baring shows how neo-Thomism too deemed the real intelligible, whereas existentialism and dialectical theology experienced reality in unintelligibility.
  2. It seems that ultimately “the Real” for Baring signifies the limit of human autonomy and power, where reason means intelligibility of – and subjection to – the given, eternal, cosmic order (Thomism), in contrast to modern “self-affirmation of reason” (Blumenberg). Conversion to the Real means something like undoing modern hubris, disempowering the human. Baring portrays at least two divergent ways of doing so in Catholic thought, rationalism and existentialism, both inspired by Husserl’s phenomenology. One may wonder, however, whether both modes of “the Real” are equally defining for continental philosophy. The very term “continental” philosophy, determines reason by existence, i.e. actual geography, politics, history, which arguably condition more continental than analytic thought. It is rather Anglo-American philosophy that may be said to represent anti-idealist, positive rationalism, where reason is limited qua “analytic”. Wouldn’t this modern philosophy – which is closer to natural sciences, and arises from phenomenology only within its alliance with logical positivism against psychologism – be a more suitable ally for neo-scholasticism?
  3. There seems to be a third way of limiting or determining reason, which is very present in Baring’s study, albeit unthematized as such. Next to rationalism (reason determined by given logical order) and existentialism (reason determined by given non-logical being), his narrative centrally features also the determination of reason through the inter-personal plurality of thought: thought as a school, the institution that gave scholasticism its name. As such, scholasticism determines reason neither by the given intelligible, nor by the unintelligible, but by the overintelligible, namely by the open excess of thought as polemics. By choosing the debate as a primary figure of thought, Baring’s book manifests perhaps scholarship itself, next to analytic and continental philosophies, as a third post-modern manifestation of scholastic realism, and perhaps of philosophy überhaupt.

Balázs M. Mezei, Matthew Z. Vale (Eds.): Philosophies of Christianity, Springer, 2019

Philosophies of Christianity: At the Crossroads of Contemporary Problems Book Cover Philosophies of Christianity: At the Crossroads of Contemporary Problems
Balázs M. Mezei, Matthew Z. Vale (Eds.)
Hardback 106,99 €
XII, 288

Eva Reyes-Gacitúa, Antonio Calcagno (Eds.): Edith Stein’s An Investigation Concerning the State, Springer, 2020

Edith Stein’s An Investigation Concerning the State: Sociality, Nationhood, Ethics Book Cover Edith Stein’s An Investigation Concerning the State: Sociality, Nationhood, Ethics
Contributions To Phenomenology, Vol. 110
Eva Reyes-Gacitúa, Antonio Calcagno (Eds.)
Hardback 103,99 €
X, 290

Matthias Schloßberger: Phänomenologie der Normativität, Schwabe Verlag, 2019

Phänomenologie der Normativität: Entwurf einer materialen Anthropologie im Anschluss an Max Scheler und Helmuth Plessner Book Cover Phänomenologie der Normativität: Entwurf einer materialen Anthropologie im Anschluss an Max Scheler und Helmuth Plessner
Matthias Schloßberger
Schwabe Verlag
Paperback 54.00 CHF

Guido Cusinato: Biosemiotica e Psicopatologia dell’Ordo Amoris. In Dialogo con Max Scheler

Biosemiotica e psicopatologia dell'«ordo amoris». In dialogo con Max Scheler Book Cover Biosemiotica e psicopatologia dell'«ordo amoris». In dialogo con Max Scheler
Filosofia. Etica e filosofia della persona
Guido Cusinato
Franco Angeli
Hardback, € 33.00

Reviewed by: Valeria Bizzari (Clinic University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany)

“… ogni modo d’esser della mia vita e della mia condotta, giusto o sbagliato, o completamente errato, sarà determinato dal fatto dell’esserci o meno di un ordine oggettivamente corretto di questi moti del mio amore e del mio odio, della mia propensione e avversione, del mio interesse multiforme per le cose di questo mondo, nonché dalla possibilità che ho di imprimere questo ‘ordo amoris’ nel mio animo”

(Max Scheler, Ordo amoris, p. 109)

