Human life and self-realization according to Edith Stein


  • Martina Galvani



The aim of this article is to analyse the Edith Stein’s phenomenological-metaphysical anthropology
and its moral aspects. Her enquiry shifts from the study of those aspects common to both human
beings and animals to an aspect that is specifically and exclusively human, i.e., spirituality. The
person only is a spiritual subject, because he has an intellectual knowledge and he can freely act. In
this investigation, Stein moves from outcomes achieved thanks to the phenomenological method,
which leads her to focus on a description of the bodily, psychical and spiritual sphere of the human
being. Accordingly, Stein reflects on the ethical consequences of her anthropological research.
Following Augustine, she perceives originary self-consciousness as interiority, from which to begin
explicating intellectual knowledge, and especially free action and hence ethics. Action is not only
expressed outwards, first of all it is self-actuation – acting and being are mutually implied. The
direction of moral actions is thus already present in each one’s individual ‘essence’ (Wesen) and this
essence, thanks to the creative ‘essentiality’ (Wesenheiten), is ab eterno in Logos. In view of this
complex theological node, Stein recognizes Christ as the archetype of the only possible ethics.




Como Citar

GALVANI, M. Human life and self-realization according to Edith Stein. Aoristo - International Journal of Phenomenology, Hermeneutics and Metaphysics, [S. l.], v. 4, n. 2, p. 84–97, 2021. DOI: 10.6394/aoristo.v4i2.27976. Disponível em: Acesso em: 8 dez. 2021.