Zur Begründung der These Max Schelers vom Primat der Liebe


  • Leonardo Rodríguez Duplá




Scheler, Liebesprimat, Wertgegebenheit


The principle of the primacy of love is surely one of the basic pillars of Scheler’s philosophy. In this paper I discuss the three main argumentative strategies developed by Scheler to establish this principle: 

1) In Formalismus (GW II, 35-45) he assumes that value is the intentional correlate of love. For this reason the theory of the primacy of love implies that human mind aims at values before it can open itself to representational contents. To prove this, Scheler tries to show by means of several examples that the value-datum precedes our knowledge of the nature of the value-bearer; 2) In Metaphysik und Wertwissen, insbesondere Ethik (GW XI, 54-71) Scheler invokes both the so-called “law of progression and regression” and the “method of borderline cases”. Both seems to him to support his thesis of the primacy of love; 3) According to the theory of perception first presented in Formalismus (GW II, 172-173) and then developed in Erkenntnis und Arbeit (GW VIII, 282-358), sensorial knowledge is axiologically conditioned by the value-attitudes inherent in instinctual life. This means that the subject’s reference to values precedes his cognitive approach to  the sensory world.

In my opinion, the last-mentioned argumentative strategy is the most promising of all three. Moreover it fits well with several important and seemingly distant aspects of Scheler’s philosophy: his biological thinking, his reception of the pragmatist theory of perception, and his theory of man’s knowledge of God.