Volume 33, Issue 3/4, 2017
Cassirer on Communicology
Beyond the “Tragedy of Culture”
In-between Epistemology and Communication
Spelling out the more or less implicit phenomenology found in Peirce’s categories and in the “Basisphänomene” suggested by the late Cassirer, this paper attempts to extend Cassirer’s own suggestion for the grounding of the human, or, as we prefer to say, semiotic, sciences, by means of an elucidation of the components of the basic situation of communication, revised on the basis of the Prague school approach to semiotics. In the first part of the paper, we consider Cassirer’s proposal for a theory of science, in the light of both the first scholarly discussion of the theme, involving Rickert, Windelbrand and Dilthey, and the second round, initiated by Gadamer and Habermas, while drawing final conclusions from the surreptitious results of the advent of Structuralism, in which Cassirer was a somewhat unheeding player. In the second part of the paper, the semiotic sciences are tentatively grounded in the sciences of normalcy, the epitome of which is Husserl’s science of the Lifeworld, presenting the different “Basisphänomene” as being the foundation for three fundamental epistemological operations, derived from the act of communication, which are all necessary to the deployment of the semiotic sciences.