Language and Myth

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, 1946 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 103 pages
5 Reviews

In this important study Ernst Cassirer analyzes the non-rational thought processes that go to make up culture. He demonstrates that beneath both language and myth there lies an unconscious "grammar" of experience, whose categories and canons are not those of logical thought. He shows that this prelogical "logic" is not merely an undeveloped state of rationality, but something basically different, and that this archaic mode of thought still has enormous power over even our most rigorous thought, in language, poetry and myth.
The author analyzes brilliantly such seemingly diverse (yet related) phenomena as the metaphysics of the Bhagavat Gita, the Melanesian concept of Mana, the Naturphilosophie of Schelling, modern poetry, Ancient Egyptian religion, and symbolic logic. He covers a vast range of material that is all too often neglected in studies of human thought.
These six essays are of great interest to the student of philosophy or the philosophy of science, the historian, or the anthropologist. They are also remarkably timely for students of literature, what with the enormous emphasis placed upon "myth" in modern literary speculation. This book is not superficial speculation by a dabbler, but a penetrating study by one of the most profound and sensitive philosophic minds of our time.

  

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User Review  - KidSisyphus - LibraryThing

You know that colony of people in Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 who commit books to memory in order to save them from a culture of book burning? Well, if such a thing were to ever come about in ... Read full review

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This is currently my bathroom reading. Read full review

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Rudolf Arnheim
Limited preview - 2004
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About the author (1946)

Ernst Cassirer, a German neo-Kantian philosopher, taught at several European universities before moving to the United States and teaching at Yale (1941-1944) and Columbia universities. A prolific historian of philosophy, Cassirer was influenced by Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel but originated his own distinctive doctrine. The centerpiece of Cassirer's thought is his theory of symbolic forms. He construed representation, the ground of symbolic form, to be essentially symbolic, fusing perceptual materials with conceptual meanings. The human species, he taught, is essentially a symbolizing animal. He maintained that symbolic forms are manifest in different modes-languages, myth, art, science, and religion. Cassirer utilized his theory of symbolic forms in the elaboration of a flexible philosophy of culture.

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