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Encyclopedia > Ernst Cassirer
Western Philosophy
20th-century philosophy
Ernst Cassirer
Name: Ernst Cassirer
Birth: July 28, 1874 (Breslau, Germany)
Death: April 13, 1945
School/tradition: Phenomenology

Ernst Cassirer (July 28, 1874April 13, 1945) was a German-Jewish philosopher. Coming out of the Marburg tradition of neo-Kantianism, he developed a philosophy of culture as a theory of symbols founded in a phenomenology of knowledge. It has been suggested that Contemporary philosophy be merged into this article or section. ... is the 209th day of the year (210th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1874 (MDCCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link with display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Motto: Miasto spotkaÅ„ (the meeting place) Coordinates: , Country Poland Voivodeship Lower Silesian Powiat city county Gmina WrocÅ‚aw Established 10th century City Rights 1262 Government  - Mayor RafaÅ‚ Dutkiewicz Area  - City 292. ... is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... This article is about the philosophical movement. ... is the 209th day of the year (210th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1874 (MDCCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link with display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Kantianism. ... This article is about the philosophical movement. ... It has been suggested that Meta-epistemology be merged into this article or section. ...

Contents

Biography

Cassirer was born in Wrocław, Silesia, into a Jewish family. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Berlin. As a Jew, he had no easy academic career. After long years as Privatdozent at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin (Cassirer turned down the offer of a visiting professorship at Harvard which he and his wife considered obscure and remote), he was elected to a chair of philosophy at the newly-founded University of Hamburg in 1919, where he lectured until 1933, and supervised the doctoral thesis of Leo Strauss. Cassirer was forced to leave Germany because the Nazis came to power. Motto: Miasto spotkaÅ„ (the meeting place) Coordinates: , Country Poland Voivodeship Lower Silesian Powiat city county Gmina WrocÅ‚aw Established 10th century City Rights 1262 Government  - Mayor RafaÅ‚ Dutkiewicz Area  - City 292. ... Silesia (Czech: ; German: ; Latin: ; Polish: ; Silesian: Åšlónsk) is a historical region in central Europe. ... There is no institution called the University of Berlin, but there are four universities in Berlin, Germany: Humboldt University of Berlin (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) Technical University of Berlin (Technische Universität Berlin) Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin) Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der... Privatdozent (PD or Priv. ... Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin The Humboldt University of Berlin (German Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) is Berlins oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt whose university model has strongly influenced... This article is about the capital of Germany. ... Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a member of the Ivy League. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... The University of Hamburg was founded on the 1 April 1919 by Wilhelm Stern and others. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Leo Strauss (September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973), was a German-born political philosopher who specialized in the study of classical political philosophy. ... National Socialism redirects here. ...


The contrast between Cassirer, a Jew, and the philosopher Martin Heidegger was quite striking. According to the Books and Writers website: Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) (pronounced ) was a highly influential German philosopher. ...

At Davos in the spring of 1929 [Cassirer] gave lectures before an invited international audience and had a debate with Martin Heidegger, a charismatic younger philosopher.... The debate marked the clash of two worlds of philosophy - the rich humanistic tradition represented by Cassirer and the antihistorical, modern brand of phenomenology. Heidegger's major work, Sein und Zeit (1927), had just appeared; ahead lay his decision to join the Nazi Party. Cassirer had been warned of Heidegger's rejection of all social conventions, whereas Cassirer's gentlemanlike behavior was his weapon against the attacks of the new star in philosophy. Later Heidegger complained that this 'prevented the problems from being given the necessary sharpness of formulation'. Cassirer himself said, that the antirational philosophy 'renounces its own fundamental theoretical and ethical ideals. It can be used, then, as a pliable instrument in the hands of political leaders'.

That such ideas were so used is evidence of Cassirer's perspicacity. After his expulsion from Germany he found first refuge as a lecturer in Oxford 19331935; he was then professor at Gothenburg University 19351941. When Cassirer - who considered Sweden too unsafe by then - tried to go to the United States and specifically to Harvard, the university turned him down because he had turned Harvard down thirty years earlier. Thus, he first had to work as a visiting professor at Yale University, New Haven 19411943, and only then moving to Columbia University in New York, where he lectured from 1943 until his death in 1945. As he had been naturalized in Sweden, he died on the Columbia campus a Swedish citizen of German-Jewish descent. This article is about the philosophical movement. ... // Being and Time (German Sein und Zeit, 1927) is the most important work of German philosopher Martin Heidegger. ... Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... Gothenburg University, or Göteborgs universitet, is a university in Gothenburg, Sweden. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a member of the Ivy League. ... “Yale” redirects here. ... This article is about the city in Connecticut. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Columbia University is a private research university in the United States and a member of the prestigious Ivy League. ... NY redirects here. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ...


