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History, Metaphors, FablesA Hans Blumenberg Reader$
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Hans Blumenberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501732829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501732829.001.0001

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Introduction to Paradigms for a Metaphorology

Introduction to Paradigms for a Metaphorology


(p.170) 7 Introduction to Paradigms for a Metaphorology
History, Metaphors, Fables

Hans Blumenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter addresses Hans Blumenberg's introduction to Paradigms for a Metaphorology (1960). The introduction outlines possible theoretical foundations for a metaphorology — most importantly Kant — while its remaining chapters consist of nine fairly distinct studies of specific metaphorological complexes, such as the “mighty” truth, the difference between organic and mechanical background metaphorics, or the metaphorics of geometric symbolism. Their semantic historical behavior permits or resists their transformation into concepts; hence, Blumenberg proposes them as “paradigms” that might help found a systematic metaphorology. By investigating the nonconceptual, yet-to-be-settled semantic layers of emerging terminologies, Blumenberg's metaphorology is concerned less with the truth of metaphysics than with analyzing philosophy's own unthought and shifting foundations. While he concedes that ornamental metaphors may indeed only provide rhetorical flourishes, Blumenberg draws attention to what he calls “absolute metaphors,” of which “truth as light” would be an example, which cannot simply be converted back into conceptuality.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, metaphorology, mighty truth, metaphorics, geometric symbolism, terminologies, philosophy, ornamental metaphors, absolute metaphors

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