PHENOMENOLOGY WITHOUT 'PHENOMENON' - ERNST CASIRER'S CASE
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Ernst Cassirer's place in the 20th century philosophy is quite puzzling. Is it an appropriation of Kant's transcendental philosophy for inclusion of relativity theory and quantum physics? Is it a Hegelian type of philosophy of culture and spirit? Or, at the face value, is it a direct heritage and application of the Marburg School of neo-Kantianism initiated by Hermann Cohen? It is very surprising to hear Cassirer's confession that he is also influenced by Edmund Husserl's 'phenomenology': whereas the basic idea of phenomenology is to do away with all theoretical constructions and start anew from the 'immediately pre-given' phenomenon, all the 'constructivist' heritage in Cassirer's philosophy resists such an idea of philosophizing the 'immediately pre-given'. Then, how should we understand the 'phenomenology' Cassirer himself professes? Re-examining the idea of phenomenology for Husserl, we discover that both Husserl and Cassirer are carrying out the same kind of 'phenomenology', phenomenology as transcendental philosophy 'par excellence'.
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