An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture

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Yale University Press, 1972 - Philosophy - 237 pages
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One of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers presents the results of his lifetime study of man's cultural achievements. An Essay on Man is an original synthesis of contemporary knowledge, a unique interpretation of the intellectual crisis of our time, and a brilliant vindication of man's ability to resolve human problems by the courageous use of his mind.

What the thinkers of the past have thought of the human race, what can be said of its art, language, and capacities for good and evil in the light of modern knowledge are discussed by a great philosopher who had a profound experience of the past and of his own time.

"Ernst Cassirer...had a long standing international reputation in philosophy.... This suggestive volume now makes available the substance of his point of view." --Irwin Edman, New York Herald Tribune

"The best and most mature expression of his thought."--Journal of Philosophy

 

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The best introduction to philosophy of culture.

Contents

WHAT IS MAN?
1
THE SYMBOL
23
MAN AND CULTURE
63
MYTH AND RELIGION
72
LANGUAGE
109
ART
137
SCIENCE
207
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
222
INDEX
229
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About the author (1972)

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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