Slate recently published an article on “27 books you’d probably love if only you knew about them” and Spencer Hawkins’ (PhD 2014) translation of Hans Blumenberg’s The Laughter of the Thracian Woman was on it. Congratulations, Spencer!
As David Auerbach writes, “Hans Blumenberg’s The Laughter of the Thracian Woman traces the history of an origin myth of science. Greek astronomer Thales of Miletus was the original absent-minded professor. He was walking and studying the night sky, it is said, when he tripped and fell into a well, leading him to theorize that water—and not a god or gods—was the prime mover of reality.German-Jewish “philosophical anthropologist” Blumenberg follows the myth of Thales through the ages to show that the scientific endeavor is necessary but also fundamentally ridiculous. It culminates with an attack on “incomprehensible arrogance” as the most destructive human tendency, reaffirming modesty and skepticism. Today everything is made of data instead of water; Blumenberg, translated with great care by Spencer Hawkins, reminds me that we are still as ridiculous as Thales.”
Read the full article here.