Kyoto in Davos. Intercultural Readings of the Cassirer-Heidegger Debate


What does it mean to be human? We invite the reader to discuss this most fundamental issue in philosophy and to do so in an intercultural framework. The question of the human was the starting point for a legendary discussion between two German philosophers who met in Davos in 1929. We return to this historical event and re-imagine the debate between Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer from a global perspective. Generating twenty papers from elaborate discussions, our authors contribute to the thought experiment by inviting the Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitarō from Kyoto and other Japanese thinkers into the debate to overcome the challenge of Eurocentrism inherent to these historic days in Davos.

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Tobias Endres received his Dr. phil. in Philosophy in 2018 from TU Berlin with a dissertation on Ernst Cassirer’s Phenomenology of Perception. Since then, he has been working as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at TU Braunschweig where he is pursuing his habilitation thesis on the philosophy of Henri Bergson.

Ralf Müller is currently a research fellow at University College Cork, Ireland. His research interests involve the philosophy of language and culture, particularly the intercultural philosophy of Ernst Cassirer. Currently, he works on the concept of translation in philosophy. See

Domenico Schneider received his Dr. Phil. in Philosophy with a thesis on language and embodiment and, in addition, holds a diploma in Mathematics. After his studies he worked within the TOPOI Cluster of Excellence at HU Berlin. He is currently preparing a habilitation on the lifeworld of digital net culture at TU Braunschweig where he is a postdoctoral researcher.
Notes on Contributors

Ralf Müller

Part 1 Recontextualizing the Davos Debate

1 Revisiting the Debate between Cassirer and Heidegger in Davos: Imagination, Finiteness, and Morals
Michel Dalissier

2 The Davos Debate, Pure Philosophy and Normativity: Thinking from the Perspective of the History of Philosophy
Esther Oluffa Pedersen

3 Humans and Other Animals: The Forgotten Other Beyond Davos and Kyoto
John C. Maraldo

4 Anthropology as an Intercultural Philosophy of Culture
Tobias Endres

5 Heidegger and Cassirer on Schematism: Reflections on an Intercultural Philosophy
Domenico Schneider

Part 2 Nishida Joining the Davos Debate

6 Absolute Self-Contradictory Human Existence: Nishida in Davos
Francesca Greco

7 Cassirer and Nishida: Mathematical Crosscurrents in Their Philosophical Paths
Rossella Lupacchini

8 Lask, Heidegger, and Nishida: From Meaning as Object to Horizon and Place
John W.M. Krummel

9 From Kyoto and Hong Kong to Davos: Nishida Kitaro and Mou Zongsan’s possible contributions to the Cassirer-Heidegger Debate
Tak-Lap Yeung

10 From the Problem of Meaning via Basic Phenomena to the Question of Philosophy after Metaphysics: Cassirer, Heidegger, and Nishida
Ingmar Meland

11 The Self-Aware Individual and the Kyoto School’s Quest for a Philosophical Anthropology
Dennis Stromback

Part 3 German-Japanese Ramifications of the Davos Debate

12 The Davos Debate and Japanese Philosophy: Welt-Schema and Einbildungskraft in Tanabe and Miki
Tatsuya Higaki

13 From Despair to Authentic Existence: Kierkegaard’s Anthropology of Despair in the Light of Nishitani’s Thought
Sebastian Hüsch

14 Cassirer, Heidegger, and Miki: The Logic of the Dual Transcendence of the Imagination
Steve Lofts

15 Now, Ever or After: Contrasting the Pure Lands of D.T. Suzuki and Tanabe Hajime
Rossa Ó Muireartaigh

16 On Homo Faber: Nishida and Miki
Takushi Odagiri

17 Anti-Cartesianism East and West: Watsuji and Heidegger on the Possibility of Significant Dealing with Entities
Hans Peter Liederbach

18 Miki and the Myth of Humanism
Fernando Wirtz

19 Hineingehalten in das Nichts: Die Metaphysik und das Andere des Seins
Emanuel Seitz

Postgraduate students and specialists working in the fields of Intercultural-, Japanese-, Continental-, (Post-)Kantian Philosophy and Anthropology will profit from the anthology. It is also of interest to people who want to glimpse at the Davos event from beyond the Analytic-Continental-Divide.
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