O texto apresentado a seguir é uma traduçáo da conferência intitulada “The Burden and Blessing of Mortality” ( The Hastings Center Report , 22, n. 1, jan-fev. 1992, p. 34-40), que foi apresentada à Fundaçáo do Palácio Real [The Royal Palace Foundation], em Amsterdam, no dia 19 de março de 1991. Esta conferência foi traduzida para o alemáo por Reinhard Löw e revisada pelo próprio Jonas, aparecendo com o título “Last und Segen der Sterblichkeit” em Scheidewege 21, 1991/92, p. (...) 26-40, e mais tarde em um livro do próprio Jonas: Philosophische Untersuchungen und metaphysische Vermutungen [Investigações Filosóficas e Suposições Metafísicas] . Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag, 1992, p. 81-100. Por sua vez, o texto original, em inglês, veio ainda a fazer parte de uma coletânea de ensaios de Jonas, editada por Lawrence Vogel ( Mortality and Morality : a search for good after Auschwits. Ed. Lawrence Vogel. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1996, p. 87-97). (shrink)
A classic of phenomenology and existentialism and arguably Jonas's greatest work, The Phenomenon of Life sets forth a systematic and comprehensive philosophy -- an existential interpretation of biological facts laid out in support of Jonas ...
Avi Mintz (2008) has recently argued that Anglo-American educators have a tendency to alleviate student suffering in the classroom. According to Mintz, this tendency can be detrimental because certain kinds of suffering actually enhance student learning. While Mintz compellingly describes the effects of educator's desires to alleviate suffering in students, he does not examine one of the roots of the desire: the feeling of compassion or pity (used as synonyms here). Compassion leads many teachers to unreflectively alleviate student struggles. While (...) there are certainly times when compassion is necessary to help students learn, there are other times when it must be overcome. Compassion in the classroom is a two-edged sword that must be carefully employed; and yet it is often assumed that it is an unequivocal good that ought to trump all other impulses. In this article I hope to raise awareness concerning the promises and pitfalls of compassion in education by examining the theories of two historical figures who famously emphasised compassion in their philosophical writings: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich Nietzsche. Rousseau and Nietzsche argue that compassion is a powerful educational force but that it must be properly employed. For Rousseau and Nietzsche, compassion is necessary to develop self-mastery in human beings—the ultimate goal of education—but it is a compassion that must hurt in order to help. My hope is that Rousseau's and Nietzsche's ideas on compassion will encourage thoughtful reflection on the uses and abuses of compassion in education. (shrink)
Many teachers in teacher education programs are cursorily introduced to Dewey's ‘epochmaking’ ideas on interest and effort through discussions based on the need for child-centered pedagogies that utilize students' interests. Unfortunately, this strategy often tacitly encourages teachers to over-rely on students' interests. In this paper, I recommend a way of introducing Dewey's conception of interest that avoids the common pitfall of over-reliance on students' interests. I argue that if we focus on the changes Dewey made to the expression of his (...) philosophy during a seventeen-year period, we can help illuminate the force of his theory while protecting against unfortunate misinterpretations. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of self-overcoming has been largely misinterpreted in the philosophy of education journals. The misinterpretation partially stems from a misconstruction of Nietzsche’s perspectivism, and leads to a conception of self-overcoming that is inconsistent with Nietzsche’s educational ideals. To show this, I examine some of the prominent features of the so-called “debate” of the 1980s surrounding Nietzsche’s conception of self-overcoming. I then offer an alternative conception that is more consistent with Nietzsche’s thought, and (...) provides a more nuanced understanding of Nietzsche’s “anti-democratic” pedagogy. Ultimately, I argue that while Nietzsche’s educational philosophy is not egalitarian, it can be effectively utilized in “democratic” classrooms, assuming his concept of self-overcoming is properly construed. (shrink)
