This book had to be much shorter than the first one, "A big book," said Lessing, “is a big evil." When writing my Philosophy of Symbolic Forms I was so engrossed in the sub- ject itself that I forgot or neglected this stylistic maxim, Now I feel much more inclined to subscribe to Lessing’s words, In- stead of giving a detailed account of facts and a lengthy dis- cussion of theories I have tried in this present hook to concentrate upon a few points that seemed to me to be of special philosophical importance and to express my thoughts as briefly and succinctly as possible.
Still the book has had to deal with subjects that, at first sight, may seem to be widely divergent.
When, three years ago, I came to Yale University it was an agreeable surprise to find a close cooperation that extended to a wide field.
It was a special pleasure and a great privilege to work together with my younger colleagues in conjoint seminars on various subjects.
1 Although I should have liked very much to comply with their request, after the first tentative steps I found it impracticable and, under the present circumstances, unjustifiable to reproduce the former book in its entirety.
As for the reader, it would have taxed his attention to the utmost to read a three-volume study dealing with a difficult and ab- stract subject, But even from the point of view of the author it was scarcely possible or advisable to publish a work planned and written more than twenty-five years ago.Since that time the author has continued his study on the subject, He has learned many new facts and he has been confronted with new problems, Even the old problems are seen by him from a different angle and appear in a new light.For all these reasons 1 decided to make a fresh start and to write an entirely new book.He has read the manuscript several times, and I have always been able to accept his critical suggestions. The dedication has, however, not only a personal but also a "symbolic 1 ’ meaning.By dedicating this book to the Chair- man of the Department of Philosophy and to the Director of Graduate Studies at Yale University I wish to expiess to the Department itself my cordial thanks.My critics should, however, be warned that what I could give here is more an explanation and illus- tration than a demonstration of my theory.For a closer dis- cussion and analysis of the problems involved I must ask them to go hack to the detailed description in my Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, It is my serious wish not to impose a ready-made theory, ex- pressed in a dogmatic style, upon the minds of my readers.I have been anxious to place them in a position to judge for themselves.Of course it has not been possible to lay before their eyes the whole bulk of empirical evidence upon which my principal thesis rests.He taught at the Universities of Berlin and’ Hamburg until his departure from Germany in 1932 to accept an appointment at Oxford.In 1941, Cassirer came to America to teach at Yale where he remained until 1944.