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Book Symbol, Myth, and Culture Description/Summary:
The papers in this volume of Ernst Cassirer's unpublished works give insight into the major issues that engaged Cassirer's interest between 1935 and 1945. The book begins with his inaugural address at the University of Göteborg, Sweden, in the first years of his exile from Hitler's Germany, and ends with a talk to the Columbia Philosophy Club. The note that introduces this piece was written on the day of his death. In his long and productive career, Ernst Cassirer always tried to integrate his works of original philosophy and studies in intellectual history into a general understanding of the nature of myth, culture, and symbol. These essays show that his interest persisted to the end. His piece on Judaism and political myths is perhaps the most dramatic in this collection, as it blends philosophical coolness with his deeply felt outrage at fascism. Best known in this country for The Myth of the State, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, and An Essay on Man, Ernst Cassirer has been read and studied by generations of students. In this book they will find illuminations, in a more informal voice, of the major themes in Cassirer's work. New readers will be introduced to the great issues that occupied the interest of one of the twentieth century's most widely read philosophers. "A genuine contribution to the history of modern philosophy - and of special value to the informed general reader, since it includes a number of valid attempts by Cassirer to translate his radical, sometimes difficult, concepts of culture into non-technical terms." -- The Booklist
Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945) occupies a unique place in 20th-century philosophy. His view that human beings are not rational but symbolic animals and his famous dispute with Martin Heidegger at Davos in 1929 are compelling alternatives to the deadlock between 'analytic' and 'continental' approaches to philosophy. An astonishing polymath, Cassirer's work pays equal attention to mathematics and natural science but also art, language, myth, religion, technology, and history. However, until now the importance of his work has largely been overlooked. In this outstanding introduction Samantha Matherne examines and assesses the full span of Cassirer’s work. Beginning with an overview of his life and works she covers the following important topics: Cassirer’s neo-Kantian background Philosophy of mathematics and natural science, including Cassirer’s first systematic work, Substance and Function, and subsequent works, like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity The problem of culture and the ground-breaking The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms Cassirer’s ethical and political thought and his diagnosis of fascism in The Myth of the State Cassirer’s influence and legacy. Including chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading, and a glossary of terms, this is an ideal introduction to Cassirer’s thought for anyone coming to his work for the first time. It is essential reading for students in philosophy as well as related disciplines such as intellectual history, art history, politics, and literature.
This is the first English-language intellectual biography of the German-Jewish philosopher Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945), a leading figure on the Weimar intellectual scene and one of the last and finest representatives of the liberal-idealist tradition. Edward Skidelsky traces the development of Cassirer's thought in its historical and intellectual setting. He presents Cassirer, the author of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, as a defender of the liberal ideal of culture in an increasingly fragmented world, and as someone who grappled with the opposing forces of scientific positivism and romantic vitalism. Cassirer's work can be seen, Skidelsky argues, as offering a potential resolution to the ongoing conflict between the "two cultures" of science and the humanities--and between the analytic and continental traditions in philosophy. The first comprehensive study of Cassirer in English in two decades, this book will be of great interest to analytic and continental philosophers, intellectual historians, political and cultural theorists, and historians of twentieth-century Germany.
Since the 1930s, philosophy has been divided into two camps: the analytic tradition which prevails in the Anglophone world and the continental tradition which holds sway over the European continent. A Parting of the Ways looks at the origins of this split through the lens of one defining episode: the disputation in Davos, Switzerland, in 1929, between the two most eminent German philosophers, Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger. This watershed debate was attended by Rudlf Carnap, a representative of the Vienna Circle of logical positivists. Michael Friedman shows how philosophical differences interacted with political events. Both Carnap and Heidegger viewd their philosophical efforts as tied to their radical social outlooks, with Carnap on the left and Heidegger on the right, while Cassirer was in the conciliatory classical tradition of liveral republicanism. The rise of Hitler led to the emigration from Europe of most leading philosophers, including Carnap and Cassirer, leaving Heidegger alone on the continent.
Book The Philosophy of the Enlightenment Description/Summary:
In this classic work of intellectual history, Ernst Cassirer provides both a cogent synthesis and a penetrating analysis of one of history's greatest intellectual epochs: the Enlightenment. Arguing that there was a common foundation beneath the diverse strands of thought of this period, he shows how Enlightenment philosophers drew upon the ideas of the preceding centuries even while radically transforming them to fit the modern world. In Cassirer's view, the Enlightenment liberated philosophy from the realm of pure thought and restored it to its true place as an active and creative force through which knowledge of the world is achieved. In a new foreword, Peter Gay considers The Philosophy of the Enlightenment in the context in which it was written--Germany in 1932, on the precipice of the Nazi seizure of power and one of the greatest assaults on the ideals of the Enlightenment. He also argues that Cassirer's work remains a trenchant defense against enemies of the Enlightenment in the twenty-first century.
In the spring of 1929, Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer met for a public conversation in Davos, Switzerland. They were arguably the most important thinkers in Europe, and their exchange touched upon the most urgent questions in the history of philosophy. Here, in a reconstruction at once historical and philosophical, Peter Gordon reexamines the conversation, its origins and its aftermath.
