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Material Value-Ethics: Max Scheler and Nicolai Hartmann



Although Max Scheler (1874–1928) and Nicolai Hartmann (1882–1950) were contemporaries and wrote under the influence of the phenomenological movement, the large differences between their initiatives and achievements in philosophy resulted in scholars rarely reading them together. However, they shared one major concept in ethics, that of material value ethics. This ethics is (1) non-formal, and involves a profound criticism of Kantian ethical formalism, and (2) is founded in a phenomenology of the values themselves, that its, the content, available in intuition, of such values as trust, utility, friendship, or even the Aristotelian virtues. The present article seeks to uncover a latent harmony and consistency in the two men's material value ethics, and considers the possibility of its recovery for contemporary virtue ethics.

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