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Reconsiders the stakes of the Davos debate on the basis of my previous findings. I first summarize the established similarities and differences between Cassirer and Heidegger's philosophical projects. Next, I reinterpret their issues of contention in light of the starting point and aim (the terminus a quo and terminus ad quem, as they put it in Davos) of their philosophies, which, I argue, Cassirer and Heidegger failed to accurately compare. In this way, I show that Cassirer's and Heidegger’s thought, despite being grounded in irreconcilable ontological and methodological assumptions, can nevertheless positively incite each other. After all, they share a philosophical concern: to comprehend and aid the human being’s capacity to orient itself in and towards the world. This means that the Davos debate was an elaborate disagreement about a shared interest of profound significance for human life after all, or in other words a true philosophical debate.
Discusses the different (philosphical and non-philosophical) ways in which the content, dynamic, and influence of the Davos debate has hitherto been interpreted. The common thread throughout these various interpretations is that no profound philosophical discussion took place between Cassirer and Heidegger. In contrast to this, I suggest that the Davos debate, as well as the larger 'Cassirer‒Heidegger dispute' centres on three key philosophical topics that stand in a coherent, hierarchic relation to each other.
Offers a thorough reading of all texts in which Cassirer and Heidegger explicitly engaged with each other’s thought. I first sketch the philosophical context of the Davos debate, which constitutes only one moment of a dispute that started in 1923 and continued until the publication of Cassirer’s The Myth of the State in 1946 (1.1). Second, I argue that the public debate in Davos hinges on three interrelated topics: the proper interpretation of Kant’s philosophy, the human condition, and the task of philosophy. Concretely, I show that Cassirer and Heidegger’s diverging readings of Kant are motivated by their different views on the human condition, and that these views are in turn motivated by different conceptions of the task of philosophy, which I consider to be the fundamental breaking point between these two thinkers (1.2). Third, I explain that the same issues of contention also structure, in the same order and with the same increasing intensity, the entire, 23-year-long Cassirer‒Heidegger dispute (1.3).
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