Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stein on Self-Knowledge

We see ourselves intellectually "as in an image" whenever we recongize our own human nature in other human beings. Friedrich Schiller's epigram, "If you want to know yourself, observe how others behave," stresses the significance of such figurative [bildhaft] seeing for self-knowledge. But it would not be possible for us to find the image of ourselves in others unless we knew about ourselves by virtue of a more primordial, non-figurative insight, namely, by that "self-consciousness" or immediate awareness of the self and of being which pertains to our self and our being. This kind of knowledge is not clear, distinct, and complete, but rather a dark, indefinite, and unformed groping and probing [Spüren], but it is nevertheless the ground and the root of everything we know of ourselves and of others like ourselves in a natural manner.

Edith Stein, Finite and Eternal Being, Reinhardt, tr. ICS Publications (Washington, DC: 2002) p. 348.

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