"In his Phenomenology of Cognition, Cassirer provides a comprehensive and systematic account of the dynamic process involved in the whole of human culture as it progresses from the world of myth and its feeling of social belonging to the highest abstractions of mathematics, logic and theoretical physics. Cassirer engages with the most sophisticated and cutting-edge work in fields ranging from ethnology to classics, egyptology and assyriology to ethology, brain science and psychology to logic, mathematics and theoretical physics. His command of philosophy, literature, and the arts is superb. Echoing his work on Kant, Cassirer begins The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms with the problem posed by the meaning of being for philosophy since Plato. But Cassirer also shows that this problem gains new significance with Kant and with the development of modern culture. Cassirer weaves his conception of the development of knowledge into a broadly Kantian and German idealist dynamic-historical conception of significance and of experience that refuses to accept a fundamental opposition between literary, philosophical and scientific culture. In consequence of his great vision grounded in careful reflection and argument, Cassirer’s systematic conception of the Copernican cosmopolitan-cosmological revolution is still philosophically and scientifically unmatched in contemporary philosophy on both sides of the Atlantic and of the Pacific." - Pierre Keller, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Riverside, USA.
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 Phenomenology of Symbolic Creative Cognition – the Unfolding of the Symbolic Function and the Construction of a Pure Theory of the Symbolic S. G. Lofts
Translator’s Acknowledgements S. G. Lofts.
Part 1: The Expressive Function and the World of Expression
1. Subjective and Objective Analysis
2. The Expressive Phenomenon as the Basic Element of Perceptual Consciousness
3. The Expressive Function and the Mind-Body-Problem
Part 2: The Problem of Representation [Repräsentation] and the Construction of the Intuitive World
1. The Concept and the Problem of Representation [Repräsentation]
2. Thing and Property
4. The Intuition of Time
5. Symbolic Pregnance
6. Toward the Pathology of Symbolic Consciousness
Part 3: The Function of Signification and the Construction of Scientific Cognition
1. Toward a Theory of the Concept
2. Concept and Object
3. Language and Science – Thing Signs and Ordinal Signs
4. The Object of Mathematics
5. The Foundations of Natural Scientific Cognition
Appendix: "Spirit" and "Life" in Contemporary Philosophy (1930).
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.