In this major work, Blumenberg takes issue with Karl Lowith's well-known thesis that the idea of progress is a secularized version of Christian eschatology, which promises a dramatic intervention that will consummate the history of the world from outside. Instead, Blumenberg argues, the idea of progress always implies a process at work within history, operating through an internal logic that ultimately expresses human choices and is legitimized by human self-assertion, by man's responsibility for his own fate. Hans Blumenberg is professor of philosophy at the University of Munster. "The Legitimacy of the Modern Age "is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.
Modern science buried centuries of theological controversy. Hans Blumenberg has unearthed these controversies again, rethinking the dilemmas and dead ends of Christian dogma that provided the intellectual provocations for the scientific revolution.... But Blumenberg has not merely written a scholarly, nuanced, and illuminating study of the religious background to modern science. He has also written a philosophical book, a combative response to the dim Romantic suggestion more common in Germany than America, that the modern age 'as a whole' is somehow illegitimate. -- Stephen Holmes * The American Political Science Review * It has been left for Blumenberg to write a major treatise on the metaphysical tradition which unites intellectual history with critical dissection of the concept of 'secularization': a concept that has served two generations of writers in their efforts to make sense of the modern world. What Blumenberg has done, to put it briefly, is to describe the disintegration of the medieval world-view as a consequence of latent contradictions already present in the scholastic tradition: ultimately in the synthesis of early Christianity and neo-Platonism inherited by the European middle ages. However, this formulation supplies only the feeblest sort of pointer to the importance of a work whose author is no mere historian but an original thinker in his own right, equipped with the sort of synthesizing faculty which was the pride of German scholarship in its great age. * The Times Literary Supplement * A great sweeping history of the course of European thought, built on the Hegel-Heidegger scale.... -- Richard Rorty * The London Review of Books *