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
Born
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)
Phenomenology
Ontic structural realism
Theses
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]