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Esperienza morale e persona: Per una reinterpretazione dell'etica fenomenologica di Dietrich von Hildebrand.

Dell'Oro's work contributes to moral theology in a fundamental and historical way; it reflects an impressive and solid command of authors, disciplines, and languages. His purpose is to retrieve a notion of experience in moral reflection; he accomplishes this through a critical reading of the phenomenology of Dietrich von Hildebrand in light of transcendental philosophy.

There are, of course, a variety of meanings to "experience." At one level, since moral norms need to be concretized, experience refers to that inductive search which gives rise to and is embodied in a moral norm (Schuller, Schmitz, and Grundel). On a second level, there are the epistemological issues involved with dealing with the results of the empirical sciences in a morally relevant way (Korff and Mieth). On a third level, moral theologians engage in a transcendental or metaphysical analysis of experience in order to safeguard the uniqueness of moral truth as a truth of meaning (Rahner, Fuchs and Demmer).

The phenomenological description of von Hildebrand stands in the effective history of Husserl. This means that von Hildebrand resisted abstract constructions and intuitive insights into essential truths. In his opinion, what makes us uniquely human is our ability to perceive and to respond to values. In his realism there is a sovereignty of the object and a receptivity on the part of the subject. Von Hildebrand's phenomenological realism may be a safeguard against any sort of nominalism, but as D. points out, it also suffers from a latent objectivism that tends to an ahistorical understanding of moral norms. This is seen in von Hildebrand's disciples like Laun, Seifert, and Finnis.

For D., however, the dialogue with von Hildebrand merely reveals the need to complete phenomenological description with a transcendental reflection that accounts for the subject's intentional activities. Moral theologians must not only bring experience to articulate awareness, but they must attend to the transcendental conditions that make experience possible and thereby allow subjects a more active role in the knowing process.



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Author:Kopfensteiner, Thomas R.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1997
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