Hans Blumenberg's philosophical anthropology: After Heidegger and Cassirer

Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (3):pp. 421-448 (2008)
In this paper, I situate Hans Blumenberg historically and conceptually in relation to a subtheme in the famous debate between Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer at Davos, Switzerland in 1929. The subtheme concerns Heidegger’s and Cassirer’s divergent attitudes toward philosophical anthropology as it relates to the starting points and goals of philosophy. I then reconstruct Blumenberg’s anthropology, which involves reconceptualizing Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms in relation to Heidegger’s objections to the philosophical anthropology of his day (e.g., Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner, and Arnold Gehlen) as unduly anthropocentric. Blumenberg builds on anthropologist Gehlen’s assumption that human beings are biologically underdetermined and therefore world-open. With this starting point, symbolic forms, such as myth and language, make up a compensatory life-world that supports human existence. Action, or self-assertion, which is necessary given the lack of a seamless fit between human beings and the environment, is thus circumscribed and shaped by the historied, cultural constructs that constitute a life-world. Human beings can thus be characterized as a species that continually renegotiates the shape of its existence through its relation to biological limits on the one hand and cultural constants on the other. Because Blumenberg and philosophical anthropology are relatively unexplored by Anglophone philosophers, and because philosophical anthropology is central to Blumenberg’s methodology generally, this study provides an introduction to both.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0031
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,675
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

157 ( #25,330 of 2,255,076 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #218,490 of 2,255,076 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.