Ernst Cassirer

Ernst Cassirer (ĕrnst käsēr´ər), 1874–1945, German philosopher. He was a professor at the Univ. of Hamburg from 1919 until 1933, when he went to Oxford; he later taught at Yale and Columbia. A leading representative of the Marburg Neo-Kantian school, Cassirer at first devoted himself to a critical-historical study of the problem of knowledge. This work bore fruit in the monumental Das Erkenntnisproblem in der Philosophie und Wissenschaft der neueren Zeit (3 vol., 1906–20) and Substanzbegriff und Funktionsbegriff (1910, tr. Substance and Function, 1923). In his chief work, Philosophie der symbolischen Formen (3 vol., 1923–29, tr. Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, 1953–57), he applied the principles of Kantian philosophy toward the formation of a critique of culture. His view that all cultural achievements (including language, myth, and science) are the results of man's symbolic activity led Cassirer to a new conception of man as the "symbolic animal." Cassirer wrote many other studies on science, myth, and various historical subjects. These include two written in English: An Essay on Man (1944) and Myth of the State (1946).

See P. A. Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer (1949, repr. 1973); studies by S. W. Itzkoff (1971), D. R. Lipton (1978), J. M. Krois (1985), and P. E. Gordon (2010).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture
Edward Skidelsky.
Princeton University Press, 2008
The Symbolic Construction of Reality: The Legacy of Ernst Cassirer
Jeffrey Andrew Barash.
University of Chicago Press, 2008
The Problem of Knowledge: Philosophy, Science, and History since Hegel
Ernst Cassirer; William H. Woglom; Charles W. Hendel.
Yale University Press, 1950
Substance and Function and Einstein's Theory of Relativity
Ernst Cassirer; Marie Collins Swabey; William Curtis Swabey.
Dover Publications, 1953
Metaphysical Narration, Science, and Symbolic Form
Verene, Donald Phillip.
The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 47, No. 1, September 1993
Art, Mind, and Brain: A Cognitive Approach to Creativity
Howard Gardner.
Basic Books, 1982
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Ernst Cassirer and the Symbolic Approach to Cognition"
Rosenzweig and Heidegger: Between Judaism and German Philosophy
Peter Eli Gordon.
University of California Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Information on Ernst Cassirer begins in Chap. 6 "'An Irony in the History of Spirit': Rosenzweig, Heidegger, and the Davos Disputation"
Verene and Cassirer: On New Beginnings
Krois, John Michael.
CLIO, Vol. 23, No. 4, Summer 1994
On Ernst Cassirer's an Essay on Man. (Bookmarks)
Skidelsky, Edward.
New Statesman (1996), Vol. 130, No. 4566, December 3, 2001
Culture & Foreign Policy
Valerie M. Hudson.
Lynne Rienner, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Cassirer's Philosophy of Understanding and Myth" begins on p. 76
Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers
Stuart Brown; Diané Collinson; Robert Wilkinson.
Routledge, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Cassirer, Ernst" begins on p. 133
Ernst Cassirer's Metaphysics and the Investigation of History
Bertland, Alexander.
CLIO, Vol. 28, No. 3, Spring 1999
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator