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.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.