In his 2001 article 'Teaching to Lie and Obey: Nietzsche on Education', Stefan Ramaekers defends Nietzsche's concept of perspectivism against the charge that it is relativistic. He argues that perspectivism is not relativistic because it denies the dichotomy between the 'true' world and the 'seeming' world, a dichotomy central to claims to relativism. While Ramaekers' article is correct in denying relativistic interpretations of perspectivism it does not go far enough in this direction. In fact, the way Ramaekers makes his case (...) may actually encourage the charge of relativism, especially when it comes to his appropriation of perspectivism for education. This article proposes to pick up where Ramaekers left off. It will argue that Nietzsche's denial of the opposition between the 'true' world and the 'seeming' world opens up the possibility for the reestablishment of truth, albeit in a modified form. After examining Nietzsche's modified 'realist' epistemology, the paper will explore the implications of it for his philosophy of education. It will be argued that Nietzsche's educational philosophy is founded on his concept of perspectivism in so far as he demands that students be rigorously inculcated into a pedagogical framework that teaches students to discriminate between 'true' and 'false' perspectives. This framework is essential for the development of an intellectually robust and life-affirming culture. (shrink)
Patricia White (Stud Philos Educ 18:43–52, 1999) argues that the virtue gratitude is essential to a flourishing democracy because it helps foster universal and reciprocal amity between citizens. Citizens who participate in this reciprocal relationship ought to be encouraged to recognize that “much that people do does in fact help to make communal civic life less brutish, pleasanter and more flourishing.” This is the case even when the majority of citizens do not intentionally seek to make civic life better for (...) others. Were citizens to recognize the appropriateness of gratitude in these situations, the bonds of our democratic communities would be strengthened. In this paper, I examine White’s argument more carefully, arguing that it fails to address adequately the difficulties that arise when we attempt to encourage the virtue of gratitude in our students. To address these difficulties, I turn to an unlikely source for democratic inspiration: Friedrich Nietzsche. In spite of his well-known anti-democratic sentiments, Nietzsche offers democratic citizens insights into the social value of gratitude. I argue that Nietzsche’s ideas resolve the educational difficulties in White’s argument and viably establish gratitude as an important democratic virtue that ought to be cultivated. (shrink)
This article considers how legislators should respond to evidence that identifies a common and widely accepted parental practice as a potential source of harm to children, using domestic exposure to environmental tobacco smoke as a test case. It is claimed that children are parties to the Harm Principle, and that the State has an obligation to protect children from exposure to harm. Parental prerogative is limited by the need to avoid harming children. That said, there is considerable uncertainty about what (...) is harmful to children. Several sources of uncertainty, both empirical and conceptual, are explored, in order to demonstrate the complexity of the task legislators face. Seven considerations that are relevant to decisions about legislation of harmful parental practices are outlined, and these considerations are then employed to assess the case in favour of legislating to prohibit the exposure of children to environmental tobacco smoke in domestic settings. (shrink)
In Book II of the Republic (370c-372d), Socrates briefly depicts a city where each inhabitant contributes to the welfare of all by performing the role for which he or she is naturally suited. Socrates calls this city the `true city' and the `healthy one'. Nearly all commentators have argued that Socrates' praise of the city cannot be taken at face value, claiming that it does not represent Socrates' preferred community. The point of this paper is to argue otherwise. The claim (...) is that Socrates genuinely believes the city is a healthy and desirable city, and that he believes that the First City (the so-called `city of pigs') is in fact superior to the Kallipolis. (shrink)
Technology and responsibility: reflections on the new tasks of ethics.--Jewish and Christian elements in philosophy: their share in the emergence of the modern mind.--Seventeenth century and after: the meaning of the scientific and technological revolution.--Socio-economic knowledge and ignorance of goals.--Philosophical reflections on experimenting with human subjects.--Against the stream: comments on the definition and redefinition of death.--Biological engineering--a preview--Contemporary problems in ethics from a Jewish perspective.--Biological foundations of individuality.--Spinoza and the theory of organism.--Sight and thought: a review of "visual thinking."--Change and (...) permanence: on the possibility of understanding history.--The gnostic syndrome: typology of its thought, imagination, and mood.--The hymn of the pearl: case study of a symbol, and the claims for a Jewish origin of gnosticism.--Myth and mysticism: a study of objectification and interiorization in religious thought.--Origen's metaphysics of free will, fall, and salvation: a "divine comedy" of the universe.--The soul in gnosticism and Plotinus.--The abyss of the will: philosophical meditations on the seventh chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans. (shrink)
