Philosophy of nature and organism’s autonomy: on Hegel, Plessner and Jonas’ theories of living beings

Following the revival in the last decades of the concept of “organism”, scholarly literature in philosophy of science has shown growing historical interest in the theory of Immanuel Kant, one of the “fathers” of the concept of self-organisation. Yet some recent theoretical developments suggest that self-organisation alone cannot fully account for the all-important dimension of autonomy of the living. Autonomy appears to also have a genuine “interactive” dimension, which concerns the organism’s functional interactions with the environment and does not simply derive from its internal organisation. Against this background, we focus on a family of natural philosophical approaches that historically have already strongly taken in account this aspect of autonomy, notably going beyond Kant’s perspective on self-organisation. We thus review Hegel, Plessner, and Jonas’ different perspectives on living beings, focussing in particular on four points: the distinction between organic and inorganic, the theory of biological organisation, the processuality of the living, and the “boundary” between inside and outside, through which the organism establishes its relationship to the environment. We, then, compare the three perspectives on these four points, and finally address the question of what advantages their contribution present—especially compared to Kant’s theory—with respect to the topic of organism’s autonomy. This could help—we hope—to better understand what is at the stake still today.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s40656-018-0212-3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 36,528
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

Autopoiesis, Adaptivity, Teleology, Agency.Ezequiel A. Di Paolo - 2005 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (4):429-452.
Individuals. An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics.P. F. Strawson - 1959 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 38 (2):320-323.

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Living Systems: Autonomy, Autopoiesis and Enaction.Mario Villalobos & Dave Ward - 2015 - Philosophy and Technology 28 (2):225-239.
Psychosomatic Medicine and the Philosophy of Life.Michael A. Schwartz & Osborne P. Wiggins - 2010 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 5:1-5.
What Is Life?Gary S. Rosenkrantz - 2001 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001:125-134.
La idea de autonomía en biología.Arantza Etxeberria & Álvaro Moreno - 2007 - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España] 40:21-37.
Life and Autonomy: Forms of Self-Determination in Kant and Hegel.Khurana Thomas - 2013 - In Thomas Khurana (ed.), The Freedom of Life. Berlin, Deutschland: pp. 155-194.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
4 ( #797,168 of 2,302,334 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #152,144 of 2,302,334 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature