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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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An Anthropological Approach to the Contemporary Significance of Rhetoric

An Anthropological Approach to the Contemporary Significance of Rhetoric


(p.177) 8 An Anthropological Approach to the Contemporary Significance of Rhetoric
History, Metaphors, Fables

Hans Blumenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes Hans Blumenberg's first tentative reflection on the topic of philosophical anthropology, which was “An Anthropological Approach to the Contemporary Significance of Rhetoric” (1971). This work was originally published in Italian, with its German version not appearing for another ten years. Here, Blumenberg extends his preoccupation with language by turning toward its role not just in historical systems of thought but in human behavior as such. Focusing in particular on rhetoric, that is, speech that aims to persuade rather than to express the truth, he understands it as one vital tool of existence among others for a being to whom any final truths are unavailable and whose mortality presses it to act. Ultimately, “Anthropological Approach” seeks to outline a “deep history” of rhetoric.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, philosophical anthropology, language, human behavior, rhetoric, speech

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