Intersubjectivity and Physical Laws in Post-Kantian Theory of Knowledge Natorp and Cassirer

In Sebastian Luft & J. Tyler Friedman (eds.), The Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer: A Novel Assessment. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 141-162 (2015)
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Consider the claims that representations of physical laws are intersubjective, and that they ultimately provide the foundation for all other intersubjective knowledge. Those claims, as well as the deeper philosophical commitments that justify them, constitute rare points of agreement between the Marburg School neo-Kantians Paul Natorp and Ernst Cassirer and their positivist rival, Ernst Mach. This is surprising, since Natorp and Cassirer are both often at pains to distinguish their theories of natural scientific knowledge from positivist views like Mach’s, and often from Mach’s views in particular. Thus the very fact of this agreement between the Marburg School neo-Kantians and their positivist stalking horse points to a deep current of ideas that runs beneath the whole of the post-Kantian intellectual context they shared.

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Scott Edgar
Saint Mary's University


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