Monday, May 26, 2008

Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age: Part III ("The 'Trial' of Theoretical Curiosity"), Introduction

inescapablility of science in contemporary world -- questioning the value or consequences of science itself yields a scientific discourse -- moreover, science is necessary for life, in the sense that it has created conditions in which most humans alive today could not continue to live without it

232: "Since ancient times, what theory was supposed to do was not to make life possible but to make it happy."

232-233: "The 'theoretial attitude' may be a constant in European history since the awakening of the Ionians' interest in nature; but this attitude could take on the explicitness of insistence on the will and the right to intellectual curiosity only after it had been confronted with opposition and had had to compete with other norms of attitude and fulfillment in life."

'naive' curiosity - curiosity as an anthropological constant

'reflected' curiosity - curiosity which takes the orientation and direction of inquiry itself as its object

Diderot's Encyclopedia as a project of reflected curiosity, an attempt to understand what is known and direct inquiry on that basis

The encyclopedic ambition itself exposes a key modern predicament: individuals can no longer even hope to orient themselves with respect to the totality of knowledge. The subject which grasps what is known is now a collective or an institution. Under these conditions, it becomes impossible to sustain the ancient identity of complete knowledge and happiness.

Francis Bacon reformulates relation between knowledge and happiness - happiness is the result of humanity collectively knowing enough to take control of nature

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