Value Commensurability in Brightman and Scheler: Towards a Process Metaethics


In the following paper, both Max Scheler and Edgar Sheffield Brightman’s rankings of value are compared. In so doing, Brightman’s table of values is found wanting along the lines of Scheler’s value rankings. The reason is, in part, that Scheler’s ordering of preference and hierarchy of feelings more readily explain what Brightman’s account presupposes: affective intentionality. What is more, we can apply Brightman’s test of consistency to Scheler’s account and find it more desirable than how Brightman defines what values are in his A Philosophy of Religion (1940). Between both thinkers an account will emerge that can help clarify the commensurability of values in experience-based accounts of value in both thinkers. In doing so, a blended account reaches three conclusions about how each personalist might adopt points the other would have suggested to him. (1) Love is the process of coalescement in rough outlines; (2) The ordo amoris should reflect the rational coherence of Brightman’s more systematic laws; (3) And the demand of coherence means that phenomenology in Scheler becomes a system of idealistic metaphysics concerning values despite the fact that Brightman thinks the moral law system will hold phenomenologically regardless of which metaphysical interpretation of reality holds sway about values.


Edgar Sheffield Brightman, Max Scheler, process metaethics, value rankings, value commensurability, table of values, phenomenological ethics, personalism, personalist ethics

How to cite:

Hackett, J. Edward. “Value Commensurability in Brightman and Scheler: Towards a Process Metaethics.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 3, no. 1(7) (2019): 104–121. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2019.0008.


J. Edward Hackett
Department of Fine Arts, Humanities and Wellness, Savannah State University
3219 College St., Savannah, GA 31404, USA


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