This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about the philosophy of symbolic forms devised by Ernst Cassirer. Much of Cassirer's work has been neglected in the philosophical realm. His An Essay on Man, for example, has been reduced to a facile, optimistic humanism in which some kind of comprehensive elaboration of the many diverse symbolic forms belonging to humanity could have been developed. This book traces the major questions and ideas integral to understanding Cassirer's work and their relevance in contemporary critical and affirmative political philosophy.
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