Ernst Cassirer

Ernst Alfred Cassirer (/kɑːˈsɪərər, kəˈ-/ kah-SEER-ər, kə-,[2] German: [ˈɛʁnst kaˈsiːʁɐ];[3][4] July 28, 1874 – April 13, 1945) was a German philosopher. Trained within the Neo-Kantian Marburg School, he initially followed his mentor Hermann Cohen in attempting to supply an idealistic philosophy of science.

Ernst Alfred Cassirer
Cassirer in about 1935
Ernst Alfred Cassirer

(1874-07-28)July 28, 1874
DiedApril 13, 1945(1945-04-13) (aged 70)
EducationUniversity of Marburg
(PhD, 1899)
University of Berlin
(Dr. phil. habil., 1906)
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolNeo-Kantianism (Marburg School)
Ontic structural realism
Academic advisorsHermann Cohen
Paul Natorp
Main interests
Epistemology, aesthetics
Notable ideas
Philosophy of symbolic forms
Animal symbolicum
Ontic structural realism[1]

After Cohen's death, Cassirer developed a theory of symbolism and used it to expand phenomenology of knowledge into a more general philosophy of culture. Cassirer was one of the leading 20th-century advocates of philosophical idealism. His most famous work is the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (1923–1929).

Though his work received a mixed reception shortly after his death, more recent scholarship has remarked upon Cassirer's role as a strident defender of the moral idealism of the Enlightenment era and the cause of liberal democracy at a time when the rise of fascism had made such advocacy unfashionable. Within the international Jewish community, Cassirer's work has additionally been seen as part of a long tradition of thought on ethical philosophy.[5]