This article develops Hans Blumenberg’s intensifying interest in fables during the 1970s and 1980s and argues that it marked his decisive turn away from academic philosophy toward a rethinking of storytelling as a philosophical practice. Blumenberg’s simultaneous writings on anecdotes are thus reframed as a testing ground and subsequent application of a philosophy of fabulistic storytelling. The systematic reach of this fabulistic turn is exhibited by tracing a set of concepts—pensiveness (Nachdenklichkeit), nonunderstanding (Unverstand), and disturbance (Störung)—that Blumenberg coined to define the specific phenomenological conditions of being interrupted by a fable-type story. Though no actual “fabulology” ensued from these plans, the fabulistic turn can be contextualized with Blumenberg’s metaphorology as it represents his ultimate attempt to study the role of language for philosophy, however, with a shift from analysis to pragmatism: while metaphorology demanded, retroactively, that absolute metaphors be revisited throughout the history of philosophy to gauge the plasticity lost by philosophical language, Blumenberg’s fabulology proposes, proactively, to change philosophical language itself by conducting narratological experiments with the lifeworld to rethink the relation between lifeworld, reality, and storytelling.
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Research Article| February 01 2022
Decoding Aesop: Blumenberg’s Fabulistic Turn
New German Critique (2022) 49 (1 (145)): 163–183.
Florian Fuchs; Decoding Aesop: Blumenberg’s Fabulistic Turn. New German Critique 1 February 2022; 49 (1 (145)): 163–183. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-9439671
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