An Essay on Man, by Ernst Cassirer, Yale University Press, 1944



Montaigne's essay "Man's presumption and Littleness" belittles the greatness of man so much that he becomes no more than another beast among beasts, possibly even lower than some of God's other creatures.

Cassirer's textis a lucid exploration of the structures of man's cultural activities.

The first essay is one of Heidegger's most popular, showing up in many humanities courses about technology. That's generally a good thing because the essay starts with Aristotle's theory of forms, which will likely be most students first introduction to his . Heidegger then explores the different meanings of the Greek techne and its evolution to the modern term technology, and how the changes reflect how man thinking has changed since Aristotle's Athens.


Ernst Cassirer (Author of An Essay on Man)

His essay is a tribute to the fact that what ever man does, he converseswith himself, rather than with nature, god, or the universe.

Like Montaigne in his essay, I agree that in some ways, animals are superior to humans, and that just as we consider them beasts, they may consider us to be beasts as well.


Philosophical Dictionary: Caird-Catharsis

As Cassirerputs it, "..every philosopher believes he has found the mainspring andmaster-faculty of his own picture of human nature -- Nietzsche'swill to power, Freud's sexual instinct, or Marx's economic politics -- with the empirical facts stretched to fit a preconceived pattern."This leads to a strange situation in modern philosophy.

Caird, Edward Scottish Hegelian philosopher

(Montaigne 1813)
In the conclusion of his essay, Montaigne sums up his views about the divine order, and the place that humanity might occupy in that order.

Science, philosophy and the a priori - ScienceDirect

Cassirerat this time lived in exile and decided to write the much smaller volume'An essay on man' addressing the philosophy of symbolic forms in a newand matured form.

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The books ends with two essays from the same period, and , and an editor's epilogue. was not left as a finished manuscript, but, as with , was compiled from a typescript and ancillary notes by Wilhelm von Herrmann, the designated director of the .

Communication and cultural specificity: The importance …

24 - In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Book II, Chapter XI),John Locke wrote: "If it may be doubted whether beasts compound and enlargetheir ideas that way to any degree; this, I think, I may be positive inthat the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the havingof general ideas is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man andbrutes, and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no meansattain to.

Descartes Is Not Our Father - The New York Times

27 - In his seminal essay On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense (1873),Friedrich Nietzsche (who once stopped a man from beating his horse) wrote:"As a "rational" being, [a person] now places his behavior under the controlof abstractions.