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Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture

Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture

Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture

By Edward Skidelsky 

"Skidelsky gives a close, technical account of the ways in which Cassirer was never just a Marburg School stereotype; but he aligned himself neither with the logical positivists nor with the Heideggerian, existentialist tradition which between them carved up the field of 20th-century philosophy, as they arguably continue to do."—David Simpson, London Review of Books

"Skidelsky's book is a must read for those interested in the history of ideas in general and for academic philosophers in particular. Indeed, philosophers, particularly of the Anglo-American variety, will find this book especially enlightening."—Kevin Aho, European Legacy

"A major accomplishment and an excellent introduction to Cassirer's philosophy. Most important, Skidelsky shows that Cassirer did not simply align himself with the tradition of German political thought reaching from Humboldt and Goethe to the later Thomas Mann, but that his entire philosophy was actually subservient to the project of rethinking the basis of political liberalism. Skidelsky overturns the widely accepted view that Cassirer was an apolitical epistemologist."—John Michael Krois, author of Cassirer: Symbolic Forms and History

This is the first English-language intellectual biography of the German-Jewish philosopher Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945), a leading figure on the Weimar intellectual scene and one of the last and finest representatives of the liberal-idealist tradition. Edward Skidelsky traces the development of Cassirer's thought in its historical and intellectual setting. He presents Cassirer, the author of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, as a defender of the liberal ideal of culture in an increasingly fragmented world, and as someone who grappled with the opposing forces of scientific positivism and romantic vitalism. Cassirer's work can be seen, Skidelsky argues, as offering a potential resolution to the ongoing conflict between the "two cultures" of science and the humanities--and between the analytic and continental traditions in philosophy. The first comprehensive study of Cassirer in English in two decades, this book will be of great interest to analytic and continental philosophers, intellectual historians, political and cultural theorists, and historians of twentieth-century Germany.

304 pages
Princeton University Press, 2008
6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
ISBN 9780691152356
Biography, Philosophy

$32.00 $32.00