Affektives Erfassen von Bedeutsamkeit – Überlegungen zu Schelers «Wertfühlen»

Friedrich Hausen


In defending Max Scheler’s controversial theory of objective values and affective value-knowledge, I would like to offer a concept of value properties as existential-meaning properties. One can experience real danger or real existential meaningful loss, and this implies there is something valuable which can be lost. I want to argue that we should take existential meaning properties seriously as a part of our world and I would like to call this account “existential realism”. In contrast to Scheler’s hard-cut difference between an intentional value-feeling and emotional responses, I argue in favour of a more continuous transition between emotions and sensitive value recognitions. Unlike emotions, that involve us more or less completely, sensitive intentional feelings have nuances of emotional “colours” but they often don’t involve or totally absorb us in a high degree. Thus, this kind of feeling can guide us into judgments concerning aesthetic qualities, social relationships, and the character of a person.

In championing the objectivist account, I will also discuss the subjectivist dispositional value-theory of David Lewis and compare his “ideal valuer” with a value-feeling person of Scheler. While Lewis’ “ideal valuer” is presented in contrast to an “ideal balancer”, an ideal value-feeler in the manner Scheler seems to have the abilities of both; the competence of the valuer of Lewis is insular and related to one value, but the ability of Scheler’s value-feeler is rather related to a value in its environment of other values and a network of essential relations (Wesensbeziehungen). Therefore, an ideal value reassumed in Scheler’s theory would have a kind of deep epistemic abilities which tend to be important for the sensible orientation in our world, while the Lewisian ideal valuer does not seem to have them.


Existential Realism; Sensitive Intentional Feelings; Max Scheler; David Lewis

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