A blog dedicated to understanding Hans Blumenberg's Höhlenausgänge.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Origin of the Copernican Worldview: Chapter 1: Cosmos and Tragedy

Sophocles and Anaxagoras were contemporaries in 5th-C Athens. Sophocles' statement from Oedipus at Colonus that "The best thing is never to have been born", in contrast to Anaxagoras' statement reported in the Eudemian Ethics, that in response to "Why would you prefer to have been born?" the best answer is "For the sake of viewing the heavens and the whole order of the universe". Kant later says, (Blumenberg's paraphrase) because of "the impossibility of obtaining the consent, in advance, of those who are to be born," those who beget them owe them "the compensation of reconciling them, after the fact, with the existence they did not wish for, and thus enabling them to give their own consent to this fact."

B. says Anaxagoras' question is "part of the invisible underground of philosophy". But given the biblical assumption of Divine creation, there is no possibility of "an 'after the fact' justification of the fact of world and of life."

Also: reduction of the Cosmos to "the order" of the heavens -- more beautiful than chaotic self, which is not deemed worthy of contemplation. Moving forward to Gottsched's description of Copernicus: "nicts schien ihm der Betrachtung eines weisen Mannes...wuerdiger zu sein, als das praechtige Gebaeude des Himmels."

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