La vita emozionale è da sempre un forte tema di dibattito per la filosofia. A partire dall’antichità fino ad arrivare alla filosofia moderna, le cosiddette “passioni” ed “emozioni” sono state considerate come forze completamente differenti e contrapposte alla razionalità, e i più importanti pensatori, quali Platone, Aristotele, gli Stoici e successivamente Cartesio, furono convinti sostenitori della necessità di una sorta di controllo della sfera sentimentale, affinché essa non disturbasse o compromettesse la razionalità e la vita morale. Nella filosofia contemporanea cade lo stereotipo del conflitto fra ragione e passioni, e viene rivalutata la capacità cognitiva delle emozioni: ne è un esempio l’opera di Nussbaum L’intelligenza delle emozioni, pubblicata nel 2001. Facendo un passo indietro in questa “riabilitazione” della vita emotiva in etica, ebbe indubbiamente un ruolo fondamentale Max Scheler (1874-1928), che, affidandosi al metodo fenomenologico, riuscì a fondare un’etica assiologica che salvaguardasse sia l’oggettività dei valori sia la struttura emotiva della persona. L’utilizzo del metodo fenomenologico permette a Scheler di parlare di intuizione immediata dei valori, e di intuizione immediata della persona.

L’ultimo libro del professor Cusinato sembra appunto riprendere la discussione dal punto in cui l’aveva lasciata Scheler, e inserisce sapientemente i più importanti concetti scheleriani— quali quello di persona intesa come Leib, e quello di ordo amoris—all’interno del dibattito filosofico contemporaneo. Il risultato non è soltanto un’originale proposta di biosemiotica del corpo vivo, ma anche una visione innovativa del sé come relazionale e assiologicamente connotato, al punto che è possibile rileggere il piano delle psicopatologie come “distorsioni” dell’ordo amoris stesso.

  1. Scheler, corpo vivo e ordo amoris

L’ intento principale del volume del professor Cusinato è quello di introdurre una biosemiotica del corpo vivo radicata nella dimensione dell’espressione e il cui ruolo sia fungere da fondamento dell’intercorporeità e della percezione dell’altro. In quest’ottica, la base per l’intersoggettività è costituita da una falda impersonale comune a tutti gli organismi, che sarebbero fin da subito sintonizzati con il piano espressivo della vita, attraverso un’affettività unipatica enattiva. Ogni essere vivente, infatti, possiede la capacità di interagire con il piano dell’espressione, ben prima di sviluppare la cosiddetta “intersoggettività primaria”, ovvero l’abilità innata di relazionarsi agli altri in modo espressivo fin dalla nascita, quando il bambino è in grado di imitare i movimenti altrui. Secondo Cusinato, la percezione dell’alterità sarebbe in realtà mediata da un tipo di percezione rappresentativa dei valori e della condivisione emozionale, e avverrebbe grazie ad un principio di selezione determinato dallo schema corporeo. E’ possibile quindi definire il corpo vivo come un a priori materiale; e il sentire stesso come una facoltà universale legata alla capacità di interagire con il piano dell’espressione.

Scheler, infatti, descriveva il Leib  nei termini di “una datità psicofisica indifferente: nell’intuizione interna si dà come Leibseele (fame/ esser sazi, benessere/ dolore) e in quella esterna come Leibkörper” (M. Scheler, 1999, p. 37). Ne Il formalismo nell’etica e l’etica materiale dei valori, egli definisce la corporeità propria “una particolare datità eidetico- materiale … atta a fungere in ogni percezione di fatto del proprio corpo da forma della percezione” (M. Scheler, 1996, p. 492). Non è possibile, dunque, considerare il corpo proprio una mera datità, un mero oggetto percepibile da un punto di vista esterno o interno, in quanto, secondo Scheler, esiste una “rigorosa ed immediata unità d’identità” (M. Scheler, 1996, p. 494) tra la coscienza interna (la consapevolezza che ciascuno ha di sé e del proprio corpo vivo) e la percezione esterna del corpo fisico, oggettuale.

