Article/Publication Details

Phenomenology without „Phenomenon“ – Ernst Cassirer’s Case

(Original title: Phenomenology without „Phenomenon“ – Ernst Cassirer’s Case)
Filozofia, 2009, vol. 64, No 3, pp. 262-274.
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Abstract

Ernst Cassirer’s place in the 20th century philosophy is quite puzzling. Is it an appropriation of Kant’s transcendental philosophy for inclusion of relativity theory and quantum physics? Is it a Hegelian type of philosophy of culture and spirit? Or, at the face value, is it a direct heritage and application of the Marburg School of neo-Kantianism initiated by Hermann Cohen? It is very surprising to hear Cassirer’s confession that he is also influenced by Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology: whereas the basic idea of phenomenology is to do away with all theoretical constructions and start anew from the immediately pre-given phenomenon, all the ‘constructivist’ heritage in Cassirer’s philosophy resists such an idea of philosophizing the immediately pre-given. Then, how should we understand the ‘phenomenology’ Cassirer himself professes? Re-examining the idea of phenomenology for Husserl, we discover that both Husserl and Cassirer are carrying out the same kind of ‘phenomenology,’ phenomenology as transcendental philosophy par excellence.

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