1929: Summit as Hiatus – “The Unthinkable, The Unsaid, and The Unsayable”

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“In Rosenzweig and Heidegger, Gordon concludes with a reading of the 1929 debate between Heidegger (whose existentialist philosophy greatly influenced modern interpretations of Gnosticism as Anti-Humanism) and Cassirer (whose philosophical reading of historical texts might be viewed as the last spark of Renaissance Humanism) at a philosophical conference at Davos, Switzerland … Gordon here returns to this primal scene and reconstructs the event with extraordinarily thoughtful and scrupulous precision. This debate has achieved legendary status in the history of contemporary thought and is regarded as opening an abyss between those who base philosophy on scientific reason, and the human power of reflection, and those who are haunted by the unthinkable, the unsaid, and the unsayable … By judiciously reconstructing Cassirer’s and Heidegger’s arguments, Gordon definitively unveils the subtle refinement of Heidegger’s positions and shows with new clarity that this struggle over Kant’s legacy has relentlessly unfolded over the 20th century. A work of exceptional significance.”

—N. Lukacher, Choice

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