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Hans Blumenberg

Hans Blumenberg, the creator of metaphorology, was one of the most important German philosophers of the latter 20th century.

Titles by This Author

Paradigm of a Metaphor for Existence

This elegant essay exemplifies Blumenberg's ideas about the ability of the historical study of metaphor to illuminate essential aspects of being human. Originally published in the same year as his monumental Work on Myth, Shipwreck with Spectator traces the evolution of the complex of metaphors related to the sea, to shipwreck, and to the role of the spectator in human culture from ancient Greece to modern times.The sea is one of humanity's oldest metaphors for life, and a sea journey, Blumenberg observes, has often stood for our journey through life.

In this rich examination of how we inherit and transform myths, Hans Blumenberg continues his study of the philosophical roots of the modern world. Work on Myth is in five parts. The first two analyze the characteristics of myth and the stages in the West's work on myth, including long discussions of such authors as Freud, Joyce, Cassirer, and Valéry. The latter three parts present a comprehensive account of the history of the Prometheus myth, from Hesiod and Aeschylus to Gide and Kafka.

In this major work, Blumenberg takes issue with Karl Löwith's well-known thesis that the idea of progress is a secularized version of Christian eschatology, which promises a dramatic intervention that will consummate the history of the world from outside. Instead, Blumenberg argues, the idea of progress always implies a process at work within history, operating through an internal logic that ultimately expresses human choices and is legitimized by human self-assertion, by man's responsibility for his own fate.