Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate. Heidegger and/or Cassirer at Davos. GEOFFREY WAITE. Cornell University. There was a famous discussion between Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer in Davos . In Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two.

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The book can usefully be read as a sequel to Gordon’s earlier work, for the two books together draw an extraordinary picture of a unique moment in the history of twentieth-century German philosophy and culture.

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Cassirer–Heidegger debate – Wikipedia

Notify me of new comments via email. Attempts to revive his fortunes are, I am afraid, doomed to failure. Having given a broad first outline of Cassirer’s and Heidegger’s respective positions, he proceeds in his first chapter to analyze the situation of German philosophy at the time of the Davos encounter.

Cassirer’s concentrated on a critique of philosophical anthropology and specifically of Davvos Scheler’s version of this new trend. The American Historical Review. As Gordon explains, the Davos debate would continue to both inspire and provoke well after the two men had gone their heideggger ways. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Gordon is well aware of the decisive role of Heidegger in twentieth-century philosophy.


The only thing I recall clearly about Carnap is that he said something to the effect of metaphysicians being like musicians without musical ability.

They were arguably the most important thinkers in Europe, and their exchange touched upon the most urgent questions in the history of philosophy: Heidegger’s Being and Time, which had put him at the center of German philosophy inreadily incorporated all these new forces. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. German philosophy, he argues, saw itself at this moment in a state of crisis that reflected the political and intellectual uncertainties of the period.

Thus, Cassirer’s historical narratives committed him to some kind of recognition of human finitude while Heidegger’s preoccupation with the possibility of making authentic choices led him in to celebrate the “will to power” of Germany’s Nazi youth.

The deeper tragedy is that it ended in politics at all. Join Our Mailing List: InPeter Gordon, Professor of History at Harvard University, published a remarkable book on the kinship between two distinctive figures of Weimar culture: In his last chapter, Gordon reviews the mythology that has grown up around the event. Cassirer was no doubt an accomplished philosopher, an influential teacher, and above all a thoroughly decent and admirable human being, but he does not get close in stature to the much more problematic Heidegger, and he certainly also lacks the philosophical radicalism of a Wittgenstein, Foucault, or Derrida and the incisive scientific acumen of a Russell, Quine, or Rawls.


Cassirer had begun the debate with the question: Through a close and painstaking analysis, Gordon dissects the exchange itself to reveal that it was at core a philosophical disagreement over what it means to be human.

At the core of their debate at Davos and, it turns out, at the core of their entire philosophical thought lay, as Gordon puts it, “a fundamental contest between two normative images of humanity,” p. This site uses cookies.

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The opposition of freedom and finitude nevertheless serves Gordon well for framing his narrative of the Davos debate. Over the last eighty years the Davos encounter has acquired an allegorical significance, as if it marked an ultimate and irreparable rupture in twentieth-century Continental thought.

Cassirer–Heidegger debate

Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here You are commenting using your Twitter account. Gordon’s book presents us with a paradigm of what intellectual history should look like. Cassirer challenges Heidegger’s relativism by invoking the universal validity of truths discovered by the exact and moral sciences.

Davoa philosophical readers, Continental Divide as well as Gordon’s earlier book are likely to prove of interest primarily because of what they say about Heidegger, his thought, his life, and his times. Gordon’s new book, Heiddegger Divide: