Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age: Part III, Chapter 11, "The Integration into Anthropology: Feuerbach and Freud"

With the triumph of theoretical curiosity, Blumenberg sees its field of objects expanding from nature to other realms.

The rise of a species of popular curiosity is introduced through anecdotes of the tribulations of Alexander von Humboldt.

Feuerbach -- fundamental conception is "knowledge drive" -- temporal rather than spatial conception of the unknown which man's curiosity seeks to uncover -- anticipation. Hyperbolic and exaggerated formulations serve the function of making knowledge possible. Theology as a hyperbolic anthropology. Immortality as displacement of the gaining of knowledge within history to a quasi-spatial state of perfection in which no further knowledge remains to be achieved.

Immortality as conceived of by the Enlightenment and German Classicism seeks to bridge the gap between what will be known by mankind and what can be known by an individual man. Feuerbach insists on retaining consciousness of the gap. For Feuerbach, individuals are only agents in the progress of knowledge, not the loci of its completion. Individuals sense the gap between what they know and what can be known and feel a drive to close it, even though this cannot be completely achieved.

For Feuerbach, man's knowledge drive is not concerned with things beyond human comprehension, it is concerned with what man can know but doesn't yet know.

Feuerbach uses story of Copernicus' desire to actually see Mercury to illustrate function of reason and knowledge as an anticipation of feeling and sense rather than as a completion of them.

Need as correlate of action and fulfillment for Feuerbach. Knowledge drive seeks to possess its object, at least imaginatively -- this is a specific form of the happiness drive, which seeks power and ownership. Happiness drive as the "drive of drives."

Freud - curiosity as redirection of fundamental libidinal impulse -- in example of Leonardo, both a sublimation and an obsessive regression from primary sublimation (of libido into artistic creation).

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