"The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is one of the landmarks of twentieth-century philosophy. Drawing from the influential work of Wilhelm Dilthey, it transformed neo-Kantianism into a new robust philosophy of culture. The second volume, on Mythical Thinking, analyzes the fundamental layers of perception and expression as well as the articulations with religion and the dialectic with other forms, essentially language and art.
The intellectual breadth of the volume is remarkable. It initiated the debate with Martin Heidegger and prompted a long-lasting meditation by Hans Blumenberg. We are only beginning to recognize its importance for our understanding of the power of images in the construction of aesthetics, the self, and the socio-political world. It initiated a discussion within French sociology (Émile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss) that ultimately resurfaced in Pierre Bourdieu, while today it is considered as a resourceful path for cultural and critical theory (Drucilla Cornell and Kenneth M. Panfilio). Finally, this volume also offers solid grounds for a political critique of Nazism - specifically: Alfred Rosenberg’s Myth of the 20th Century and Adolf Hitler’s MeinKampf - as well as the new emerging totalitarian ideologies." - Fabien Capeilleres, Professor of Philosophy, editor of the French edition of Cassirer’s Works
This new translation makes Cassirer’s seminal work available to a new generation of scholars. Each volume includes an introduction by Steve Lofts, a foreword by Peter Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and an index.
Steve Lofts is Professor of Philosophy at King’s University College, Canada. He is the translator of Cassirer’s The Logic of the Cultural Sciences and The Warburg Years (1919-1933): Essays on Language, Art, Myth, and Technology.
Foreword Peter E. Gordon
Translator’s Preface S. G. Lofts
Translator’s Introduction: A Transcendental Critique of Mythical-Religious Consciousness – Identity Thinking, the Natural Attitude, and an Immanence in the Sacred Sense of Life S. G. Lofts
Translator’s Acknowledgements S. G. Lofts.
Introduction: The Problem of A "Philosophy of Mythology"
Part 1: Myth as Thought-Form
1. The Character and Basic Tendency of Mythical Object Consciousness
2. The Individual Categories of Mythical Thinking
Part 2: Myth as Form of Intuition – The Construction and Organization of the Spatial-Temporal World in Mythical Consciousness
1. The Basic Opposition
2. The Basic Features of a Morphology of Myth – Space, Time, and Number
Part 3: Myth as Life-Form – The Discovery and Determination of Subjective Reality in Mythical Consciousness
1. The I and the Soul
2. The Forming Emergence of the Feeling of Self from the Mythical Feeling of Unity and Life
3. Cult and Sacrifice
Part 4: The Dialectic of Mythical Consciousness.
Index of Proper Names.
Ernst Cassirer occupies a unique space in Twentieth-century philosophy. A great liberal humanist, his multi-faceted work spans the history of philosophy, the philosophy of science, intellectual history, aesthetics, epistemology, the study of language and myth, and more. Cassirer’s thought also anticipates the renewed interest in the origins of analytic and continental philosophy in the Twentieth Century and the divergent paths taken by the 'logicist' and existential traditions, epitomised by his now legendary debate in 1929 with the philosopher Martin Heidegger, over the question "What is the Human Being?"
The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is Cassirer's most important work. It was first published in German in 1923, the third and final volume appearing in 1929. In it Cassirer presents a radical new philosophical worldview - at once rich, creative and controversial - of human beings as fundamentally "symbolic animals", placing signs and systems of expression between themselves and the world.
This major new translation of all three volumes, the first for over fifty years, brings Cassirer's magnum opus to a new generation of students and scholars. Taken together, the three volumes of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms are a vital treatise on human beings as symbolic animals and a monumental expression of neo-Kantian thought.
Correcting important errors in previous English editions, this translation reflects the contributions of significant advances in Cassirer scholarship over the last twenty to thirty years. Each volume includes a new introduction and translator's notes by S. G. Lofts, a foreword by Peter Gordon, a glossary of key terms, and a thorough index.