Ernst Cassirer: A Selected Secondary Bibliography

Compiled by Ralph Dumain

Auerbach, David. Ernst Cassirer, Heidegger, and the Pitfall of Being Reasonable (or: Fashionable Radicalism), Waggish (blog), 27 Aug 2011.

Barash, Jeffrey Andrew. “Ernst Cassirer, Martin Heidegger, and the Legacy of Davos,” History and Theory, vol. 51, no. 3 (2012), pp. 436-450.

Bond, Robert. Habermas on Cassirer in the 1920s, Rethinking Weimar (blog), 29 April 2013.

Cassirer, Ernst; Krois, John Michael. ‘"Mind" and "Life": Heidegger (An Unpublished Manuscript)’, Philosophy & Rhetoric, Vol. 16, No. 3 (1983), pp. 160-166.

Cassirer’s original German ms & Krois’ English translation. See also Krois.

English Literature on Cassirer (bibliography).

Friedman, Michael. A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger. Chicago: Open Court, 2000.

Houkes, Wybo. Review: Michael Friedman, A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger; Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol. 40, no. 4, October 2002, pp. 554-555.

Sluga, Hans. Review of Michael Friedman, “A Parting of the Ways,The Journal of Philosophy, vol. 98, 2001.

Gordon, Peter E. Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.

Gordon, Peter E. “Continental Divide: Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger at Davos, 1929—An Allegory of Intellectual History,” Modern Intellectual History, vol. 1, no. 2 (2004), pp. 219-248.

Gordon, Peter Eli. “Myth and Modernity: Cassirer’s Critique of Heidegger,” New German Critique, pp. 127-168.

Hoel, Aud Sissel; Folkvord, Ingvild; eds. Ernst Cassirer on Form and Technology: Contemporary Readings (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Introduction by Aud Sissel Hoel and Ingvild Folkvord, pp. 1-12.
Technology as Destiny in Cassirer and Heidegger: Continuing the Davos Debate by Hans Ruin, pp. 113-138

Krois, John Michael. Cassirer: Symbolic Forms and History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

Krois, John Michael. “Cassirer’s Unpublished Critique of Heidegger,” Philosophy & Rhetoric, Vol. 16, No. 3 (1983), pp. 147-159.

See also Cassirer for the original ms & Krois’ translation.

Moynahan, Gregory B. Ernst Cassirer and the Critical Science of Germany, 1899–1919. London: Anthem Press, 2013.

Pavesich, Vida. Hans Blumenberg’s Philosophical Anthropology: After Heidegger and Cassirer.

Skidelsky, Edward. Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. See also review:

Clingan, Nicolaas P. Barr. Review of Bevc, Tobias, Kulturgenese als Dialektik von Mythos und Vernunft: Ernst Cassirer und die Kritische Theorie and Skidelsky, Edward, Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture. H-German, H-Net Reviews. March, 2010.

Skidelsky, Edward. “From Epistemology to Cultural Criticism: Georg Simmel and Ernst Cassirer,” History of European Ideas, volume 29, issue 3, September 2003, pp. 365-381.

Waite, Geoffrey. “On Esotericism: Heidegger and/or Cassirer,” Political Theory, Vol. 26, No. 5, (October 1998), pp. 603-651. See also review by R. Dumain.


I am interested in the long-term ideological dynamics of competing philosophies, with special attention to the chronic oscillation between positivism and irrationalism. Cassirer occupied a pivotal point in this history. The Gordon and Sidelsky books are obvious personal priorities. The Davos confrontation is of key interest. Here is a paragraph from an essay of mine: (13 February 2013)

Without unequivocally endorsing either Michael Friedman or Geoffrey Waite, I find it quite telling that Friedman approaches the Cassirer-Heidegger controversy as a technical philosophical contretemps falling out of competing Neo-Kantian schools, whilst Waite, entirely steeped in the postmodernist milieu, sees it as Heidegger outwitting the clueless Cassirer via an esoteric cunning operating under the radar of what was ostensibly under debate.  Oh, and here’s another tidbit I’m not in a position to verify. I’m told that Henry Pachter attended the Davos conference, at which brownshirts were visibly present, who rebuffed Cassirer as did Heidegger, and that the political undertone of the debate was not in the least subtle. (13 July 2008)

Something is askew in the contemporary reappraisal of Cassirer’s work. Gordon (“Myth and Modernity”) weighs Cassirer and Heidegger, and Horkheimer/Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment comes out on top. Clingan is skeptical of Skidelsky’s advocacy of Cassirer. Auerbach finds that contemporary Cassirer scholars hesitate to advocate Cassirer because he is not radical enough. Where specific criticisms of the scholars mentioned have merit, the critics’ own bottom-line perspectives are lacking something. None of them in my view have fully grasped and transcended the underlying dynamic of the unity and struggle of bourgeois rationalism and bourgeois irrationalism. (29 November 2013)

On Geoffrey Waite on Esoterism, Heidegger, and Cassirer
by Ralph Dumain

Nietzsche & the Analytic-Continental Divide: Denouement of Bourgeois Reason; Or, Analytical Philosophy's Being-for-Death
by Ralph Dumain

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Selected Secondary Bibliography

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Uploaded 13 February 2013
Update 29 November 2013

©2013 Ralph Dumain