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Cassirer's Metaphysics of Symbolic FormsA Philosophical Commentary$
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Thora Bayer

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300083316

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300083316.001.0001

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The Object of Philosophy

The Object of Philosophy

(p.80) 2 The Object of Philosophy
Cassirer's Metaphysics of Symbolic Forms

Thora Ilin Bayer

Yale University Press

This chapter presents the object of philosophy according to Cassirer—the dialectic of life and spirit. The object of philosophy in another sense is itself. Philosophy asks itself what it is, does, and hopes to achieve. A remarkable portion of the early texts of the fourth volume of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is concerned with what philosophy is and how it functions. Understanding what philosophy is, for Cassirer, is an essential part of the activity of philosophy. The activity of philosophy can be understood through its various components: its presuppositions, starting point, method, goal, and impulse. These components are integrally related; strict divisions between them are artificial. The most revealing and new claim Cassirer makes about philosophy in these early texts, however, is that philosophy is not a symbolic form.

Keywords:   object of philosophy, activity of philosophy, symbolic form, presuppositions, starting point, method, goal, impulse

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