I was born in Hirschberg in the Riesengebirge, the kingdom of the mountain spirit Rübezahl. After attending primary and secondary school in Hameln/Weser (the town of the pied piper of Hamelin), I studied philology and philosophy in Münster, Gießen, Bochum (Germany), and Pavia (Italy). I held a scholarship from the “Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes” (German National Scholarship Foundation). Influential university professors in my life include, among others, the Romance philologist Hans Robert Jauß and the philosopher Hans Blumenberg. I wrote my dissertation in 1967 under the supervision of Blumenberg and completed my habilitation thesis in 1973 on the philosophy of history.
I was Professor of Philosophy at WWU Münster from 1980–1993, and from 1993–2005 I was Professor of Philosophy and Scientific Theory at TU Chemnitz. Though my work in Münster was primarily humanities-related, I worked to synthesize ideas in the humanities and natural sciences in Chemnitz. Finally, I was a guest professor at the institutes for philosophy at the University of Vienna and the University of Trento, Italy, where I gave lectures and courses on aesthetics and ethics. I now live in Münster. My current areas of specialization include philosophical anthropology and evolutionary theory.