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Dreamland of HumanistsWarburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School$
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Emily J. Levine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226061689

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226061719.001.0001

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Warburg, Cassirer, and the Conditions of Reason

Warburg, Cassirer, and the Conditions of Reason

(p.93) Four Warburg, Cassirer, and the Conditions of Reason
Dreamland of Humanists

Emily J. Levine

University of Chicago Press

The fourth chapter shows how Ernst Cassirer fulfilled Warburg’s vision for Hamburg as a city of serious scholarship and validated the scholarly utility of his library, the latter of which would bring Warburg out of his wartime depression. This chapter traces Cassirer’s intellectual origins in Marburg neo-Kantianism under the tutelage of Hermann Cohen to his transformation to become the author of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, a multivolume work that found its intellectual home in the Warburg library. Through an examination of Cassirer’s interwar works, this chapter argues how the relationship between Warburg and Cassirer could be an antidote to Warburg’s mental struggle, and that Cassirer’s work reflected their shared scholarly enterprise. Though Cassirer expanded Kant’s critical philosophical lens to include other symbolic forms, and Warburg struggled to make logical sense of irrationality, both balanced what was lost and gained in the transition between reason and myth.

Keywords:   Kant, neo-Kantianism, Cassirer, Hermann Cohen, Marburg School, Warburg library, symbolic forms

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