The Genesis of the Copernican World (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought)
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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
form taken by self-conscious reason in our tradition, Blumenberg suggests that it represents a pattern of "relapses" into "the double-layered relationship that exists, in mythical thought, between what one sees and what really happens-between the flat appearances in the foreground and a 'story' in the background.'~ dd For whatever reasons, it does seem to be the case that the idea of a homogeneous and mathematizable reality is a unique characteristic of modern European thought; and it is
Introduction menberg points out that in spite of the radicalism of his materialistic cosmogony, the young Kant was less wholehearted than Lambert was in this kind of escalating 'Copernicanism,' because of his persistent attachment to a Stoicizing, teleological notion of man as contemplator of the universe. uu One might think, in view of the famous interpretation of his mature "critical" philosophy as carrying out a "Copernican revolution" in philosophy, that it represented his adoption of a more
and the worldwide organization involved in effecting it could be considered as justified. It was only after one assumed that the Earth rotated that the task of measuring the curvature of the meridians, and thus finding an empirical confirmation of that assumption, presented itself. But this objection is still a harmless one in comparison to the historiographical fact that modern physics received its essential impetuses and problems only as a result of the Copernican extrication of astronomy from
responsible for the world and who justifies the hope that is placed in him only if he finally destroys it. Eschatology is the surrogate for theodicy. In contrast to the Greek antithesis of cosmos and tragedy, Gnosticism achieves its 'intention' [Intention: envisaged objective] when, through the apocalyptic tragedy, it attains the finality of a worldless God. The logic of the separation of creation and deliverance consists in making intelligible something that, as a contradiction, pervades the
contribute anything to its regaining: If nature, through science, should again become the garden of pure subservience to man, the starry heavens may belong in the wings of this state of affairs; but there is no evident reason why there should then still (or again) be a science of that which overspreads the state of enjoyment. Here, too, the dissociation of theory and happiness-contrary to all ancient premises-is palpable. Part of this is the fact that an immediate relation to the object ~o~.