Archive for March, 2013

Kunstkritik (IV-2012)

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

We are happy to announce the publication of «Cassirer Studies», IV: Kunstkritik. This issue bears the title of the Seminar held in Naples in November 2011, the proceedings of which are collected in the section “Seminar”.  Shown below is the table of contents of the volume:

HEINRICH WÖLFFLIN, Die Persönlichkeit Jacob Burckhardts,
ed. by Maurizio Ghelardi

ANDRÉ STANGUENNEC, Le cinéma et la peinture comme formes
symboliques: autour d’Erwin Panofsky et d’Ernst Cassirer

FABIEN CAPEILLÈRES, Art Critique as a Philosophical Science?
From Assessing Aesthetic Values to the Constitution of a World

STEVE G. LOFTS, Cassirer and Heidegger: Art, Language, and
the Thinking of the Textual-Event

CARMEN METTA, A Critique of the Work: Cassirer and Benjamin

GIULIO RAIO, Transition to the Work

STEPHEN H. WATSON, Focus Imaginarius: Cassirer, Heidegger,
the Narratives of Art and the Art of Narrative


Kunstkritik (IV-2012) – abstracts

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

A. Stanguennec, Le cinéma et la peinture comme formes symboliques: autour d’Erwin Panofsky et d’Ernst Cassirer

This paper explores Panofsky’s and Cassirer’s theories of movies and painting as symbolic forms in comparison with Kracauer, Cavell, Della Volpe, Merleau-Ponty, Robbe-Grillet. In the first part, it argues that Panofsky’s theory gives a paradoxical sense to the «motion pictures», particularly discussed by Cavell. In part two, on the basis of Cassirer’s theory of transition from the expressive to the conceptual function of art, the paper examines the history of movies and painting in modern and postmodern times. It emphasizes the revival of a realistic and critical function of art in photography, movies and painting brought about after the skeptical postmodern period of conceptual art.

Key-words: iconography – iconology – cinematography – structure – sense


F. Capeillères, Art Critique as a Philosophical Science? From Assessing Aesthetic Values to the Constitution of a World

In this short paper I investigate the following problem: How can there be a philosophical critique of the works of art in a transcendental perspective? It seems that we are confronted to a structural dilemma: either the “critique” is transcendental and it then addresses the forms of the work (its spatiality, temporality, etc.) but can neither analyse nor legitimate the claim of beauty, or it addresses this claim but then has to give up a transcendental analysis in favor of psychology, sociology, etc. I try to show that even if the transcendental analysis can neither explain nor legitimize the beauty of a given work of art, it offers a discipline that constitutes the only path to a possible legitimate feeling of beauty.

Key-words: critique – transcendental – beauty – work of art


S.G. Lofts, Cassirer and Heidegger: Art, Language, and the Thinking of the Textual-Event

This essay proposes a reading of Cassirer and Heidegger that aims to bring out a number of curious parallels in their language and similarities in the images they employ as a way of demonstrating a certain rapprochement between their works without, at the same time, losing sight of the very real differences between them. The paper is divided into three sections. The first two sections set out the basic lines of Cassirer’s and Heidegger’s thought in general, focusing on their respective accounts of language and art in particular. The objective in these sections is to provide prima facie evidence for the need to pursue a line of interpretation that goes beyond the framework of Davos. By way of conclusion, section three ventures some tentative suggestions for rethinking the belonging-together of Cassirer’s philosophy of culture and Heidegger’s thinking of being.

Key-words: Heidegger – Auseinandersetzung – Davos – language – art


C. Metta, A Critique of the Work: Benjamin and Cassirer

Walter Benjamin’s concern with Ausdruck/Expression, as it unfolds in his essay on Goethe’s Elective Affinities, finds an echo in the development of Cassirer’s thought as the focus of it shifts from the Ausdrucksfunktion to the Ausdrucksphänomen in The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, and, then, from these to a culturological conception of Ausdruckswahrnehmung and the originary phenomenon of Expression in his late works. It is precisely this originary acceptation of the phenomenon of Ausdruck that sheds light on the philosophical relationship between Cassirer and Benjamin. In the Orphic word Elpìs, as the ultimate originary phenomenon that Benjamin takes up from Goethe, is an anticipation of and perhaps a move beyond Cassirer’s account of Werk. Accordingly, the ideal transition from his Basisphänomene to the Logic is clarified, in that the irreducibility of the work as originary phenomenon alludes to das Ausdruckslose/the Expressionless, the critical power of the truth concealed in the work, and in the beauty of the work of art. It is this power that determines the symbolic world as semblance, and the works as torsos of truth, «plant-like» muteness and still life.

Key-words:  Ausdrucksfunktion – AusdrucksphänomenWerkdas Ausdruckslose


G. Raio, Transition to the Work

This article interprets Expression (Expression-Ausdruck) as reverberation, a latent theme, the aura of representation (Darstellung). This originary ground (Urgrund) forms an inert and unconceptual core that has not yet differentiated into the originary phenomena (Urphänomena), being devoid of visibility. In this stratification Expression is represented as expressive phenomenon (Ausdrucksphänomen), as the relationship Ich-Du, irreducible to the relationship with the Es. Expression lacks objectuality, lacks work. The “transition to the Work” (Übergang zum Werk) and the tool (Werkzeug-vorhandenes Zeug) is introduced in the midst of the debate between Cassirer and Heidegger. Transition to the Work opens up the “sphere of things”, objectuality. The work conceptology models itself on the conceptology of Kunstkritik. This is the transition from Sinnkritik to Werkkritik.

Key-words: AusdruckWerkKunstwerkWerkkritik


S.H. Watson, Focus Imaginarius: Cassirer, Heidegger, the Narrative of Art and the Art of Narrative

This paper examines the role of imagination, intuition and narrative in the work of Cassirer and Heidegger. In so doing it contests standard analyses that view Heidegger at the time of their Davos exchange to have denied objectivity and scientific rationality (and Cassirer to be exclusively defending both). To contest this view, I treat these thinkers’ significant relation to (and transformations of) Hermann Weyl’s philosophy of science and its emphasis on transcendental temporality. I further investigate the status of the narratives that support Heidegger and Cassirer’s ensuing accounts and their reinterpretations of phenomenology – both the classical (Husserlian) position and the phenomenologies of German Idealism (Hegel, Schelling). Finally, I focus upon the pivotal and dialectical implications of imagination with respect to the rational and the reciprocal relationships between science and art.

Key-words: imagination – intuition – narrative – Weyl – temporality