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Life and the Symbolic in the Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer

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Life and the Symbolic in the Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer

Leroux, Craig (2011) Life and the Symbolic in the Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms has met with a wide range of reactions from his readers, often drawing the criticism that it remains within the rubric of a neo-Kantian intellectualism. Specifically, Heidegger criticized Cassirer for not recognizing the finite and embodied nature of humanity. The present thesis argues that Cassirer holds a view of humanity as essentially finite, embodied, and temporal. Further, it argues that humanity’s power for self-development stems directly from its limited, yet open, character. The first chapter demonstrates that Cassirer advances a conception of human life as defined by the symbolic, and a conception of the symbolic that is rooted in human embodied life. The second chapter presents Cassirer’s critique of the traditional theories of perception and then argues that his notion of symbolic pregnance is key to understanding both his theory of perception and the power for humanity to symbolically construct its cultural world. The third chapter returns to Cassirer’s conception of life, showing that only in virtue of our embodiment is life able to actualize itself, construct its cultural world, and advance into the realm of Spirit.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Leroux, Craig
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Philosophy
Date:20 January 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Zeman, Vladimir
ID Code:7295
Deposited By:CRAIG LEROUX
Deposited On:09 Jun 2011 11:28
Last Modified:09 Jun 2011 11:28
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