Hans Jonas developed in ‘Past and Truth’ (1991) a demonstration of the existence of God based on the ‘truth of past things’. And in ‘The Concept of God after Auschwitz’ (1984) he created a new myth of divine self-alienation in order to take away God’s responsibility for human misery. Both these texts were conceived as an alternative to a more Hegelian, objective idealist perspective on theology. This article shows that Jonas’s alternative does not fully succeed in this respect (...) because his arguments bring him back to an idealist perspective. His proof of God is revisited and explained using new insights recently developed by Robert Spaemann, whose interpretation of the proof makes it clear that many important critics of Jonas are too quick to reject his claims. The arguments of Jonas now seem to show a new strength even though they still fail to give an alternative to an objective idealist theological framework. (shrink)
Both Deleuze in DR and Thompson / Jonas can be fairly said to be biological panpsychists. That‘s pretty much what ―Mind in Life‖ means: mind and life are co-extensive: life = autopoiesis and cognition = sense-making. Thus Mind in Life = autopoietic sense-making = control of action of organism in environment. Sense-making here is three-fold: 1) sensibility as openness to environment; 2) signification as positive or negative valence of environmental features relative to the subjective norms of the organism; 3) (...) direction or orientation the organism adopts in response to 1 and 2. (―Sense of the river‖ is archaic in English, but ―sens unique‖ for ―one-way street‖ is perfectly clear in French.). (shrink)
Starting from a reflection on the present stage of technological civilisation, a critical reading of Jonas's ethics of responsibility from a Husserlian point of view is presented. It is argued that Jonas's ethics fails to meet the challenge of the collective character of technological action, that his view of human history is problematic and that the metaphysical foundation of his ethics is uncritical and naive.
Eva Buddeberg: Verantwortung im Diskurs: Grundlinien einer rekonstruktiv-hermeneutischen Konzeption moralischer Verantwortung im Anschluss an Hans Jonas, Karl-Otto Apel und Emmanuel Lévinas Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9366-3 Authors Norbert Anwander, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Philosophie, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
‘Gnosticism and Modern Nihilism’ (published in Social Research , 1952) is indeed one of Hans Jonas’ most famous essays, to which its author reserved very deep attention during his philosophical career. As a former pupil of Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann, Jonas started to deal with religious topics, and specifically with Gnosticism, from the very outset of his philosophical career in the 1920s. After gaining recognition thanks to his remarkable philosophical-existential interpretation of Gnosticism, he returned to the modern (...) age and its philosophical characters. Principally, Jonas discovered that modern philosophy up to Heidegger and Sartre suffered from a peculiar spiritual disease – namely, nihilism – that he had already traced in ancient Gnosticism and that he intended to reject. Therefore, Jonas’ acquaintance with ancient religion and thinking gave him a deep insight into the modern age and provided him with a first glimpse of what was later to become his biological philosophy. However, whoever could imagine that the idea of tracing similarities between Gnosticism and modern thinking came to Jonas at the beginning of 1950 from the famous philosopher and biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy? In this article, I shall endeavour to demonstrate this thesis by quoting from unpublished documents. However, I shall also try to prove that Jonas did not follow von Bertalanffy’s advice completely. The overall aim is, therefore, both to highlight the origins of an essential turning point in the thinking of Hans Jonas, and, on such a basis, to outline the innovation and originality of his philosophical contribution. (shrink)
