Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos by Peter E. Gordon

By Peter E. Gordon

within the spring of 1929, Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer met for a public dialog in Davos, Switzerland. They have been arguably an important thinkers in Europe, and their trade touched upon the main pressing questions within the heritage of philosophy: what's human finitude? what's objectivity? what's tradition? what's fact?

during the last 80 years the Davos come across has got an allegorical value, as though it marked an final and irreparable rupture in twentieth-century Continental suggestion. right here, in a reconstruction right away old and philosophical, Peter Gordon reexamines the dialog, its origins and its aftermath, resuscitating an occasion that has turn into entombed in its personal mythology. via a detailed and painstaking research, Gordon dissects the trade itself to bare that it used to be at center a philosophical war of words over what it ability to be human.

yet Gordon additionally exhibits how the lifestyles and paintings of those philosophers remained heavily intertwined. Their war of words should be understood provided that we savour their universal element of departure as thinkers of the German interwar difficulty, an period of uprising that touched all the significant philosophical activities of the day—life-philosophy, philosophical anthropology, neo-Kantianism, phenomenology, and existentialism. As Gordon explains, the Davos debate may proceed to either encourage and galvanize good after the 2 males had long gone their separate methods. It is still, even at the present time, a touchstone of philosophical reminiscence.

This transparent, riveting publication might be of significant curiosity not just to philosophers and to historians of philosophy but additionally to somebody drawn to the good highbrow ferment of Europe’s interwar years.

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Additional info for Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos

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Thus "Being-a-basis" means never to have power over one's ownmost being from the ground up. 44 For Heidegger thrownness, or Geworfenheit, was a defining feature of human existence. For Cassirer, as we shall see, it was the most consequential and characteristic theme in Heidegger's entire philosophy. Whether this judgment can be sustained must await further discussion. What is certain is that thrownness expressed an insight crucial to Heidegger's broader conception of historical existence. Heidegger had learned from his neo-Kantian mentor Heinrich Rickert to appreciate the importance of history as a special mode of human experience, the investigation of which demanded methods distinct from those of the natural sciences.

The book immediately established its author's reputation for boldness and originality of purpose, but there was no question the philosophical community had barely begun to fathom its deeper implications. Being and Time was an almost uncategorizable book. It was ostensibly an exercise in the phenomenological method as developed by the author's mentor Husserl: all of the inherited prejudices of the philosophical past were to be swept aside, and the fullest attention was to be brought to bear on the basic task of describing the phenomena—"the things themselves"—just as they show themselves to be within the horizon of lived experience.

Meanwhile, only two years before, Heidegger had published an incomplete portion of Being and Time. The book immediately established its author's reputation for boldness and originality of purpose, but there was no question the philosophical community had barely begun to fathom its deeper implications. Being and Time was an almost uncategorizable book. It was ostensibly an exercise in the phenomenological method as developed by the author's mentor Husserl: all of the inherited prejudices of the philosophical past were to be swept aside, and the fullest attention was to be brought to bear on the basic task of describing the phenomena—"the things themselves"—just as they show themselves to be within the horizon of lived experience.

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