Abstract: In this paper is analyzed Ernst Cassirer’s transcendental philosophy and his theoretical foundation of “cultural sciences” (Geisteswissenschaften). His perspective is a transcendental “logic of the cultural sciences” based on the idea that the man is not only a “rational animal,” but also an animal symbolicum. Continuing the methodological approach of Hermann Cohen, Cassirer expands the Kantian vision of the transcendental epistemology to the cultural phenomena, and argues that objective and universal validity can be achieved not only in the natural sciences, but also in practical, cultural, moral, and aesthetic phenomena. He asserts that a type of inter-subjective “objective validity” takes place in the cultural sciences: it is the universal form of symbolic activity. In the paper, particular attention is given to the sources of the Cassirer’s major work: the three volumes of Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, dedicated to the Language (1923), to the Myth (1925), and to the Phenomenology of knowledge (1929). Thus, it has been underlined the fundamental role that it has had for Cassirer the study of the romantic linguistic: particularly, Herder and Wilhelm von Humboldt. Reflecting on these romantic authors Cassirer elaborates a vision of the transcendental as linguistic and historical “form of mind”. In the last part of the paper, are highlighted the ethical aspects of Cassirer’s thought. He affirms that the transcendental production of the symbolic forms is founded on the human freedom, and it is finalized to an increasing emancipation of man.
Abstract: In this paper it is analyzed Paul Ricoeur’s critical comparison with Freud. We have highlighted that the psychoanalysis is interpreted as “archeology of the subject”, and as “hermeneutics of the human condition”. In particular, we have considered Ricoeur’s work of 1965 Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation, first edited in 1965. According to Ricoeur, Freudian psychoanalysis is a form of determinism: the human action is essentially explained on the basis of an unconscious and primordial mind. In this perspective, man is not completely free: Éros, thánatos, and anánke determin the human agency. In opposition to Freudian psychoanalysis, Ricoeur proposes a teleological conception of human action. He develops a “philosophy of freedom”, and a hermeneutics of the subject based on human capabilities. In the last part of our paper, we have analyzed the great work Oneself as Another (1990), in which Ricoeur deals with the problem of selfhood in the context of contemporary discussions of “otherness.” We have particularly underlined that Ricoeur’s intention is to develop a complex ontology of homo capax. According to the French philosopher, to exist is to act: speaking, doing, telling, and assuming responsibility for the act commetted. The very “being” of human beings is to act and the effort to be. In this perspective, the human interiority is considered as dynamic production (enérgeia, conatus). Being as act and potentiality, accordingly, is the dominant meta-category that governs Ricoeur’s philosphical anthropology.