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The Symbolic Construction of RealityThe Legacy of Ernst Cassirer$
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Jeffrey Andrew Barash

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226036861

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226036892.001.0001

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The Hero of Enlightenment

The Hero of Enlightenment

Chapter:
(p.189) Eleven The Hero of Enlightenment
Source:
The Symbolic Construction of Reality
Author(s):

Gideon Freudenthal

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226036892.003.0011

This chapter examines Ernst Cassirer's theses concerning the victory of Fascism in Germany proposed in his book The Myth of the State. It aims to resolve the incompatibility of the pluralism of symbolic forms and Cassirer's commitment to the ideal of Enlightenment that rules out genuine relativism, and to explain why Cassirer did not write on ethics and did not even include ethics among the different symbolic forms. The chapter suggests that the kernel of Cassirer's philosophy is the notion of a fully developed “free and autonomous personality” or “hero of Enlightenment.”

Keywords:   Ernst Cassirer, Fascism, Germany, Myth of State, symbolic forms, Enlightenment, ethics, autonomous personality

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