Cassirer and energetics: an investigation of Cassirer's early philosophy of physics

British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-24 (forthcoming)
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At the turn of the twentieth century, Helm and Ostwald were the most prominent supporters of so-called ‘energetics’, which aimed to unify all physics by employing the sole concept of energy, without relying on mechanical models. This paper argues that Cassirer's interest in the history of the energy principle and the energetic controversy is entangled with the main themes of his philosophy of physics up to the 1920s: the opposition between the a priori and the a posteriori and the substance-concept and the function-concept. These interwoven motifs are not always easy to disentangle. The paper suggests that Cassirer's interpretation of the energy principle can serve as a guiding thread that runs through Cassirer's philosophy of physics up to the 1920s.



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Marco Giovanelli
Università di Torino

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References found in this work

Dynamics of Reason.Michael Friedman - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):702-712.
Substanzbegriff und Funktionsbegriff.Ernst Cassirer - 1910 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 18 (6):7-8.
Philosophie der symbolischen Formen.Ernst Cassirer - 1925 - Annalen der Philosophie Und Philosophischen Kritik 5 (3):83-83.
Die logischen Grundlagen der exakten Wissenschaften.Paul Natorp - 1910 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 18 (5):16-21.

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