Ernst Cassirer's and Rudolf Otto's Philosophies of Myth and Religion
In the endeavor of giving a philosophical account of the rise of National Socialism in the early and mid twentieth century Germany many philosophers have pointed to myth as an explanatory feature. The work of Horkheimer and Adorno in the Dialectics of Enlightenment is renowned. This paper confronts the argumentation of Horkheimer and Adorno with the less celebrated work of the German philosopher Ernst Cassirer. It is argued that Cassirer's functionalistic concept of myth as a symbolic form enables him to give detailed philosophical analyses of myth as a long-established form of life and as an artificial weapon in the service of modern politics. Cassirer's concept of myth is analyzed regarding a primary source of inspiration from the German theologian Rudolf Otto. It is shown how Cassirer can make use of Otto's phenomenological description of the transcendent experience of the holy.
New German Critique, 2008, Vol 104, Issue 2, p. 207-227
tysk filosofi i det 20. århundrede, myte, religionsfilosofi, totalitarisme; German Philosophy in the 20. Century, myth, philosophy of religion, totalitarianism