In Anne Pollok & Luigi Filieri (eds.), The Method of Culture. Bologna, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Italy: pp. 167-192 (2021)

Mike Gregory
University of Groningen
Whether and to what extent Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of culture contains a normative element for the proper evaluation of symbolic forms is a central question in Cassirer interpretation. In this paper, my aim is to specify the nature of this normative element. I not only assert the existence of a real normative dimension in the philosophy of culture, but also specify the nature of its main element: the concept of freedom. The concept of freedom in Cassirer is by no means an explicit facet of his systematic thought. However, this does not indicate that this is not an important part of his system. Rather, it might mean that Cassirer either thought it so basic he didn’t need to explicate it or he thought that it would be made clear through his exposition of symbolic forms. I will proceed by arguing for a “normative space” in Cassirer’s philosophy of culture. By “normative space” I mean a certain limitation to the philosophy of culture that makes room for the free act of the cultural agent for which she is responsible. In other words, by “normative space” I mean to suggest that Cassirer meant to leave room, and a prominent seat, for the normative element in the philosophy of culture. After establishing this, I will suggest that this normative task in the philosophy of culture is, from a first-person perspective, inevitably connected to the descriptive task, but from a third-person perspective, conceptually distinct. I will then move to better define what I take to be the main value of the normative task: freedom. The freedom that Cassirer defends is an ethical conception understood as both a constitutive norm for cultural action and a regulative ideal for the evaluation of cultural objects. Understanding freedom in this way allows us to conceive of it both as a fundamental phenomenon and an evaluative standard.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Making It Explicit.Isaac Levi & Robert B. Brandom - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):145.
First Principles. --.Herbert Spencer - 1860 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

History As Symbolic Form: Cassirer and Vico.Thora Ilin Bayer - 2004 - Idealistic Studies 34 (1):49-65.
Ernst Cassirer.Anthony K. Jensen - 2015 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Freedom and Culture.Shuchen Xiang - 2018 - Idealistic Studies 48 (2):175-194.
Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture (Review).Sebastian Luft - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (1):116-117.
Review of Skidelsky, "Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture". [REVIEW]Sebastian Luft - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (1):pp. 116-117.
Cassirer's Functional Conception of the Human Being.Simon Truwant - 2015 - Idealistic Studies 45 (2):169-189.
Interpreting Cassirer: Critical Essays.Simon Truwant (ed.) - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
Organic Harmony and Ernst Cassirer’s Pluralism.Shuchen Xiang - 2019 - Idealistic Studies 49 (3):259-284.


Added to PP index

Total views
27 ( #411,049 of 2,461,407 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #30,629 of 2,461,407 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes