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. (shrink)
Recent work in the history of philosophy of science details the Kantianism of philosophers often thought opposed to one another, e.g., Hans Reichenbach, C.I. Lewis, Rudolf Carnap, and Thomas Kuhn. Historians of philosophy of science in the last two decades have been particularly interested in the Kantianism of Reichenbach, Carnap, and Kuhn, and more recently, of Lewis. While recent historical work focuses on recovering the threatened-to-be-forgotten Kantian themes of early twentieth-century philosophy of science, we should not elide the differences (...) between the Kantian strands running throughout this work. In this paper, I disentangle a few of these strands in the work of Reichenbach and Lewis focusing especially on their theories of relativized, constitutive a priori principles in empirical knowledge. In particular, I highlight three related differences between Reichenbach and Lewis concerning their motivations in analyzing scientific knowledge and scientific practice, their differing conceptions of constitutivity, and their relativization of constitutive a priori principles. In light of these differences, I argue Lewis’s Kantianism is more similar to Kuhn’s Kantianism than Reichenbach’s, and so might be of more contemporary relevance to social and practice-based approaches to the philosophy of science. (shrink)
The present article tries to analyze the role played in Hans Jonas’ ethical reflection by religious—namely, Jewish—tradition. Jonas goes in search of an ultimate foundation for his ethics and his theory of the good in order to face the challenges currently posed by technology’s nihilistic attitude towards life and ethics. Jonas’ ethical investigation enters into the domain of metaphysics, which offers an incomparable contribution to the philosophical endeavour, without undermining its overall independence. In this way, Jewish categories—such as remorse, (...) shame, sacrifice, repentance, and selfrestraint—strengthen the philosopher’s ethical reflection, since he considers them to be essential moral values for the technological epoch. Yet the reference to the Jewish tradition supplies Jonas’ ethical endeavour with a powerful but only hypothetical insight into transcendence. (shrink)
The article endeavours to compare the reflections on the Shoah of two of the most celebrated intellectuals of Jewish origin of the 20th century, namely the German philosopher Hans Jonas and the Soviet writer Vasily Grossman. Both Jonas’ essay on The Concept of God after Auschwitz and Grossman’s novels and reports, such as The Hell of Treblinka, Life and Fate, and The Sistine Madonna, are characterised by a thorough enquiry into the ambivalence of the human condition, that tries to (...) shed some light on the disturbing abyss of Auschwitz and the Shoah. Although neither Jonas nor Grossman considered themselves as religious believers, thanks to the Shoah they recollected their Jewish roots and developed peculiar and innovative thoughts on the meaning and vulnerability of life, human freedom, immortality, and God. The article endeavours to highlight the main similarities and differences between these two authors, who tackled the issue of thinking after Auschwitz. (shrink)
This paper explores the “cultural-linguistic” dimensions of Hans Frei’s theology. I make the case that several of the pragmatic and sociological concerns usually identified as distinctive marks of Frei’s later theology of the 1980s are, in fact, central to his work as far back as the early 1960s. Moreover, I demonstrate that such “cultural-linguistic” insights present important continuous threads in the development of his theology from early to late. Attending to this dimension illuminates the trajectory of Frei’s thinking as (...) consistently Wittgensteinian in sensibility, and deeply indebted to his career-long conversation with Karl Barth’s theology. If successful, this reading should clarify the ways in which Frei’s early work is more innovative, and his later work less derivative, than is often recognized. (shrink)
Von 1925 bis 1928 wurden im Berliner J. M. Spaeth-Verlag unter der Leitung von Hans Rosenkranz eine Reihe von Werken seinerzeit eher unbekannter, in der Retrospektive jedoch signifikanter Autoren der Zwischenkriegszeit publiziert. Der Beitrag thematisiert Rosenkranz als jungen Verleger und Bewunderer Stefan Zweigs. Er entwirft auf Grundlage der Archivüberlieferung einen neuen Blick auf die Geschichte des Unternehmens und kommentiert das damit verbundene literarische Programm: Welche wichtigen verlegerischen Projekte wurden in jener kurzen Zeit unternommen? Welche Rolle hatte Stefan Zweig für (...) das Zustandekommen einiger Titel und besonders in den letzten Wochen der Verlagsexistenz? Inwiefern lässt sich Programmgestaltung und ökonomische Entwicklung von J. M. Spaeth als paradigmatisch für jüdische Verlage in der Weimarer Republik verstehen? Dazu wird erstmals das Scheitern des Unternehmens während der „Bücherkrise“ Ende der 1920er Jahre aus den Quellen rekonstruiert. (shrink)
