Analysis Of Max Scheler's Ressentiment

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Max Scheler is a twentieth-century German philosopher who is often regarded as one of the founders of phenomenology. In his most significant work titled Ressentiment, Scheler challenges Friedrich Nietzsche’s proposition that “Christian love is the most delicate ‘flower of ressentiment’”. Scheler describes ressentiment as “the repeated experiencing and reliving of a particular emotional response reaction against someone else” , particularly a negative emotional response. Scheler is a tripartite anthropologist, meaning that he believes the human person is composed of three parts: the lived body, or leib in German, the psyche, and the spirit. In his book Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche claims that Christianity is merely transformed Judaism and…show more content…
The pinnacle of Scheler’s development of a Christianity philosophy comes in his explanation in the origins and enactment of the philosophy of Christian love. Scheler describes this love as “a love which makes it seem frightful that only some should be ‘good’, while the others are ‘bad’ and reprobate”. By saying this, Scheler means that the love of a Christian not only values goodness and virtue within oneself, but that the love extends so far onto the other person that it desires that he or she be good and virtuous, also. Scheler describes this as a “sense of solidarity” with the other person, and says that “in this affection for the sinners I find no ressentiment”. This is a consequence of the new Christian philosophy that love transcends the material value of the person and instead treasures their inherent worth. At this point, Scheler concludes that he has found the reason Nietzsche confuses Christian love with altruism. The function of Christian love is to help other people in need, while altruism negates the value of the other person. While the main function of altruism is to fix the needs of the person in a lower position than that of the helper, Scheler says that Christian love does not consist in merely meeting the needs of the person but is directed at the person themselves. The philosophy of Christian love that Scheler constructs is that this love is a striving from the lower to the higher. While Plato described love as a function of sensuality, the Christian philosophy claims that love is a spiritual intentionality that takes place at the level of the spirit and not at the level of the sense. According to Scheler, this love transcends nature and is a divine act of
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