La percezione del corpo proprio è anteriore a tutte le altre e non riducibile ad esse. Piuttosto, sono le sensazioni organiche a manifestarsi sempre in relazione a un corpo proprio, che va considerato concomitante ad esse, come una sorta di “sfondo”. La struttura motoria del corpo proprio accompagna dunque ogni atto dell’Io, ogni vissuto: “Il corpo proprio … non si manifesta quindi né come il “nostro proprio”, né come “sottomesso al nostro potere”, né come “semplicemente momentaneo”; esso è, o sembra essere, il nostro stesso io e contemporaneamente un qualcosa che compenetra il tempo oggettivo in modo stabile, duraturo, continuo e rispetto a cui la realtà psichica trascorre come un qualcosa di “passeggero” (M. Scheler, 1996, p. 519). Il Leib è quindi qualcosa di irriducibile ad altro ed è essenziale, necessario per la costituzione della persona. Inoltre, grazie al Leib è possibile la natürliche Weltanschauung, ovvero “l’intervento sul modo degli oggetti pratici in funzione delle esigenze di carattere biologico” (M. Scheler, 1996, p. 519): una delle funzioni del Leib è, dunque, anche quella di mediare tra l’Io e il mondo.

Cusinato non solo enfatizza la centralità del corpo vivo all’interno del processo percettivo, ma riserva un ruolo esplicitamente importante ai fenomeni espressivi, che per lui rappresentano un momento essenziale della vita di coscienza dell’individuo, specialmente nella percezione intersoggettiva. In questo modo egli si inserisce all’interno del dibattito contemporaneo: Gallagher e Zahavi, ad esempio, sostengono che gli stati affettivi “sono dati nei fenomeni espressivi, cioè sono espressi nei gesti e nelle azioni corporee e diventano perciò visibili agli altri.” (Gallagher e Zahavi, 2009, p. 277). In quest’ottica, corpo e psiche non sono due unità nettamente distinte e percepibili tramite procedure differenti, bensì costituiscono un’unità espressiva (Ausdruckseinheit). Estendendo la presenza dell’affettività alla sfera biologica, Cusinato si spinge oltre le interpretazioni già presenti, e ci mette di fronte a un’intenzionalità incarnata, pre-riflessiva e finalizzata a cogliere il valore dell’oggetto, e non la sua mera rappresentazione.

Enattività, espressività e affettività divengono quindi le componenti originarie del processo cognitivo, il quale andrà ripensato come un processo di tipo affettivo che lega i vari soggetti tramite un meccanismo di sintonizzazione o risonanza intercorporea presente già a livello biosemiotico. Questo non solo permette di considerare il soggetto come essenzialmente relazionale (ponendosi quindi in contrasto rispetto al “minimal self” descritto da Zahavi, che manterrebbe un nucleo puramente individuale); ma anche di oltrepassare le teorie dominanti all’interno del dibattito attuale, che si trova diviso tra teoria della teoria (secondo la quale l’intersoggettività si riduce a un processo di mentalizzazione); teoria della simulazione (per cui la percezione dell’altro equivale alla simulazione dei suoi vissuti) e teoria della percezione diretta, che, seppur enfatizzando la centralità del corpo e dell’espressività, circoscrive l’intuizione dell’alterità al mero incontro con l’altro. L’introduzione di un livello biosemiotico permette di spostare l’accento sul fatto che ogni essere è immerso sin da subito non solo in un contesto che condiziona e da cui è condizionato, ma anche in una relazione affettiva connotata assiologicamente, a partire dalla quale sarà possibile intraprendere dei rapporti con l’alterità.