Philosophical anthropology emerges, partly at least, by dissatisfied and critical followers of Husserl’s phenomenology, such as Max Scheler and the young Martin Heidegger. They were dissatisfied with what they saw as a disregard of the concrete human being as an essential part of phenomenological analysis. They tried instead to claim that philosophy must search for, and anchor, its foundations exclusively in the human being, not as an abstract entity, but as an existential, concrete, physical being. In this specific philosophical, as (...) well as historical, context this paper suggests to locate Hans Blumenberg’s philosophical project by reconstructing his unique version of philosophical anthropology. The main aim of the paper is to describe and understand the way Blumenberg combines his theory of metaphors together with his anthropological considerations regarding the origin and emergence of human culture into his own version of philosophical anthropology. A version that can be seen as joining the original attempt of philosophical anthropology to overcome the deficiency in Husserl’s phenomenological project. (shrink)
Hans Reichenbach has been not only one of the founding fathers of logical empiricism but also one of the most prominent figures in the philosophy of science of the past century. While some of his ideas continue to be of interest in current philosophical programs, an important part of his early work has been neglected, and some of it has been unavailable to English readers. Among Reichenbach’s overlooked (and untranslated) early works, his doctoral thesis of 1915, The Concept of (...) Probability in the Mathematical Representation of Reality, deserves special attention, both for the topics covered and for its significance for a proper understanding of his intellectual trajectory. This volume anticipates most of the fundamental themes of his later philosophy. In particular, it addresses the issue of the application of probability statements to reality, as well as the relationship between probability and causality—questions that have been at the core of his research throughout his life. (shrink)
Il pensiero di Hans Jonas, specie per quel che riguarda la cosiddetta “biologia filosofica”, tratta indirettamente del rapporto tra essere umano e animale. A questo riguardo, Jonas rifiuta sia l’approccio dualistico, sia quello monistico-riduzionistico e propende al contrario per una complessiva reinterpretazione del fenomeno della vita nei termini di quel che egli definisce una “rivoluzione ontologica”. In virtù di ciò, il pensatore rintraccia lo specifico del fenomeno della vita e individua nelle forme viventi una scala naturae di complessità, auto-trascendimento (...) e libertà via via crescenti, le cui tappe significative sono la vita organica, quella animale e quella umana. Per quel che concerne la forma animale, varie specie presentano “potenzialità trans-animali”, che evidenziano un ponte biologico e ontologico verso l’essere umano. In altre parole, l’animale è in qualche modo in grado di prefigurare la forma di vita specificamente umana. Tuttavia, sostiene Jonas, non appena quest’ultima fa la propria comparsa, essa è tale per cui se ne evidenzia al tempo stesso anche lo “iato metafisico” rispetto alla vita animale. La specificità umana si manifesta nella propria capacità di essere responsabile e di preservare le condizioni basilari per una vita autentica sul pianeta. (shrink)
Embora elaborada principalmente na década de 1970 a ética de Hans Jonas permanece atual e é particularmente relevante pelo uso da metafísica em um contexto pós-moderno (algo inusitado e ousado) e por sua teoria dos valores que podem ser atribuídos ao ser e ao não-ser. Pretende-se aqui apresentar as limitações que Jonas detectou nas éticas tradicionais (judaico-cristã, kantiana, por exemplo) e analisar as soluções por ele propostas (notadamente heurística do medo e futurologia comparada). Compreender também a fundamentação de tais (...) soluções (um dos maiores desafios da ética jonasiana). A pesquisa baseou-se em uma revisão bibliográfica que envolve a fonte primária, a obra de Jonas, e fontes secundárias. Constatou-se que a ética de Jonas surge da detecção de um niilismo tanto prático quanto teórico que permitiu um avanço desenfreado da técnica. É necessário então submeter a atividade humana à ética novamente. Para tanto foi utilizada uma ontologia que atribui relevância ética ao metabolismo (e não à razão). Deste modo, a ética da responsabilidade objetiva combater o niilismo e o ceticismo moral e supervisionar o progresso técnico, garantindo assim a existência de uma vida humana autêntica e de uma natureza que tem a si própria como fim. (shrink)
