Sarah R. Borden
B.A., Wheaton College (IL)
M.A., Fordham University
The Relation of Individual and Universal Form: An Issue in Edith Stein’s Philosophy of the Person in Endliches und ewiges Sein
Dissertation directed by Joseph Koterski, Ph.D.
The primary goals of my dissertation are, first, to present Stein’s metaphysical claims, particularly her understanding of being and essence; secondly, to situate Stein’s claims regarding individual forms within her more general metaphysical framework, looking particularly at the way in which individual forms function as principles of individual uniqueness; and, finally, to evaluate her use of individual forms.
The first chapter of the dissertation presents Stein’s claims regarding individual forms and suggests several concerns motivating her inclusion of individual forms. The second through fourth chapters focus on an explication of Stein’s metaphysical claims, comparing her claims regarding essence and being with those of Husserl, Scotus, and Aquinas. In the last three chapters, I argue, first, that the relation between the individual and universal form, as Stein presents it, can best be understood if we import Husserl’s mereology and, secondly, that once this is done, Stein’s theory is more successful than Scotus’s in explaining how the species-form retains its integrity while also being truly united to the individual form. In chapter six, I argue, however, that despite this success, there are still fundamental problems with Stein’s claims regarding individual forms. In the final chapter, I present points at which Stein’s own text is in tension with the interpretation I have presented, arguing that Stein herself was not fully satisfied with her own position on individuality and individual forms.