In this article we argue that Ernst Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms is an indispensible philosophical-anthropological companion to rhetoric. We propose that appropriating Cassirer's understanding of symbolic forms enables rhetoric to go beyond the dominant perspective of language oriented theory and fully commit to a widened understanding of rhetoric as the study of how social meaning is created, performed and transformed. To clearly bring out the thrust of our enlarged rhetorical-philosophical-anthropological approach we have structured our argument partly as a contrastive critique of Thomas A. Discenna's recent (Rhetorica 32/3; 2014) attempt to include Cassirer in the rhetorical tradition through a reading of the 1929 debate in Davos between Cassirer and Martin Heidegger; partly through a presentation of the aspects of Cassirer's thought that we find most important for developing a rhetorical-philosophical-anthropology of social meaning.
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Research Article| August 01 2017
A Philosophical-Anthropological Case for Cassirer in Rhetoric
Rhetorica (2017) 35 (3): 346–365.
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Erik Bengtson, Mats Rosengren; A Philosophical-Anthropological Case for Cassirer in Rhetoric. Rhetorica 1 August 2017; 35 (3): 346–365. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rh.2017.35.3.346
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