The meaning of life. Can Hans Jonas’ "philosophical biology" effectively act against reductionism in the contemporary life sciences?

Roberto Franzini Tibaldeo
Catholic University of Louvain
Hans Jonas’ “philosophical biology,” although developed several decades ago, is still fundamental to the contemporary reflection upon the meaning of life in a systems thinking perspective. Jonas, in fact, closely examines the reasons of modern science, and especially of Wiener’s Cybernetics and Bertalanffy’s General System Theory, and at the same time points out their basic limits, such as their having a reductionistic attitude to knowledge and ontology. In particular, the philosopher highlights the problematic consequences of scientific reductionism for human nature. As the final result of an overall process of naturalization, the essence of the human being is reduced to its quantitative features only, while the “meaning” of life as such becomes no different from the “fact” of its material consistency. However, the problem is that by such a process, the human being is deprived of his specificity.
Keywords hans jonas  general system theory  ludwig von bertalanffy  cybernetics  norbert wiener  organism  reductionism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Hans Jonas and the Philosophical Anthropology.Vallori Rasini - 2010 - Rivista di Filosofia 101 (2):269-284.
Hans Jonas and Secular Religiosity.Ron Margolin - 2008 - In Hava Tirosh-Samuelson & Christian Wiese (eds.), The Legacy of Hans Jonas: Judaism and the Phenomenon of Life. Brill. pp. 231--258.
Life, Movement, and Desire.Renaud Barbaras - 2008 - Research in Phenomenology 38 (1):3-17.


Added to PP index

Total views
1,032 ( #2,521 of 2,269,780 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
202 ( #2,078 of 2,269,780 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature