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Nicht so tragisch ...: Simmels Begriff, Theorie und Problem der Kultur in der Kontroverse 


Zurück zum Heft: Zeitschrift für Kulturphilosophie 2015/1-2: Simmel
EUR 14,90


In his essay »Der Begriff und die Tragödie der Kultur« (1912/13) [»The concept and the tragedy of culture«] Georg Simmel has argued (and for many critical contemporaries convincingly so) that modern culture in the overwhelming acceleration of its productivity had risen into a sphere no longer disposable to human actors: What he in an Hegelian approach calls »objective culture«, signifying the sphere of human artefacts, in a kind-of self-sufficient and autonomous development moves out of reach for their former producers, thus no longer serving as fruitful elements of their »subjective culture«. Ernst Cassirer in one of his essays from 1942 (»Zur Logik der Kulturwissenschaften«) strictly denies the thereby supposed »tragedy of culture« by arguing that Simmel in a hidden mysticism makes claim for imparted unity of Human Being and World, which – Cassirer holds – would be completely illusionary. In his arguing Cassirer insists on an essential intuition concerning all human culture: the transformation of meaning always is an open process requiring active communication and work, unpredictable from the perspective of any »objective« measure; he thereby reminds of the never ending work-in-progress, as which culture is to be taken. – The »virtual debate« between Simmel and Cassirer is ultimately about the indirect evaluation which has to be part of any philosophy of culture, providing human actors with a – preferably positive – prejudice for confidently leading their lives in what is necessary to be regarded as their culture.