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Morphologie, Transformation und Übersetzbarkeit

Eine Gegenüberstellung der ästhetischen Konzepte von Cassirer und Lévi-Strauss

Zurück zum Heft: Zeitschrift für Kulturphilosophie 2019/1: Morphologie
DOI: 10.28937/1000108330



The comparison of Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms and Levi-Strauss’ structural anthropology requires a clarification of their definitions of morphology, transformation and translatability. We will expose the morphological field where Cassirer’s aesthetics emerges in relation to Goethe, who represents an important source for Levi-Strauss as well. Defining the concept of transformation is supposed to follow his modifications of the key ideas of the German poet and biologist, by taking account of the new point of view provided by the theory of groups of transformation which the mathematician Felix Klein developed in the ≫circle of Erlangen ≪. Then we will show how Edgar Wind, a brilliant student of Cassirer, invents a kind of morphological aesthetics to provide art history with a methodology, and we will give some examples for the application of the concept of building series of pictures in the field of art history. We will examine the global function of the tables of Aby Warburg’s Atlas Mnemosyne, Erwin Panofsky’s wellknown iconological interpretation of Durer’s Melencolia I and then, by contrast, the creation of a virtual series of masks through an imaginative variation which Levi-Strauss creates to give sense to a particular Ameridian mask found during his investigations. Finally, we will investigate the problems appearing by the definition of transformation as translatability in both Cassirer’s and Levi-Strauss’ semiologies. We will ask for their uses of the model of translation in linguistics to compare different forms of structural homologies