Ernst Cassirer

A "Repetition" of Modernity

By Steve G. Lofts
Foreword by John Michael Krois

Subjects: Cultural Critique
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791444962, 276 pages, March 2000
Hardcover : 9780791444955, 276 pages, March 2000

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Table of contents

Foreword: A Reading of the Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer,

John Michael Krois


List of Abbreviations and References

Introduction: The Strategy of Reading .  .  .

The "Crisis" in the Project of Rationality

The Structure of the Symbolic Function as the Function of Structure

Language: The "Genesis" of Signification and the Aufbau of the Objective World

Myth as the Other of Logos or the Texture of the Real: The Presence of Meaning as the Meaning of Presence

Religion: The "Logic of Absurdity" and the Intuition of the Real

Science: The Writing of a Lingua Universalis

Art: The "Eye of Spirit" and the "Cloak of Reality"

Conclusion: Cassirer's Metaphysics of the Symbolic Forms




Provides a reading of Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms in the context of contemporary continental philosophy.


This systematic introduction to Ernst Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms demonstrates how his approach transforms the project of modernity in accord with the limitations of the modern conception of rationality. At the same time, this book functions as an introduction to Cassirer's thought.

S. G. Lofts is a Humboldt Fellow. He is the translator of Ernst Cassirer's The Logic of the Cultural Sciences: Five Studies and is also the author of other Cassirer titles in French.


"This is the first work on Cassirer that I know of that relates his position to the most current views in French and German thought. It is really a new treatment of Cassirer. " — Donald Phillip Verene, coeditor of Ernst Cassirer's The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Volume 4: The Metaphysics of Symbolic Forms

"…an insightful study. The references to Cassirer's corpus and the specific quotes used as evidence are exceptionally well chosen. Moreover, the analysis of the structure of Cassirer's project both in terms of the manner in which it is normally interpreted and in terms of Lofts' explication is especially interesting. For a reader familiar with both Cassirer's original works and the body of literature it has engendered, this text offers some insights worthy of further examination. " — Dorothy A. Morosoff, Fordham University