(2011) Synthese 179 (1).

Ernst Cassirer as cultural scientist

Ernst Wolfgang Orth

pp. 115-134

The article investigates Cassirer’s developing interest in the cultural sciences to display how his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms constitutes a philosophy of culture. The core concept in such a philosophy of culture is the symbolic formation that both possesses a structured-structuring dimension and appears as an historical process in which culture shows itself as a temporal creation. The philosophy of culture displays ‘life in meaning’, that is reality as it exhibits human reality manifested in and through the medium of linguistic, artistic, religious, scientific “and so on” action and behaviour. This reality, therefore, is mediation between culture and nature through human spirit. Cassirer’s philosophy of culture connects back to Kant’s transcendental idealism by emphasizing that any concept of reality establishes itself through a modalization of reality, e.g. that reality constitutes itself in the mode of interpretation. This makes the basis for Cassirer’s characteristic understanding of hermeneutics where cultural development is regarded as drama.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11229-009-9627-4

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Full citation:

Orth, E.W. (2011). Ernst Cassirer as cultural scientist. Synthese 179 (1), pp. 115-134.

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