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The Origins of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

Kant, Hegel, and Cassirer

Donald Phillip Verene

Publication Year: 2011

Donald Phillip Verene is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy and director of the Institute for Vico Studies at Emory University.

Published by: Northwestern University Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-11

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pp. xi-xix

Ernst Cassirer is commonly classifi ed as a neo-Kantian. Th ere is considerable truth to this conception of his philosophy. In the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, German philosophy was dominated by various schools of neo-Kantianism...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xxi-xxii

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Introduction. Schema, Substance, and Symbol

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pp. 3-16

The philosophy of the idea or philosophical idealism always faces the problem of how the universal in the form of the concept can combine with the sense impression of the particular. Experience requires both the concept as the product of thought and the intuition (to use Kant’s term)...

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Chapter 1. Linguistic Form: The Critique of Reason Becomes the Critique of Culture

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pp. 17-29

Cassirer’s sentence, “The critique of reason becomes the critique of culture” (PSF 1:80), more than any other, captures the sense and aim of his philosophy. It is a motto. Cassirer regards the expansion of the Kantian concern with the critique of reason to the critique of culture as a natural...

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Chapter 2. Mythical Thought: Beginning the Ladder of Consciousness

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pp. 31-44

In beginning his volume on language as a symbolic form, Cassirer points out that there is no comprehensive work on the history of the philosophy of language (PSF 1:117n1). Cassirer supplies his own brief but valuable history. In this case he could rely on Wilhelm von Humboldt’s...

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Chapter 3. Phenomenology of Knowledge: Taking Phenomenology in the Hegelian, Not the Modern Sense

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pp. 45-59

Cassirer explains that the third volume of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, The Phenomenology of Knowledge (Erkenntnis), concerns the prob lem of knowledge understood as part of the theoretical worldview. He says that this problem, understood in this way, refers back to the...

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Chapter 4. Metaphysics of Symbolic Forms: Spirit, Life, and Werk

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pp. 61-74

In concluding his preface to the third volume of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Cassirer informed the reader that he had intended to include a final chapter, in which he would critically place his conception of a philosophy of symbolic forms in relation to contemporary philosophy....

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Chapter 5. Logic of the Cultural Sciences: Nature and Culture

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pp. 75-87

In the same period of his thought that Cassirer wrote the manuscript on basis phenomena, he wrote and published his brief work of “five studies” on The Logic of the Cultural Sciences (1942). This work goes over much of the same ground that Cassirer treated at length in various parts...

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Chapter 6. Animal Symbolicum

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pp. 89-102

When Cassirer began teaching at Yale University in 1941, his friends and colleagues suggested that he publish a translation of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. His response was to write a new book that would both summarize his earlier and larger work and put its conclusions in a...

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Chapter 7. Human Freedom and Politics

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pp. 103-116

In his inaugural lecture, “The Concept of Philosophy as a Philosophical Problem,” at the University of Göteborg, Sweden, in the fall of 1935, Cassirer employs Kant’s distinction between a scholastic conception of philosophy, as having the goal to seek “nothing more than the logical...

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Appendix: A Bibliographical Essay

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pp. 117-127

The following remarks are intended as an overview of scholarship and scholarly materials on Cassirer and his writings. To my knowledge no such essay exists. It may be useful for anyone seeking a grasp of the state of Cassirer studies, despite any defects and omissions it may contain....


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pp. 129-137


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pp. 139-142

About the Author

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pp. 143-166

E-ISBN-13: 9780810165687
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810127784

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: New
Volume Title: 1

OCLC Number: 867786115
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Origins of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

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Subject Headings

  • Cassirer, Ernst, 1874-1945.
  • Kant, Immanuel, -- 1724-1804 -- Influence.
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, -- 1770-1831 -- Influence.
  • Symbolism.
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