This article develops the relationship between Hans-Georg Gadamer and Spanish philosophers at the end of the 20th century after the completion of a research stay in the Deutsche Literatur Archiv in Marbach. New materials and unpublished correspondence recently found in the Deutsche Literatur Archiv in Marbach reveal common interests and intellectual links between Hans-Georg Gadamer and several Spanish philosophers: Jose Ortega y Gasset, Julián Marías, Laín Entralgo, Xavier Zubiri or Emilio Lledó. The letters, that Gadamer wrote and received, (...) show that the evident dialogical character of Gadamer’s hermeneutic was always one of his most representative characteristics. These unpublished notes are of particular interest in the understanding of the history of philosophy in Spain and the hermeneutical development. (shrink)
Ever since the first meeting of the proponents of the emerging Logical Empiricism in 1923, there existed philosophical differences as well as personal rivalries between the groups in Berlin and Vienna, headed by Hans Reichenbach and Moritz Schlick, respectively. Early theoretical tensions between Schlick and Reichenbach were caused by Reichenbach's (neo) Kantian roots (esp. his version of the relativized a priori), who himself regarded the Vienna Circle as a sort of anti-realist "positivist school"—as he described it in his Experience (...) and Prediction (1938). One result of this divergence was Schlick's preference of Carnap over Reichenbach for a position at the University of Vienna (in 1926), and his decision not to serve as a co-editor with Reichenbach for the journal Erkenntnis that they jointly established in 1930 (which was then co-edited by Carnap and Reichenbach from 1930 to 1938). A second split rooted in different views on induction and probability, which culminated in the Hans Reichenbach's refusal to serve as an invited author on probability within the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science series ed. by Rudolf Carnap, Charles Morris and Otto Neurath from 1938 onwards. In this regard it is remarkable that also Richard von Mises, who was the second leading figure of Logical Empiricism in Turkish exile, criticized the theory of probability put forward by his former Berlin colleague. In this paper I analyse this controversial exchange, drawing on the relevant correspondence and asking whether these (meta) philosophical differences were a typical feature of the pluralism inherent in Logical Empiricism in general. (shrink)
The book focuses on the thinking of the philosopher of Jewish origins, Hans Jonas (1903-1993), and precisely on his “philosophical biology”. The overall thesis is that this topic, which occupies the second stage of his thinking, is coherent with the previous phase (which focused on ancient Gnosticism), as well as with the following (which was dedicated to the ethics of responsibility). The main evidence supporting this thesis is the key notion of “ontological revolution”, the development of which I try (...) to analyse in Jonas’ published and unpublished writings. This is the first innovative feature of the research. The second is my attempt to compare Jonas’ ideas of life and organism with the reflections of thinkers such as Aristotle, Spinoza, and Whitehead. (shrink)
O filósofo alemão Hans Jonas dedica-se a questões que estão na agenda da discussão ética contemporânea. Sua teoria ético-metafísica, explicitada no livro O princípio responsabilidade: ensaio de uma ética para a civilização contemporânea retoma e amplia as indagações a respeito da relação existente entre homem e técnica na modernidade. O ponto de partida da sua tese é a afirmação de que as novas dimensões do agir humano - ocasionadas pela tecnologia - tornaram possível a realização de ações de grande (...) impacto tanto no globo terrestre quanto ao próprio homem. Questões como clonagem, manipulação genética, controle de comportamento, entre outras, mostram como a humanidade pode recriar um novo modelo humano. A partir destes pressupostos , este artigo concentra-se nas questões bioéticas mais especificamente no campo da medicina. Nossa pretensão é mostrar como Jonas propõe a aplicação de sua teoria moral na prática médica. (shrink)
In this paper I will undertake a review on Hans Blumenberg’s analysis of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s works. My point is underline the peculiar position that Wittgenstein has in Blumenberg’s texts. I will consider his impolite commentaries concerning the Philosophical Investigations and Wittgenstein’s decision of becoming a teacher. I will try to characterize Blumenberg’s conception of Wittgenstein as an intellectual figure and on the most popular contributions of Wittgenstein’s thought.