A responsabilidade enquanto princípio ético, embora seja evocada pelos filósofos clássicos, desde a antiguidade ao existencialismo, assume novas perspectivas a partir do pensamento de Hans Jonas e Levinas. Ambos a colocam como centro da ética. Com Jonas a responsabilidade não é mais centrada no passado e no presente. A sua preocupação é com o futuro da humanidade, com as gerações futuras e com a sobrevivência das mesmas. Diferente de Platão, Jonas não está preocupado com a eternidade, mas (...) com o tempo vindouro, compatível com a era da ciência e da tecnologia, cuja responsabilidade passa a ser o alicerce, o princípio orientador para as decisões que possam interferir nas diferentes formas de vida. Levinas, por sua vez, também se afasta da tradição filosófica na medida em que não aceita mais a tese de que a responsabilidade é decorrente da liberdade. A responsabilidade não nasce de uma boa vontade, de um sujeito autônomo que quer livremente se comprometer com o outro ser. Ela nasce como resposta a um chamado. A responsabilidade é o fundamento primeiro e essencial da estrutura ética, a qual não aparece como suplemento de uma base existencial prévia. Aquém do ser se encontra uma subjetividade capaz de escutar a voz, sem palavras de um dizer original, e aponta para uma outra dimensão do eu. Prévio ao ato de consciência, anterior ao sujeito intencional, o eu já responde a um chamado. A responsabilidade pelo outro ser precede a representação conceitual ou a mediação de um mandamento ético. Ela é obediência a uma vocação, a uma eleição pelo bem além do ser. A responsabilidade determina a liberdade do eu, pois esta não consegue mais se justificar por ela mesma. PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Ética. Liberdade. Jonas. Levinas. Responsabilidade. ABSTRACT Responsibility qua ethical principle, however evoked by classical philosophers from Antiquity through existentialism, assumes new perspectives since the contributions of Hans Jonas and Levinas. Both place it at the center of ethics. With Jonas, responsibility no longer focuses on past and present. His concern is rather with the future of humankind, with future generations and their survival. Contrary to Plato, Jonas is not concerned with eternity, but with the time to come, compatible with the era of science and technology, whose responsibility becomes the groundwork and guiding principle for decisions that might interfere in different life forms. As for Levinas, he also departs from the philosophical tradition insofar as he rejects the thesis that responsibility results from freedom. Responsibility does not stem from a good will, from an autonomous subject who freely wants to be engaged with another being. Responsibility rather emerges as response to a call, it is the first, essential ground of ethical structure, which cannot appear as a supplement of a previous existential basis. Even before Being, one finds a subjectivity capable of listening to a voice, without words, of an originary saying, and points to another dimension of the self. Previous to the act of consciousness, anterior to the intentional subject, the self already responds to the call. Responsibility towards the other being precedes the conceptual representation or the mediation of an ethical commandment. It is obedience to a vocation, to an election by the Good beyond Being. Responsibility determines the freedom of the self, since the lattercan no longer be justified by itself. KEY WORDS – Ethics, Freedom, Jonas, Levinas, Responsibility. (shrink)
Jonas traz os princípios de uma nova ética de forma clara e objetiva, propondo o princípio de responsabilidade. A filosofia de Jonas tem sido fundamental para estabelecer uma análise importante do princípio da responsabilidade como imperativo ético do diálogo entre ciência e ética. Este trabalho, de caráter bibliográfico, produz uma análise epistemológica ao longo da história e observa as principais causas, os fatores e motivos que levaram o Planeta ao desequilíbrio ecológico e social. Para reverter esse cenário de (...) grande destruição, questionamentos e incertezas, esta pesquisa busca uma nova ética, que substitua todo o arcabouço conceitual da ética tradicional e que postule novos valores e conceitos. A principal forma de disseminação de um novo modelo ético é por meio da educação, pois somente uma educação livre de valores antropocêntricos, embasada em um novo conceito ético, poderá mudar o sistema político-econômico vigente e, dessa maneira, restabelecer o equilíbrio ecológico e social. (shrink)
Frédérick Bruneault | Résumé : Y a-t-il une fondation rationnelle ultime à nos obligations morales qui puisse nous permettre de faire face aux exigences de notre situation technologique actuelle et des inquiétudes qu’elle fait surgir ? Ce texte a pour objectif de répondre affirmativement à cette question en examinant les travaux de deux auteurs qui partagent une lecture de l’aspect paradoxal de la réflexion éthique contemporaine, à savoir Karl-Otto Apel et Hans Jonas. Chacun de leur côté, ils se proposent (...) de fonder rationnellement une éthique capable d’affronter l’ampleur des problèmes auxquels fait face la civilisation technologique, mais ils le font par des chemins passablement différents. Ma thèse est que ces deux voies sont nécessaires pour arriver à l’objectif d’une fondation rationnelle ultime de l’éthique, mais qu’elles ne peuvent y arriver qu’à la condition de travailler en complémentarité. |: Is there an ultimate rational foundation to our moral obligations, which could help us deal with problems raised by our technological world ? This paper wants to give an affirmative answer to this question. This answer will draw from two contemporary authors in ethical thinking, Karl-Otto Apel and Hans Jonas. Both of them, in their own different way, provide a rational foundation to an ethics that has enough strength to deal with contemporary problems. My thesis is that both ways are necessary to achieve an appropriate affirmative answer to the question. They thus have to work dynamically. (shrink)
