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230Philosophy and Literature according to Webb's persuasive account, because for Kierkegaard faith emerges as a process of"letting go," ofceasing to struggle to comprehend God objectively. God is a subject and can only be known subjectively, through the opening of the soul toward him. It is only from the perspective of objectifying reason that this is a leap. In a final chapter Webb explores the larger theoretical implications of his inquiry in a way that moves beyond the viewpoints of the figures of his study. He adds his own impressive voice to their continuing conversation. Catholic University of AmericaDavid Walsh The Genesis ofthe Copernican World, by Hans Blumenberg; translated by Robert M. Wallace; xlviii & 772 pp. Cambridge : MIT Press, 1987, $40.00. While not formally a series, for more than 2500 pages, in three massive volumes, Hans Blumenberg has pursued his genealogy of the modern world. Consequendy, his latest book must be understood in the context of the arguments in the earlier two works. In TL· Legitimacy oftL· ModernAge, he expounded and employed his reoccupation thesis to trace the impetus behind the secularization thesis, and root out the concept of legitimacy as a vestigial remnant of an earlier set ofhuman concerns. Relocating his emphasis, Blumenberg argued in Work on Myth that the mythic landscape has been relendessly strip-mined for the resources a logocentric world has demanded in the single-minded pursuit ofreason as rationality. The resulthas been thatwe are leftwith a sociallandscape of human meaning unable to sustain life. Now, the third step in Blumenberg's genealogy of modernity focuses on the epochal shift between the earlier medieval view (theological absolutism) and the modern view (self-assertion). Many analysts have argued that the Copernican Revolution is the key event in the turn which ensconced the modern conception of science as the central element of our new epoch. This constitutes a sharp break with the past, one which has been interpreted as a prodigious Kuhnian paradigm shift. Blumenberg 's account of this episode, and his analysis of the common view of this episode as a mythic narrative dispels the usual interpretation of this key event. The title gives a hint of the project to come: this genesis, like the Biblical one, creates a mythic narrative. The narrative describes the features of the break between old and new, and invests the post-break world with the meanings and teleology which will enable it to create a series of logics (sciences in our epoch). According to Blumenberg, our narrative recreation of this episode has lent an authority and particularity to this episode which ought to be controversial. To reevaluate the place and substance of the episode, we must find an inter- Reviews231 pretation which rejects the twin oppositional interpretations of secularization and epochal paradigmatic break. The reoccupation thesis from The Legitimacy ofthe Modern Age is an attempt to explain how the conceptual apparatus of an age may change substantially, yet still be an attempt to answer a question or set of problems framed in an earlier epoch. Consequendy, the conceptual development is a new creation—against the secularization thesis—but it remains a response to an older set of stimuli—against the analysis of radical epochal breaks. To sustain his argumentofconstitutive remnants ofthe problematics ofearlier epochs, Blumenberg must completely reconceptualize the Copernican Revolution , in the face of its mythic role as the Genesis of the modern world. The project therefore has two major dimensions: first, he must argue for a reconsideration of the role of science in the entire philosophical/political/mythic framework ofan age; second, he must demonstrate which elements of that age are identifiable as innovative and which are remnants of prior epochs. To identify these remnants, Blumenberg reconnects scientific thought to the philosophical/political/mythic framework in which it has a place; he replaces Copernicus's revolution within its conceptual and historical time. This can be understood as a reconnection of the internal and external history of science. Science as a mode of thought is claimed by its adherents to be disconnected from and independent of any influences external to its methodology. Hence, science, as it is practiced today, may righdy ignore the historical and conceptual setting of its...


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