I vari livelli di sintonizzazione e posizionamento dell’umano nel mondo sono descritti da Cusinato in modo accurato e chiaro, e ci permettono di capire in che modo tale sintonizzazione unipatica possa dischiudere molteplici possibilità (coerenti con le affordances gibsoniane) per il soggetto che  le vive, o, ancor meglio, sente. In una prima fase il soggetto è l’organismo che, attraverso lo schema corporeo, si sintonizza unipaticamente con gli altri (questo corrisponde, appunto, al livello biosemiotico); ciò permetterà all’organismo di svilupparsi come sè sociale che tramite il senso comune si sintonizza empaticamente con l’alterità; per poi infine farsi singolarità personale e sintonizzarsi solidaristicamente con il mondo grazie all’ordo amoris. Tale concetto viene sviluppato nella seconda parte del libro, in cui Cusinato si interroga non solo sul modo effettivo in cui l’ordo amoris ci permette di conoscere il mondo e l’altro, ma anche sulle possibili conseguenze di una sua distorsione. Il concetto di ordo amoris è, in effetti, uno dei più affascinanti della filosofia scheleriana, e il volume in esame riesce a offrirne un’interpretazione quantomai attuale.

Scheler lo introdusse nel testo inedito Ordo amoris (risalente al 1914-16), testo in cui risulta esplicito l’intento di liberarsi da una concezione dell’emozionale come un insieme di forze cieche (come invece è in uso nella psicologia associazionistica e nel meccanicismo naturale) a favore di una riscoperta dell’essere dell’esperienza in una logique du coeur. Il tema pascaliano è ripreso da Scheler per indicare una logica insita nell’Erlebnis,una logica che non appartiene al pensiero, ma al cuore. Anche la vita ha un’essenza, che non è attribuibile allo psichico, e tale essenza la dirige dall’interno. E’ l’amore che indirizza e struttura i processi psichici, non viceversa. Così, secondo questa logica dell’affettività, ai sentimenti corrisponde un termine assiologico di riferimento (ad esempio, la tristezza può essere legata a un valore spirituale, rappresentato dalla morte, oppure a un valore vitale, rappresentato dall’invecchiamento). Ogni stato emotivo è, al tempo stesso, un fatto reale, in quanto stato, e fenomenologico, poiché posto in una modalità intenzionale verso un oggetto di valore. Compito del fenomenologo è dunque quello di  attribuire finalmente alla vita emotiva l’ordine che sempre le è stato negato, ma che secondo Scheler le appartiene di diritto, poiché è ad essa immanente. Anche ai moti dell’anima appartiene tale ordine, finora ignorato e considerato parte della mera soggettività dell’individuo, irrazionale e perciò subordinato all’azione di dominio dell’intelletto.Il concetto di ordo amoris può avere due significati: uno personale e una sovraindividuale. Per quanto riguarda la prima accezione, essa é relativa alla gerarchia di valori specifica di una determinata persona: ogni persona ha infatti la sua propria gerarchia di valori che la orienta in ogni momento della sua vita, in ogni sua scelta, in ogni suo vissuto. Secondo l’accezione sovraindividuale, invece, l’amore governa il senso di ogni cosa, e, sebbene particolarizzate, le varie individualità dovrebbero tutte rifarsi a questo generale ordine di senso oggettivo: in tal modo avremmo dei retti ordo amoris, delle gerarchie assiologiche personali che rispecchiano quella universale. In caso contrario, potremmo trovarci di fronte a un ordo amoris distorto, deviato, ovvero a gerarchie di valori individuali che sovvertono l’ordo amoris generale e sovraindividuale. Esistono infatti vere e proprie perversioni del retto ordo amoris: un esempio può essere quello dell’amore relativo, chiamato da Scheler “innamoramento”, che si riscontra nell’amore verso un bene finito, che diventa idolo se considerato assoluto. Si ha una perversione dell’ordo amoris anche quando i valori della gerarchia personale di un dato individuo sono inferiori rispetto ai valori dati nel retto ordo amoris. L’ordo amoris, quindi, oltre a essere di carattere descrittivo, ha anche un’accezione implicitamente normativa, poiché, dicendoci l’ordine delle cose e il loro giusto posto, nondimeno richiede che tale ordine venga rispettato, ed è correttivo nei confronti di eventuali distorsioni. Nella nostra persona, quindi, è come se convergessero due modi di essere: uno, particolare, del qui-ora dell’esserci, sottoposto, appunto, alle variazioni spazio-temporali; e l’altro che trascende tale modalità, e riguarda invece ciò che di assolutamente eidetico e strutturale esiste, ovvero un ordine metastorico ed onnipresente, comunque capace di assumere diverse forme, cercando di portare il giusto ordine anche sotto forma di un sistema storicizzato. Contingente e assoluto si incontrano, determinando il divenire storico, in un movimento di reciprocità e apertura che vede i due momenti congiungersi fino  a formare un’ unità di senso. Oltre alla conoscenza, l’amore risveglia anche il volere di realizzazione da parte di un soggetto: è per questo che Scheler afferma, a ragione, che l’uomo, prima di essere un ens volens e un ens cogitans, è un ens amans. Scheler, infatti, definisce l’amore come “ la tendenza o-a seconda dei casi – l’atto che cerca di condurre ogni cosa verso la sua propria pienezza di valore, e conduce là, purchè non si frappongano impedimenti”[1].  L’ordo amoris stabilisce così per ogni uomo la sua facoltà di comprendere, la struttura e il contenuto della sua visione del mondo, sempre implicitamente proiettato alla conoscenza dell’essenza divina: ordo amoris particolare e ordo amoris universale trovano dunque una continuità di senso.

