Here is a review of a recent book describing a 1929 philosophy conference where Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger had a famous exchange, and both Levinas and Carnap were in the audience. The confrontation was fascinating; according to the review —
Gordon begins his book with a broad characterization of Cassirer’s and Heidegger’s philosophical positions. At the core of their debate at Davos (and, it turns out, at the core of their entire philosophical thought) lay, as Gordon puts it, “a fundamental contest between two normative images of humanity,” (p. 6) a contest “between thrownness and spontaneity” (p. 7). Where neo-Kantian Cassirer saw human beings as gifted with a capacity for “spontaneous self-expression” and thus endowed with “a complete freedom” to create worlds of meaning, Heidegger envisaged them to be determined by their “finitude” and thus as living in the midst of conditions they have not created and cannot hope to control.