Hatred of the given

In his Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values: A New Attempt Toward the Foundation of an Ethical Personalism (Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) , Max Scheler describes the modern attitude that he finds at the heart of the Kantian system:

“This ‘attitude’ I can only describe as a basic ‘hostility’ toward or distrust of the given as such, a fear of the given as ‘chaos,’ an anxiety – an attitude that can be expressed as ‘that world there outside me, that nature there within me.’ ‘Nature’ is what is to be formed, to be organized, to be ‘controlled’; it is the ‘hostile,’ the ‘chaos,’ etc. Hence this attitude is the opposite of love of the world, of trust in and loving devotion to the world. Strictly speaking, this attitude belongs only to modern times, which are permeated by hatred for the world , hostility toward the world, and a distrust of it, and by the consequence of this hatred: namely the limitless need for activity to ‘organize’ and ‘control’ the world . . . . And all this has culminated in the mind of a philosophical genius” (67).

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