In che modo quindi Cusinato inserisce l’ordo amoris all’interno della sua prospettiva biosemiotica?

Possiamo sostenere che l’ordo amoris rappresenti la capacità di percepire il valore attraverso il sentire, e sia quindi implicito nella capacità di interagire a livello unipatico con il piano espressivo della vita. La conseguenza di tale caratterizzazione è molto forte, e l’ultima parte del libro dedica un ampio spazio ad una riflessione a proposito della compromissione di tale facoltà, definita in termini di vera e propria psicopatologia. Secondo Cusinato—e a mio avviso, questa è la tesi più forte  e innovativa dell’intero volume—la patologia psichica subentra appunto nel momento in cui l’ ordo amoris non riesce più a sintonizzarsi con il piano espressivo della vita e dell’alterità. Se la percezione dell’altro è già implicita a livello biosemiotico e dipende da una corretta sintonizzazione affettiva, un disturbo dell’affettività comporterà un errato sviluppo del soggetto stesso, il quale non sarà capace di passare dallo stato di organismo a quello di sè sociale e personalità individuale.

  1. Il case study: la schizofrenia come disordine dell’ordo amoris

Si può osservare la concretezza della tesi di Cusinato analizzando una psicopatologia in particolare: la schizofrenia. Nonostante, infatti, l’autore porti svariati esempi, credo che la schizofrenia sia il più calzante per descrivere la centralità dell’ordo amoris e cosa comporti la  sua perdita o distorsione.

Già Minkowski, nel testo La Schizophrénie, risalente al 1927, sosteneva l’impossibilità di comprendere tale malattia senza avere ben presente la struttura della soggettività: l’essenza della schizofrenia consisterebbe, in particolare, nell’incapacità di rapportarsi al mondo e di stabilire legami significativi con altri individui. Nonostante i disturbi psichici colpiscano principalmente tre sfere- l’autocoscienza, l’intenzionalità e l’intersoggettività- è proprio quest’ultima, infatti, ad essere maggiormente colpita. Il contatto con la realtà, inoltre, non viene perso solo da un punto di vista sociale, poiché ad andare smarrita è la stessa prospettiva in prima persona. Il sé e l’altro, infatti, non sono più mutualmente interrelati, ma divergono fino a divenire due realtà completamente separate. La soggettività esperisce così un senso di perdita dei propri confini, in concomitanza ad allucinazioni uditive e impossibilità di controllo delle proprie azioni: in un certo senso, sembrerebbe andato perso lo “schema corporeo” merleau-pontiano.

