“Moral interiority” and self-realization

The essential relationship between God and human being in Edith Stein’s thought

  • Martina Galvani University of Genoa


The ethics perspective which I shall focus on in this chapter is necessarily founded on Stein’s investigations about the human spiritual dimension, in which her phenomenological and metaphysical-theological research are synthesized. Stein describes the human being as “essentially spiritual”, namely intellect and will. In fact, he can comprehend reality in its “meaning” (Sinn) and act freely in it. The ethical consequences of Stein’s anthropological reflections will be explained through what we shall call “moral interiority”. Following Augustine, Stein perceives the original consciousness of oneself (interiority) as "an inner place, not a place" (interiore loco, non loco), where to start explaining intellective knowledge, and most of all free acting and consequently ethics. Action is not just expressed outwards, and is first of all self-actuation – acting and being are mutually implied. The direction of moral actions is thus already present in the ‘essence’ (Wesen) of each individual and this essence, thanks to the creative ‘essentiality’ (Wesenheiten), is ab eterno in the Logos. In view of this complex theological node, the purpose of this essay is to show how we can say, with Stein, that Christ incarnates the only possible ethics.

Keywords: Edith Stein, phenomenological anthropology, essence, meaning, Logos, interiority, ethic

Author Biography

Martina Galvani, University of Genoa

Martina Galvani is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Genoa. Her Ph.D. research focuses on a comparison between Edith Stein and Antonio Rosmini, about the anthropological perspective. She holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Trento. Among her publications: The spiritual dimension in the complexity of the human structure (Freiburg im Breisgau: Verlag Herder, 2016); The role of the intellectual in the social organism. Edith Stein’s analyses between social ontology and philosophical anthropology inWomen Phenomenologists on Social Ontology” (Springer, 2018).

How to Cite
GALVANI, Martina. “Moral interiority” and self-realization. Diakrisis Yearbook of Theology and Philosophy, [S.l.], v. 2, p. 55-68, may 2019. ISSN 2601-7415. Available at: <http://journals.orth.ro/index.php/diakrisis/article/view/240>. Date accessed: 24 may 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.24193/diakrisis.2019.4.