Marquette University, Milwaukee, June 18-21, 2014
organized by Sebastian Luft
The philosopher Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945) is one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. Indeed, he occupies, in the words of Stanford philosopher Michael Friedman, “a unique space in twentieth-century philosophy,” since he was able to navigate between “logicist” and “existential” tendencies in contemporary philosophy. For that reason, Cassirer has been promoted (by Friedman and others since then) as someone who is the central figure to overcome the fateful split between “analytic” and “continental” philosophy. Cassirer’s oeuvre is vast; it spans the history of philosophy, theoretical philosophy, the philosophy of mathematics, cultural studies and intellectual history, aesthetics, the study of language and myth, and more. At the height of his reputation in 1930, he became – as one of the only four Jews – the Rektor of a German University (Hamburg). But already three years later, Cassirer was driven out of his native Germany. He fled to England, then Sweden, before arriving in the United States in 1941, where he held visiting appointments at Yale and Columbia University. During his short time in North America, Cassirer managed to attract a circle of students, and one can only imagine how much greater his influence would have been had he lived and taught longer. Indeed, he was quickly recognized as a major figure in contemporary philosophy in the US, which is evidenced by the fact that a volume in the prestigious Library of Living Philosophers was dedicated to his work (the book was completed after his passing, in 1949, but experienced two further reprints). An Essay on Man, his penultimate book, written in English for the American audience, was on many undergraduate curricula in the post-war period. After having been eclipsed by Heidegger and the philosophers of Postmodernism, his star has been on the rise again in Europe as of the 1990s. Interest in North America has been growing steadily since around 2000. This venue is the first large-scale and international conference on the philosophy of Ernst Cassirer in North America. Speakers come from USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, England, and Belgium.
The conference will take place on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. For more information on travel and lodging (and further conference updates), please check the following website: http://academic.mu.edu/phil/lufts/Cassirer_Conference.htm. The conference is open to guests and visitors, but we would ask that those interested in attending RSVP to the conference organizer, Sebastian Luft (Sebastian.Luft@marquette.edu) for the purpose of catering arrangements.