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Hans Blumenberg

Shipwreck with Spectator - Paradigm of a Metaphor for Existence

(German title: Schiffbruch mit Zuschauer)
ca. 105 pages
Clothbound
1979
Hans Blumenberg
Foto: Hans Blumenberg
© Peter Zollna

Hans Blumenberg (1920-1996) was professor for Philosophy at the University of Münster.

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»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.« (book description of the English edition by The MIT Press)

Other publications

Die nackte Wahrheit/The Naked Truth (2019)

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France (Seuil), Korea (Ghil)

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Rigorismus der Wahrheit/The Rigorism of Truth (2015)

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Präfiguration/Prefiguration (2014)

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Quellen, Ströme, Eisberge/Sources, Streams, Icebergs (2012)

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Löwen/Lions (2010)

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Theorie der Lebenswelt/Theory of the Life-World (2010)

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Geistesgeschichte der Technik/Geistesgeschichte der Technik (2009)

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Briefwechsel 1971-1978/Correspondence and other materials (2007)

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Der Mann vom Mond/The Man from the Moon (2007)

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Theorie der Unbegrifflichkeit/Theorie der Unbegrifflichkeit (2007)

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Beschreibung des Menschen/Description of Man (2006)

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Die Legitimität der Neuzeit/The Legitimacy of the Modern Age (1996)

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Die Lesbarkeit der Welt/The Legibility of the World (1986)

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Arbeit am Mythos/Work on Myth (1979)

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