The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Volume 3: The Phenomenology of Knowledge, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Volume 3

The Phenomenology of Knowledge, 1st Edition

By Ernst Cassirer

Routledge

544 pages

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Hardback: 9781138907249
pub: 2020-02-06
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Description

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.

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, the first for over fifty years, brings Cassirer's magnum opus to a new generation of students and scholars.

Volume 3: The Phenomenology of Knowledge is a fascinating exploration of epistemology, examining themes of knowledge, perception and consciousness across the human sciences, including significant arguments concerning knowledge in mathematics and the physical sciences.

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.

Table of Contents

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.

Preface

Introduction

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

3. Space

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).

Glossary

General Index

Index of Proper Names.

About the Author

Ernst Cassirer was born in 1874 in the German city of Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). He entered the University of Berlin in 1892, taking a course with the sociologist Georg Simmel. Simmel introduced Cassirer to the writings of the Neo-Kantian school, particularly Hermann Cohen. Cassirer became deeply interested in Neo-Kantianism, reading Kant primarily as an epistemologist and methodologist of science against the prevailing German idealist legacy of Kant as a metaphysician. In 1894 he moved to Marburg University to study with Cohen, completing his doctorate in 1899 with a dissertation on Descartes’s analysis of mathematics and science. He returned to Berlin in 1903, where he continued to work on Descartes and Leibniz whilst developing his much larger interpretation of the development of modern philosophy and science from the Renaissance to Kant. The first volume of this work served as his habilitation at the University of Berlin, where he taught as an instructor or Privatdozent from 1906 to 1919.

In 1919 Cassirer was offered a professorship at the newly founded University of Hamburg, at the time under the Weimar Republic. He taught at Hamburg from 1919 to 1933. During these years Cassirer completed his three-volume Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, his major work. It went far beyond the neo-Kantianism of the Marburg School, attempting to unite scientific and non-scientific modes of thought - "symbolic forms" - within a single philosophical vision. In 1929 he took part in a famous debate with Martin Heidegger in Davos, Switzerland, where Cassirer defended his brand of neo-Kantian symbolic forms in the face of Heidegger’s existentialist and phenomenological critique of neo-Kantianism.

In 1933, Cassirer emigrated from Germany and spent two years lecturing at Oxford and then six years at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He developed his theories of morality and the philosophy of law through the study of the Swedish legal philosopher Axel Hägerström. He also continued to work on the relationship between the natural sciences and the "cultural sciences, rejecting Rudolf Carnap’s physicalism and challenging the drift towards what he regarded a scientific reductionism in philosophy. Cassirer finally settled in the United States, where he taught at Yale University from 1941 to 1944 and at Columbia in 1944–45. During these years he wrote An Essay on Man, which expresses some of the core themes of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, and the Myth of the State, which examines rise of fascism on the basis of Cassirer’s conception of mythical thought. He died suddenly as a result of a heart attack while walking in New York in 1945.

About the Series

The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

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.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHI000000
PHILOSOPHY / General