Abstract

Few texts summarize and at the same time compound the challenges of their author's philosophy so sharply as Hermann Cohen's Das Prinzip der Infinitesimalmethode und seine Geschichte (1883). The book's meaning and style are greatly illuminated by placing it in the scientific, political, and academic context of late-nineteenth century Germany. As this context changed, so did both the reception of the philosophy of the infinitesimal and of the Marburg school more generally. A study of this transformation casts significant light on the political relevance of the philosophy of science in the Wilhelmine era. As a means of following this development across time, Cohen's text is read through its changing reception in the philosophy of his closest disciple, Ernst Cassirer.

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