Considering the enormous outpouring of scholarly work on Schmitt over the last two decades, the absence of an adequate treatment in English of Schmitt's concept of history and the problem of secularization is quite surprising. After all, it is Schmitt himself who claims that “all human beings who plan and attempt to unite the masses behind their plans engage in some form of philosophy of history,” such that the attempt to make sense of Schmitt's program remains incomplete without a serious (...) treatment of his philosophy of history. This article is an attempt to address this problem by means of his exchange with Hans Blumenberg who, more than any other critic of Schmitt, was privy to the political intentions behind Schmitt's metaphorical use of theology. While their discussion is extensive and wide-ranging, I focus here on their diverging philosophies of history, precisely that aspect that is most relevant to gaining a more expansive understanding of Schmitt's arguments, and indeed the relationship between political thought and historical thought. (shrink)
L’article propose une réflexion autour de deux personnages qui, à deux moments-clés du xxe siècle, ont pratiqué un art du « faux », de façon quasi inversée sur les plans moral et artistique : Hans Van Meegeren et Elaine Sturtevant. Après un exposé de leurs pratiques comme de leurs destins, il tente de montrer comment ont fonctionné des systèmes de légitimation de formes artistiques a priori problématiques, en produisant des effets parfois logiques, parfois contradictoires ; et comment des contextes (...) idéologiques mais surtout une phraséologie bien précise à laquelle ont participé les protagonistes eux-mêmes, ont permis l’instauration d’œuvres profondément ambiguës où des valeurs telles que l’engagement, l’intégrité, voire l’authenticité, sont restées, en dernière analyse, essentielles. (shrink)
This paper aims at presenting the work of Dutch architecture Hans van der Laan through a comparison with the Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti by stating the similarity of the role assigned to proportion in architectural design by both architects. In particular, the study will show how both Van der Laan and Alberti understood proportion and the perceptive and aesthetic values of proportioned forms as the result of an intellectual appreciation.
This paper examines the Hans Blumeberg’s philosophical program: the metaphorology. My intention is to show the importance of Blumenberg’s ideas into the current debate on the relations between philosophy and metaphor.
According to Hans Jonas (1903–1993), the modern technological progress endowed humanity with wondrous power, which in the long run risks altering the nature of human action. This is especially true for the realm of collective action, the effects of which evidence an unpredicted issue: the ecological crisis, which is the “critical vulnerability” of nature to technological intervention. This discovery brings to light that the whole biosphere of the planet has been added to that which human beings must be responsible (...) for because of their power over it. There is, however, a further dimension of vulnerability (and responsibility) to be considered, namely the one which characterizes organic life as such. Indeed, the essence of all living organisms–human beings included–is characterized by vulnerability, given their precarious and unstable condition of “needful freedom” towards the environment. Nevertheless, terrestrial life fl ourished through a multifaceted and unplanned (thus, again, vulnerable) evolution of living forms, ranging from bacteria to human beings – these evidencing a unique degree of freedom, which Jonas refers to as a “metaphysical gap” towards other living beings. The problem is that the present-day technology provides the possibility to manipulate the very essence of life and human nature. Is this process to be accepted and accomplished? And what about the related risks? Indeed, according to Jonas, issues such as genetic manipulation, euthanasia, organ transplantation, assisted reproduction, exploitation of other living beings etc., raise ethical dilemmas which can be addressed thanks to the idea of vulnerability. (shrink)
This essay examines an ambiguity in Hans Kelsen’s theory of a norm. On the one hand, Kelsen claims to adhere to what he considers the ‘is/ought’ dichotomy. Kelsen claims that he is describing what really is. On the other hand, Kelsen seems to be understanding the is/ought dichotomy in a very different manner than that by which his contemporaries or, indeed, today’s readers understand the distinction. The clue to this ambiguity is Kelsen’s understanding of a norm. Although legal existence (...) is said to rest with norms, this existence is very different than an existence constituted from social behaviour. Instead, in Kelsen’s view, a norm is a signifying relation between a sign and a cognitive object. Kelsen’s theory of language, however, is very different from a theory of speech acts. When addressing why a norm is binding, we find that Kelsen’s full theory of language excludes important phenomena in order to retain its purity. (shrink)
Em “Compreender Hans Jonas”, Jelson Oliveira se propõe a apresentar de maneira clara e objetiva o longo caminho percorrido pelo alemão Hans Jonas em sua jornada filosófica, cujo ápice é a formulação da tão urgente ética da responsabilidade. Por meio de uma ánalise cuidodadosa das obras deixadas por Jonas, Jelson confere inestimável importância a um livro único, que torna prazeroso o conhecimento sobre o desenvolvimento intelectual do filósofo do Princípio Responsabilidade.
Este trabajo ofrece una presentación y un examen crítico de una de las ideas filosófico-teológicas más controversiales y sugerentes de Hans Jonas: la de un Dios “sufriente” y “no omnipotente”. Asimismo, se introducen algunas reacciones críticas a dicha noción. Posteriormente, se busca relacionarla, destacando semejanzas y diferencias, con reflexiones recientes en torno a un “pensamiento posmetafísico”. Algunos comentarios sobre la actualidad o pertinencia de la propuesta jonasiana se plantean al final del trabajo.
