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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. We all know the role that shipwrecks can play in this journey, and at some level we have all played witness to others' wrecks, standing in safety and knowing that there is nothing we can do to help, yet fixed comfortably or uncomfortably in our ambiguous role as spectator.Through Blumenberg's seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of letters, from ancient texts through nineteenth-century reminiscences and modern speeches, we see layer upon layer revealed in the meaning humans have given to these metaphors; and in this way we begin to understand what metaphors can do that more straightforward modes of expression cannot.This edition of Shipwreck with Spectator also includes "Prospect for a Theory of Nonconceptuality," an essay that recounts the evolution of Blumenberg's ideas about metaphorology in the years following his early manifesto "Paradigms for a Metaphorology."

This major work by the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg is a monumental rethinking of the significance of the Copernican revolution for our understanding of modernity. It provides an important corrective to the view of science as an autonomous enterprise and presents a new account of the history of interpretations of the significance of the heavens for man.

Hans Blumenberg is Professor of Philosophy, emeritus, at the University of Munster in West Germany. This book is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy

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. This section includes a detailed analysis of Goethe's lifelong confrontation with the Prometheus myth, which is a unique synthesis of "psychobiography" and history of ideas.

Work on Myth is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

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.

Hans Blumenberg is professor of philosophy at the University of Münster. The Legitimacy of the Modern Age is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.