Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age: Part II, Chapter 5

Separation of truth from theoretical effectiveness corresponds to the decline of anthropocentric teleology.

Copernicus - a regression from the trend who illustrates this correspondence in reverse. He objected to astronomy that was constructed inelegantly with the aim of being good enough for practical use. He objected that it lacked the clarity and precision it should have in order to describe God's design.

Descartes - Science built through hypothetical construction is a different path than truth. Point of Descartes' materialist cosmogony is to illustrate that the world is open to human action and change. World is never complete, it has no end.

Precritical Kant - world is always changing, tending toward perfection.

Critical kant - teleology exists only in human action; 'unfinished' world precondition of human action.

Hobbes as illustration of dissolving political order to ints natural elementsin order to show how human action should shape it in response to those tendencies.

Theme of overpopulation as a natural tendency which is a disorder for human flourishing (Malthus) and as a regulatory princile which makes it possible to describe the biological world mechanistically (Darwin). Both advocate a resignation to laws of nature in culling human population -- a view which Blumenberg has no sympathy for, and celebrates the nineteenth century for finding a way to oppose it through technical progress.

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