O presente trabalho visa elucidar a renovaçáo da teleologia no pensamento de Hans Jonas, mostrando como esta ocupa aí duas funções centrais, a saber: pensar uma nova ontologia que atenda de forma mais exata à construçáo de um universo psicofísico e em vir-a-ser; e pensar o dever-ser da humanidade enquanto telos e valor absoluto no processo evolutivo do Ser. Para alcançarmos nosso objetivo, primeiro explicitaremos que o que Jonas designa por "enigma da subjetividade" é o problema fundamental da (...) ontologia, e que a filosofia moderna fracassa diante de tal problema, exigindo assim a reabilitaçáo – e renovaçáo – de uma concepçáo teleológica do ser. Depois mostraremos que essa renovaçáo da teleologia – que pode certamente ser designada de "neo-finalismo" – define o finalismo como intrínseco náo só aos seres individuais, mas ao próprio devenir do mundo, onde o homem seria a própria realizaçáo última de uma possibilidade latente no interior de tal processo evolutivo da substância universal. Com isso, resultaria um princípio da ética que náo estaria fundado nem na autonomia do Eu, nem nas necessidades da comunidade, mas antes no próprio caráter teleológico do processo evolutivo da natureza – o homem assumindo aí um valor absoluto por justamente ser o telos – entenda-se: "qualidade final" – de tal processo. Quer isto dizer, a teleologia jonasiana visa por fim responder sobre o bem que é a humanidade, que se firmaria assim como o próprio fundamento da ética. (shrink)
L’existant humain est par essence un être-au-monde. Cette dimension ontologique (pré)suppose une réalité ontique, à savoir la nature comme espace de visibilité de notre existence. Cependant, le pouvoir technologique défigure cette nature et se retourne contre l’homme au point que même l’éthique traditionnelle devient inopérante face aux défis de ce pouvoir. C’est à juste titre que Hans Jonas soutient que la réflexion éthique doit cesser de s’occuper uniquement de l’action humaine en rapport avec les hommes entre eux pour s’intéresser (...) à l’homme comme une force agissante au sein de la nature. Ainsi, contrairement à Kant, Jonas pose les effets de l’acte comme condition de sa moralité. Et pourtant, il nous semble que la disposition intérieure du sujet agissant, la volonté bonne,n’est pas non plus à négliger. D’où la pertinence de l’impératif de l’éthique de la visibilité dans l’invisible qui réconcilie les deux positions : Agis de telle sorte que ton acte, sous-tendu par une intention pure, produise des effets compatibles avec la permanence d’une vie authentiquement humaine sur terre en assurant ainsi ta visibilité dans l’invisible. L’inflexion de cet impératif dans la praxis quotidienne passe par l’éducation ; laquelle doit s’organiser autour de trois principes cardinaux, à savoir : le principe de préséance de la vie, le principe d’interaction des générations et le principe de discontinuité des antivaleurs. (shrink)
The ‘buck-passing’ account equates the value of an object with the existence of reasons to favour it. As we argued in an earlier paper, this analysis faces the ‘wrong kind of reasons’ problem: there may be reasons for pro-attitudes towards worthless objects, in particular if it is the pro-attitudes, rather than their objects, that are valuable. Jonas Olson has recently suggested how to resolve this difficulty: a reason to favour an object is of the right kind only if its (...) formulation does not involve any reference to the attitudes for which it provides a reason. We argue that despite its merits, Olson's solution is unsatisfactory. We go on to suggest that the buck-passing account might be acceptable even if the problem in question turns out to be insoluble. (shrink)
There has been a long tradition of characterizing man as the animal that talks. However, the remarkable ability of using pictures also only belongs to human beings, after all we know empirically so far. Are there conceptual reasons for that coincidence? The paper is dedicated to a philosophical programme of “concept-genetic” considerations dealing in particular with the dependencies between those two abilities: The conceptual relation between the competence to use assertive language and the faculty of employing pictures must be conceived (...) of as being much closer than usually expected. Indeed we conclude, there cannot be creatures with only one of them. (shrink)