While many interpreters of Hans Blumenberg have searched The Legitimacy of the Modern Age or Work on Myth for hints of a political theory, there is still no in-depth discussion of the only essay published during his lifetime that deals directly with political theory, “The Concept of Reality and the Theory of the State,” which appeared in May 1968. This article reconstructs that essay’s main arguments and contextualizes it in the “historical phenomenology” Blumenberg developed in his middle period. Arguing that we are witnessing a slow dissolution of the state, he suggests that politics is supplanted by rhetoric and the state by supranational structures. Setting apart this historical approach from the anthropological one of his later work, the article argues for a break in Blumenberg’s oeuvre around 1968.

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