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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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Cassirer’s Cosmopolitan Nationalism

Cassirer’s Cosmopolitan Nationalism

(p.197) Eight Cassirer’s Cosmopolitan Nationalism
Dreamland of Humanists

Emily J. Levine

University of Chicago Press

Chapter eight shows how Cassirer’s life and work bore out the political implications of the Warburg circle and, in particular, the substantive connection between Hamburg, the Weimar Republic, and their scholarly humanism. Insofar as Cassirer focused on such classic eighteenth-century German philosophers as Leibniz, Lessing, Goethe, and Kant, thinkers for whom a cosmopolitan outlook was central to their life and work, Cassirer, like the political tradition of the Weimar Republic, was increasingly on the defensive to prove the Germanness of this project. This chapter argues that in both his 1928 speech for the Celebration of the Constitution and his 1929 Davos Debate with the philosopher Martin Heidegger, Cassirer defended his unique brand of intellectual and political “cosmopolitan nationalism,” a delicate balance of loyalty to both a distinct cultural group and wider humanist project. Toni Cassirer’s recollection of the event testifies to the extent to which lives had become symbolic of ideas.

Keywords:   humanism, Ernst Cassirer, Heidegger, Leibniz, Lessing, Goethe, Kant, Davos, cosmopolitan nationalism, Toni Cassirer

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