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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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“Imitation of Nature”

“Imitation of Nature”

Toward a Prehistory of the Idea of the Creative Being (1957)

(p.316) 13 “Imitation of Nature”
History, Metaphors, Fables

Hans Blumenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter reviews Hans Blumenberg's “'Imitation of Nature': Toward a Prehistory of the Idea of the Creative Being” (1957). In this work, Blumenberg traces the consequences of the changes in the concept of nature for technology and art through the historical reevaluation of the concept of mimesis. According to Aristotle, “human skill (technē) either completes what nature is incapable of completing or imitates nature.” This dual definition is closely tied to the double meaning of the concept of “nature” as a productive principle (natura naturans) and produced form (natura naturata). It is easy to see, however, that the overlapping component lies in the element of “imitation.” Nature and “art” are structurally identical: the immanent characteristics of one sphere can be transposed onto the other. This idea was then established as fact when tradition shortened the Aristotelian formulation to ars imitator naturam, as Aristotle himself had already expressed it.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, imitation, nature, creative being, technology, art, mimesis, Aristotle, technē

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