"Paradigms for a Metaphorology may be read as a kind of
beginner's guide to Blumenberg, a programmatic introduction to his
vast and multifaceted oeuvre. Its brevity makes it an ideal point
of entry for readers daunted by the sheer bulk of Blumenberg's
later writings, or distracted by their profusion of historical
detail. Paradigms expresses many of Blumenberg's key ideas
with a directness, concision, and clarity he would rarely match
elsewhere. What is more, because it served as a beginner's guide
for its author as well, allowing him to undertake an initial survey
of problems that would preoccupy him for the remainder of his life,
it has the additional advantage that it can offer us a glimpse into
what might be called the 'genesis of the Blumenbergian
world.'"-from the Afterword by Robert Savage
What role do metaphors play in philosophical language? Are they
impediments to clear thinking and clear expression, rhetorical
flourishes that may well help to make philosophy more accessible to
a lay audience, but that ought ideally to be eradicated in the
interests of terminological exactness? Or can the images used by
philosophers tell us more about the hopes and cares, attitudes and
indifferences that regulate an epoch than their carefully
elaborated systems of thought?
In Paradigms for a Metaphorology, originally published
in 1960 and here made available for the first time in English
translation, Hans Blumenberg (1920-1996) approaches these questions
by examining the relationship between metaphors and concepts.
Blumenberg argues for the existence of "absolute metaphors" that
cannot be translated back into conceptual language. These metaphors
answer the supposedly naïve, theoretically unanswerable questions
whose relevance lies quite simply in the fact that they cannot be
brushed aside, since we do not pose them ourselves but find them
already posed in the ground of our existence. They leap into a void
that concepts are unable to fill.
An afterword by the translator, Robert Savage, positions the
book in the intellectual context of its time and explains its
continuing importance for work in the history of ideas.
Subjects: Philosophy, Language & Literature
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