Works

Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

Cassirer was both a genuine philosopher and an historian of philosophy. His major work, Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (3 vols., 1923–1929) is considered a benchmark for a philosophy of culture. Man, says Cassirer later in his more popular Essay on Man (1944), is a "symbolic animal". Whereas animals perceive their world by instincts, man has created his own universe of symbolic meaning that structures and shapes his perception of reality - and only thus, for instance, can conceive of utopias and therefore progress in the form of human consociation. In this, Cassirer owes much to Kant's transcendental idealism, which claimed that the actual world cannot be known, but that the human view on reality is shaped by our means of perceiving it. A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... A historian is an individual who studies history and who writes on history. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... The suckling of a newborn at its mothers nipple is an example of an instinctive behavior. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... In psychology and the cognitive sciences, perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting, and organizing sensory information. ... Reality, in everyday usage, means the state of things as they actually exist. ... Left panel (The Earthly Paradise, Garden of Eden), from Hieronymus Boschs The Garden of Earthly Delights. ... Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... Transcendental idealism is a doctrine founded by 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. ... Reality, in everyday usage, means the state of things as they actually exist. ... Reality, in everyday usage, means the state of things as they actually exist. ...


The Myth of the State

Cassirer's last major work was The Myth of the State. The book was published posthumously in 1946 after Cassirer's sudden death. Cassirer argues that the idea of a totalitarian state evolved from ideas advanced by Plato, Dante, Machiavelli, Gobineau, Carlyle and Hegel. He concludes that the Fascist regimes of the 20th century were symbolised by a myth of destiny and the promotion of irrationality. PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... DANTE is also a digital audio network. ... Detail of the portrait of Machiavelli, ca 1500, in the robes of a Florentine public official Niccolò Machiavelli (May 3, 1469—June 21, 1527) was an Italian political philosopher during the Renaissance. ... Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau (July 14, 1816 - October 13, 1882) was a French aristocrat who became famous for developing the theory of the Aryan master race in his book An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853-1855). ... Carlyle is the surname of: Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), the Scottish essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle (Scottish lawyer) (1803-1855), the Scottish lawyer and apostle of the Catholic Apostolic Church Robert Carlyle (born 1961), a Scottish movie actor Alexander Carlyle (1722-1805), a Scottish church leader Randy Carlyle (1956-), a... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Irrationality is talking or acting without regard of rationality. ...

Academic Genealogy
Notable teachers Notable students
Hermann Cohen
Paul Natorp
Hans Reichenbach
Leo Strauss

Hermann Cohen by Karl Doerbecker Hermann Cohen (4 July 1842 - 4 April 1918) was a German-Jewish philosopher, one of the founders of the Marburg School of Neo-Kantianism, and he is often held to be probably the most important Jewish philosopher of the nineteenth century (Jewish Virtual Library). ... Paul Gerhard Natorp (24 January 1854-17 August 1924) was a German neo-Kantian philosopher, and educationalist, and one of the Marburg school. ... Hans Reichenbach (September 26, 1891, Hamburg, – April 9, 1953, Los Angeles) was a leading philosopher of science, educator and proponent of logical positivism. ... Leo Strauss (September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973), was a German-born political philosopher who specialized in the study of classical political philosophy. ...

Partial bibliography

  • Substance and Function (1910), English translation 1923
  • Kant's Life and Thought (1918), English translation 1981
  • Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1923–29), English translation 1953–1957
  • Philosophy of the Enlightenment (1932), English translation 1951
  • The Logic of the Humanities (1942), English translation 1961
  • An Essay on Man (written and published in English) (1944)
  • The Myth of the State (written and published in English) (posthumous) (1946)
  • Language and Myth, translated into English by Susanne K. Langer (1946)

See also

 , IPA: , (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German polymath. ... Botticellis The Birth of Venus Botticellis Primavera Aby Moritz Warburg (Born: 13 June 1866 Hamburg, Germany Died: 26 October -1929 Hamburg, Germany) was an influential art historian. ...

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