Technology as destiny in Cassirer and Heidegger continuing the Davos debate
In recent years the legendary encounter and debate between Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger in Davos in April 1929 has received a renewed interest, notably through the work of Michael Friedman, and also Peter Gordon.1 It is then interpreted as a decisive event in twentieth-century philosophy, as an event both antedating and anticipating the sharp divides between different schools of thought that eventually came to characterize the philosophical landscape. At the time of the debate there was no clear and definitive division between an analytic-linguistic and a phenomenological philosophy, nor between a philosophy of culture in Cassirer's sense and an existential ontology. Nor had the political landscape taken on the disastrous shape that was to project many of the colleagues and discussants forever into different orbits, geographically and politically. In 1931 Rudolf Carnap – who was among the participants at the Davos meeting – published his sharp criticism of the inaugural address that Heidegger had delivered when taking over the Rickert-Husserl chair in Freiburg in 1928, thus establishing the fateful antagonism between logical positivism and existential phenomenology.2 And from 1933 the political turmoil and Heidegger's initial support for the new regime, which included assuming for a time the rectorate in Freiburg, would forever colour the public image of his philosophy, and his relation to many Jewish colleagues.
Ruin, H. (2012)., Technology as destiny in Cassirer and Heidegger continuing the Davos debate, in A. Sissel Hoel & I. Folkvord (eds.), Ernst Cassirer on form and technology, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 113-138.
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