Heidegger and Blumenberg on modernity

Trans/Form/Ação 35 (2):93-119 (2012)
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The debate surrounding the way in which Heidegger and Blumenberg understand the modern age is an opportunity to discuss two different approaches to history. On one hand, from Heidegger’s perspective, history should be understood as starting from how Western thought related to Being, which, in metaphysical thinking, took the form of the forgetfulness of Being. Thus, the modern age represents the last stage in the process of forgetfulness of Being, which announces the moment of the rethinking of the relationship with Being by appealing to the authentic disclosure of Being. On the other hand, Blumenberg understands history as the result of the reoccupation process, which means replacing old theories with other new ones. Thus, to the historical approach it is not important to identify epochs as periods of time between two events, but to think about the discontinuities occurring throughout history. Starting from here, the modern age will be thought of not as an expression of the radicalization of the forgetfulness of Being, but as a response to the crises of medieval conceptions. For the same reason, the interpretation of history as a history of the forgetfulness of Being is considered by Blumenberg to subordinate history to an absolute principle, without taking into account its protagonists’ needs and necessities
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