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)
Nosso trabalho intenta perquirir, ainda que laconicamente, a categoria teológica da ressurreição no contexto da reflexão de Hans Urs von Balthasar. Para tanto, não se apresentará de forma a esgotar a cristologia balthasariana, mas apenas, buscar-se-á adentrar-se em sua obra: Mysterium Paschale, perquirindo, como o referido autor compreende as implicações da ressusrreição na cristologia, não olvidando que Balthasar realiza nesta obra uma reflexão cristológico-trinitária.
Hans Küng is a well-known, and harsh, critic of doctrine of papal infallibility declared at Vatican I, 1870–1871. It leads—he argues—not to transparent certainty, but away from it. A propos ‘infallibility’ and the still-running scandals of child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy, he writes:…While Rome no longer dares to proclaim formally infallible doctrines, it still envelopes all of its doctrinal pronouncements with an aura of infallibility, as though the Pope’s words were a direct expression of God’s (...) will or Christ’s voice.Instead—that is—of getting a formal assertion as in the case of the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessèd Virgin Mary, we now get obita dicta, cranky stuff about being silent on the matter of the ordination of women, and so on set forth as ‘“almost” infallible. So just shut up!’Taizé is OK: but taise toi! will no longer do. We are all the ‘priestly people of God’ according to Vatican II. Küng does not use the .. (shrink)
Facing the progress of science and technology, Hans Jonas believes that traditional ethical theories are insufficient to guide the actions of contemporary man. To formulate his own theory, the philosopher takes as its basis the responsibilities of parents towards their children and the one the public man has in relation with his community. Despite their differences, these forms of liability are intertwined and complementary. Then arise in jonas' theory the concepts of wholeness, continuity and future, which will cover following (...) the thinking of the philosopher. (shrink)
Hans Christian Andersen is a cultural icon, and his fairy tales are famous around the world. But despite the positive ring to this description, his status as a canonized author poses a challenge when he is passed on to new generations of readers. In this article, we show examples of how this challenge reveals itself in Danish primary school teaching where Andersen is an obligatory figure in the subject Danish where he is frequently framed as a national romantic author (...) of morally unambiguous texts. Taking the current use of “The Ugly Duckling” (1844) in primary school teaching materials as a point of departure, we aim to show Andersen’s potential to be presented as an element in primary school teaching that draws on dialogic inquiries rooted in Philosophy with Children. Philosophical inquiries are characterized by an open mindset that incite teachers as well as school children to engage with the rich ethical themes and literary qualities of Andersen’s fairy tales. We conclude the article with our own inquiry manual to “The Ugly Duckling” to illustrate a way to overcome the current hegemonic framing of Andersen and reopen his fairy tale for future discussions and interpretations. (shrink)
Hans Kelsen is renowned in the world of legal philosophy as one of the most important legal scholars of the 20th century and his most important work which brought him this renown, Pure Theory of Law, is therefore ‘world famous’. However, he is less well known as a legal pacifist and his main writings on law and peace, such as Peace through Law, are very rarely studied and almost never considered in relation to his Pure Theory of Law. Even (...) the more recent studies of Kelsen’s theory of democracy, which increased familiarity with Kelsen as an advocate of democracy and actually looked at his political work in the light of the Pure Theory of Law, contain almost no systematic or critical consideration of the value of peace, although both Kelsen’s legal theory and his theory of democracy at least give cause for this. Whereas other studies have already made the connection between the concepts of law and democracy in Kelsen’s work, this thesis concentrates on the concepts – also closely connected in his work – of law and peace. With this new approach this thesis hopes to contribute to a re-evaluation of Kelsen’s positivist legal philosophy by showing that the undervalued yet essential aspect of his legal pacifism can be understood as the tacit, ethical meaning of the Pure Theory of Law. (shrink)
Hans Reichenbach, a philosopher of science who was one of five students in Einstein's first seminar on the general theory of relativity, became Einstein's bulldog, defending the theory against criticism from philosophers, physicists, and popular commentators. This book chronicles the development of Reichenbach's reconstruction of Einstein's theory in a way that clearly sets out all of its philosophical commitments and its physical predictions as well as the battles that Reichenbach fought on its behalf, in both the academic and popular (...) press. The essays include reviews and responses to philosophical colleagues, such as Moritz Schlick and Hugo Dingler; polemical discussions with physicists Max Born and D. C. Miller; as well as popular articles meant to clarify aspects of Einstein's theories and set out their philosophical ramifications for the layperson. At a time when physics and philosophy were both undergoing revolutionary changes in content and method, this book is a window into the development of scientific philosophy and the role of the philosopher. (shrink)