Le sfere coinvolte in tale processo di “de-sintonizzazione” con il mondo sono, nello specifico, le seguenti:

  • Capacità cognitive: il distacco dal reale e dalla dimensione soggettiva corporea comporta la perdita dei nessi significativi e la depersonalizzazione della coscienza, che cerca, attraverso l’iper-riflessività, di attribuire al mondo una nuova struttura organizzativa. Questo implica un’ipertolleranza alla complessità semantica: non comprendendo i significati impliciti nel senso comune, lo schizofrenico è portato ad attribuire infinite interpretazioni significative a oggetti in realtà molto semplici, espandendo in senso esponenziale gli orizzonti epistemologici;
  • Vita emotiva: il soggetto ha difficoltà nel sentire e spesso si dichiara incapace di farlo. Di conseguenza, anche le abilità nelle relazioni sociali diminuiscono notevolmente. Inoltre, tutto ciò che concerne l’alterità può spaventare il soggetto, che si dichiara incapace di affrontare il mondo sociale e teme di rimanerne “intrappolato” (tale fenomeno si può definire come vulnerabilità eteronomica);
  • Ontologia: se la consapevolezza corporea e il senso comune vengono persi, anche il sé risulta completamente distorto. Per questo motivo, spesso i pazienti sostengono non solo di sentirsi isolati dal resto del mondo, ma anche di essere letteralmente frammentati, di non essere, cioè, individui interi;
  • Etica: perdendo la consapevolezza di sé e il senso comune, lo schizofrenico assume molto spesso atteggiamenti bizzarri e, talvolta, al di là di ogni etica vigente, come se la sua personale assiologia divergesse completamente dalle norme del mondo sociale in cui vive. Tale eccentricità può sfociare in una vera e propria “ribellione” consapevole nei confronti dei valori comunemente adottati dalla società (antagonomia).

Il risultato è un totale distacco dal reale: “The […] schizophrenics” sostiene Bleuer, “who have no more contact with the outside world live in a world of their own. They have encased themselves with their desires and wishes […]; they have cut themselves off as much as possible from any contact with the external world. This detachment from reality with the relative and absolute predominance of the inner life, we term autism” (E. Bleuer, 1978, p. 30). Ciò che Bleuer non sembra enfatizzare a sufficienza, ma che nell’ultima parte del volume di Cusinato viene descritto, con l’ausilio di testi significativi, tra cui Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl (Sechehay, 1962), è la natura drammatica di un simile distacco, che coinvolge non solo la relazione tra il soggetto e l’alterità, ma dal quale sembrerebbe dipendere la stessa comprensione della realtà in generale. Il soggetto, il cui sé è frammentato e che non riesce a stabilire una relazione intersoggettiva, non riesce neppure ad “immergersi” nel mondo.

Tale perdita della conoscenza pre-riflessiva, così come la perdita del senso di sé, ha conseguenze a livello sensoriale, per quanto riguarda la percezione mondana e intersoggettiva; in ambito concettuale, laddove è possibile registrare fraintendimenti e incomprensioni di significati e intenzioni; e nella realtà attitudinale, che concerne la struttura assiologica individuale. Un’analisi fenomenologica si rivela utile al fine fornire una descrizione esauriente e una spiegazione olistica: in tal senso, la perdita del sé corporeo, associata alla distorsione della struttura assiologica del soggetto, sembra essere la caratteristica più significativa della schizofrenia. Tutte le sfere coinvolte dalla de-personalizzazione schizofrenica hanno infatti in comune una distorsione dell’ordo amoris, il cui ruolo è talmente importante che tutti i sintomi possono essere ricondotti a strategie compensatorie volte a ricostituire una struttura assiologica personale (seppur opposta a quella vigente nel senso comune, come è esplicito nel caso dell’antagonimia).

