The Place of the Human in the Philosophies of Scheler and Berdyaev

Essays in Celebration of the Founding of OPO (2002)

Olga Vishnyakova
North Seattle Community College
This essay approaches the distinction between two different philosophical attempts to understand the place of the human in the world, her nature and duality of her being. Two philosophers are taken as representatives of philosophical anthropology, one of whom was a phenomenologist and the other an existentialist: Max Scheler and Nikolai Berdyaev. Both exceeded the narrow bounds of belonging to certain philosophical schools, as they were original thinkers in their own right. Phenomenology found a big response in Russia at the turn of the 20th century and Berdyaev was one of Russia’s thinkers who felt the need to reply to this new philosophical tendency. In spite of appearing to many as a dull and overly logistical discipline, phenomenology provided a new approach to the issues of many philosophical problems and Scheler used the phenomenological method in an exemplary way to investigate the human being. My essay has sought common ideas in the thoughts of both philosophers and has found nonessential differences in many cases, as their major focus of investigation was in philosophical anthropology, where I found mostly differences in stress and emphasis, rather than in the essence of their thought.
Keywords Nikolai Berdyaev  Max Scheler  Russian philosophy  Phenomenology  Philosophical anthropology
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