Book The Problem of Knowledge Description/Summary:
"Cassirer employs his remarkable gift of lucidity to explain the major ideas and intellectual issues that emerged in the course of nineteenth century scientific and historical thinking. The translators have done an excellent job in reproducing his clarity in English. There is no better place for an intelligent reader to find out, with a minimum of technical language, what was really happening during the great intellectual movement between the age of Newton and our own."-- New York Times. -- Publisher description.
“[A] fascinating and accessible account . . . In his entertaining book, Mr. Eilenberger shows that his magicians’ thoughts are still worth collecting, even if, with hindsight, we can see that some performed too many intellectual conjuring tricks.” —Wall Street Journal A grand narrative of the intertwining lives of Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Ernst Cassirer, major philosophers whose ideas shaped the twentieth century The year is 1919. The horror of the First World War is fresh for the protagonists of Time of the Magicians, each of whom finds himself at a crucial juncture. Benjamin is trying to flee his overbearing father and floundering in his academic career, living hand to mouth as a critic. Wittgenstein, by contrast, has dramatically decided to divest himself of the monumental fortune he stands to inherit, in search of spiritual clarity. Meanwhile, Heidegger, having managed to avoid combat in war by serving as a meteorologist, is carefully cultivating his career. Finally, Cassirer is working furiously on the margins of academia, applying himself to his writing and the possibility of a career at Hamburg University. The stage is set for a great intellectual drama, which will unfold across the next decade. The lives and ideas of this extraordinary philosophical quartet will converge as they become world historical figures. But as the Second World War looms on the horizon, their fates will be very different.
"Here is the first Kant-biography in English since Paulsen’s and Cassirer’s only full-scale study of Kant’s philosophy. On a very deep level, all of Cassirer’s philosophy was based on Kant’s, and accordingly this book is Cassirer’s explicit coming to terms with his own historical origins. It sensitively integrates interesting facts about Kant’s life with an appreciation and critique of his works. Its value is enhanced by Stephen K�rner’s Introduction, which places Cassirer’s Kant-interpretation in its historical and contemporary context.”--Lewis White Beck "The first English translation (well done by James Haden) of a 60-year-old classic intellectual biography. Those readers who know Kant only through the first Critique will find their understanding of that work deepened and illuminated by a long explication of the pre-critical writings, but perhaps the most distinctive contribution is Cassirer’s argument that the later Critiques, and especially the Critique of Judgment, must be understood not as merely applying the principles of the first to other areas but as subsuming the latter into a larger and more comprehensive framework.”--Frederick J. Crown, The Key Reporter "Kant’s Life and Thought is that rare achievement: a lucid and highly readable account of the life and work of one of the world’s profoundest thinkers. Now for the first time available in an admirable English translation, the book introduces the reader to two of the finest minds in the history of philosophy.”--Ashley Montagu
Ernst Cassirer was professor in Göteborg from 1935 to 1941. This episode of his life is little known, even though the Swedish years were very important. During that time of political turmoil he wrote several books and most of the papers that are now being published posthumously. This book - based on recently discovered sources - gives a detailed picture of Cassirer's life and work in Sweden. It explains how he was invited to Sweden and why he became a Swedish citizen. The analyses show how Cassirer's exchange with Swedish philosophers influenced his work and shed new light on his development during exile. This study also contains an introduction by John Michael Krois, a chronology of the Swedish years and a description of the long lost manuscript of Das Erkenntnisproblem, volume four.
Book Cassirer's Metaphysics of Symbolic Forms Description/Summary:
This book—the first commentary on Ernst Cassirer’s Metaphysics of Symbolic Forms—provides an introduction to the metaphysical views that underlie the philosopher’s conceptions of symbolic form and human culture. Thora Ilin Bayer focuses on the meaning of Cassirer’s claim that philosophy is not itself a symbolic form but the thought around which all aspects of human activity are seen as a whole. Underlying the symbolic forms are Cassirer’s two metaphysical principles, spirit (Geist) and life, which interact to produce the reality of the human world. Bayer shows how these two principles of Cassirer’s early philosophy are connected with the phenomenology of his later philosophy, which centers on his conception of “basis phenomena”—self, will, and work.
Book Ernst Cassirer and the Autonomy of Language Description/Summary:
Gregory S. Moss examines the central arguments in Ernst Cassirer’s first volume of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms to show how Cassirer defends language as an autonomous cultural form, and how he borrows the concept of the “concrete universal” from G. W. F. Hegel in order to develop a concept of cultural autonomy.
Book The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms Description/Summary:
The symbolic form has long been considered by many who knew it in the original German as the greatest of Ernst Cassirer's works. Into it he poured all the resources of his vast learning about language, myth, religion, art, and science- the various creative symbolizing activities and constructions through which man has expressed himself and given intelligible objective form to his experience.
This is the first comprehensive volume in English on Cassirer's philosophy for over seventy years. Eleven leading Cassirer scholars address all of the key aspects of Cassirer's multi-faceted thought and situate them in the wider context of his philosophy of culture. Their essays demonstrate the depth and richness of a philosophical enterprise that still awaits recognition as one of the most original contributions to twentieth-century philosophy. Interpreting Cassirer will prove invaluable not only for Cassirer scholars and researchers of early twentieth-century philosophy, but also for scholars of the philosophy of culture, language, science, art, history, and mind.