  1. Conclusione

Un’analisi accurata del concetto di ordo amoris ci permette di dedurre che tutta la nostra vita è rigorosamente guidata da un ordine, che nulla è dato al caso: anche la nostra emotività ha leggi specifiche e rigorose. C’è una legalità immanente agli atti d’amore, dovuta alle regole del preferire e del posporre, per cui l’animo umano non è più considerato un luogo di caos, ma un microcosmo del mondo dei valori. E’ quindi appropriato dire che il cuore ha le sue ragioni. Ovviamente non bisogna confondere questo tipo di razionalità con quella intellettuale: emozionale e razionale sono due ambiti completamente diversi, non riconducibili l’uno all’altro. Tuttavia, attribuire una logica soltanto alla sfera del giudizio intellettuale è sbagliato, in quanto il lato emotivo dell’uomo ha un funzionamento analogo a quello razionale e ugualmente fallibile. Dire che il cuore ha le sue ragioni ha un significato molto preciso: l’emozionale ha delle ragioni poiché possiede vedute evidenti di dati non accessibili all’intelletto, e sue proprio perché all’intelletto questo tipo di dati è precluso, e solo grazie all’atto d’amore siamo indirizzati a questo tipo di conoscenza. La logica del cuore è oggettiva, proprio come lo è la logica deduttiva, ed è dotata di una legalità autonoma e specifica. Tale legalità si esprime in modo diverso in ognuno di noi, ma essenzialmente rimane costante. La ripresa del concetto di ordo amoris da parte del professor Cusinato ha non solo il merito di riabilitare una nozione forse troppo sottovalutata nella storia della filosofia delle emozioni, ma anche quella di introdurla in un ambito apparentemente lontano dalla speculazione meramente filosofica: la psicopatologia. Ripensare il disordine mentale come un disordine dell’ordo amoris permette inoltre di interpretare la malattia mentale in termini non riduzionistici, senza tuttavia omettere l’importanza degli aspetti organici della coscienza, grazie all’introduzione del livello biosemiotico.

Bibliografia essenziale

Bleuler, Eugen. 1978. The Schizophrenic Disorders: Long Term Patient and Family Studies. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

Minkowski, Eugène. 1927. La schizophrénie: psychopathologie des schizoides et des schizophrènes. Payot, Paris.

Nussbaum, Martha. 2001. Upheavels of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Scheler, Max. 1916. Der Formalismus in der Ethic und die materiale Werthethik, in “Jarbuch für Philosophie und phänomenologische Forschung”, trad. it. 1996 Il formalismo nell’etica e l’etica materiale dei valori. Edizioni San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo, Milano.

Scheler, Max. 1999. Il valore della vita emotiva. Guerini Studio editore, Milano.

Scheler, Max. 2008. Ordo amoris in Scritti sulla fenomenologia e l’amore, (a cura di Vittorio d’Anna), Franco Angeli Editore, Milano 2008, tr.it. F. Bosinelli e V. d’Anna.

Sechehaye, Marguerite. 1962. Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl. Penguin, New York.

[1] Max Scheler, Ordo amoris, p. 118.

Edward Baring: Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of Continental Philosophy, Harvard University Press, 2019

Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of Continental Philosophy Book Cover Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of Continental Philosophy
Edward Baring
Harvard University Press
Hardback $49.95 • £35.95 • €45.00

Dietrich von Hildebrand: La filosofía y la personalidad de Max Scheler, Ediciones Encuentro, 2019

La filosofía y la personalidad de Max Scheler Book Cover La filosofía y la personalidad de Max Scheler
Opuscula philosophica
Dietrich von Hildebrand
Ediciones Encuentro

Markus Weidler: Heidegger’s Style: On Philosophical Anthropology and Aesthetics, Bloomsbury, 2019

Heidegger's Style: On Philosophical Anthropology and Aesthetics Book Cover Heidegger's Style: On Philosophical Anthropology and Aesthetics
Markus Weidler
Hardback £76.50

J. Edward Hackett: Persons and Values in Pragmatic Phenomenology: Explorations in Moral Metaphysics, Vernon Press, 2018

Persons and Values in Pragmatic Phenomenology: Explorations in Moral Metaphysics Book Cover Persons and Values in Pragmatic Phenomenology: Explorations in Moral Metaphysics
Philosophy of Personalism
J. Edward Hackett
Vernon Press
Hardcover 49,00 €

Guillaume Fréchette, Hamid Taieb (Eds.): Mind and Language – On the Philosophy of Anton Marty, De Gruyter, 2017

Mind and Language – On the Philosophy of Anton Marty Book Cover Mind and Language – On the Philosophy of Anton Marty
Phenomenology & Mind 19
Guillaume Fréchette, Hamid Taieb (Eds.)
De Gruyter
Hardback 109,95 €
vi, 374