This essay takes up a discussion concerning the 1929 debate between the philosophers Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger by reading it as an instatiation of an ongoing dilemma within the field of rhetoric. I argue that the Davos meeting may be productively read through the lens of rhetorical theory and that such a reading can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of this event. The essay concludes by making a case for Cassirer's philosophy of symbolic forms as a normative ground for a rhetorical theory whose central purpose is to construct a decent, cultured, cosmopolitan, critical humanism.
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