Ernst Cassirer

(2069 words)
  • Roger Stephenson, Paul Bishop, Stephanie Hoelscher (University of Glasgow)

Ernst Cassirer's importance today is seen as two-fold. On the one hand he is the philosopher of “symbolic form”, offering a powerful account of human life as a fundamentally cultural activity, principally in his magnum opus Philosophie der symbolischen Formen [The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, in 4 volumes, 1923, 1925, 1929, and (posthumously) 1995]. On the other, his awareness of a wider intellectual world, beyond the confines of conventional philosophy – in particular, his sensitivity to psychology and aesthetics – recommends him strongly in an age of intercultural and interdisciplinary concern. As he wrote in his Essay on Man, published in 1944 in English:

The principle of symbolism, w…
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Roger Stephenson, Paul Bishop, Stephanie Hoelscher. "Ernst Cassirer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 July 2004; last revised 30 November -1.
[, accessed 19 April 2015.]