Qual è il valore pratico della filosofia? La tradizione tramanda un verdetto duplice. Da una parte, il sapiente è colui che sa vivere, poiché conosce cosa è bene e come realizzarlo; dall’altra, il filosofo è inesperto del mondo ed esibisce in prima persona l’inutilità del suo sapere. Ma come si misura l’utilità del sapere filosofico? In questi scritti inediti risalenti agli anni canadesi (1949-1956), tradotti per la prima volta, Hans Jonas si interroga sul significato vitale e umano dell’esperienza filosofica, (...) intrecciando un vivace dialogo con gli autori antichi e lasciando emergere, nel confronto con essi, i lineamenti della sua filosofia dell’organico. (shrink)
Can art, religion, or philosophy afford ineffable insights? If so, what are they? The idea of ineffability has puzzled philosophers from Laozi to Wittgenstein. In Ineffability and its Metaphysics: The Unspeakable in Art, Religion and Philosophy, Silvia Jonas examines different ways of thinking about what ineffable insights might involve metaphysically, and shows which of these are in fact incoherent. Jonas discusses the concepts of ineffable properties and objects, ineffable propositions, ineffable content, and ineffable knowledge, examining the metaphysical pitfalls (...) involved in these concepts. Ultimately, she defends the idea that ineffable insights as found in aesthetic, religious, and philosophical contexts are best understood in terms of self-acquaintance, a particular kind of non-propositional knowledge. Ineffability as a philosophical topic is as old as the history of philosophy itself, but contributions to the exploration of ineffability have been sparse. The theory developed by Jonas makes the concept tangible and usable in many different philosophical contexts. (shrink)
While a great deal has been written on Plato's Lysis in philosophy and philology journals over the last thirty years, nothing has been published on Lysis in the major Anglo-American philosophy of education journals during that time. Nevertheless, this dialogue deserves attention from educators. In this essay, Mark Jonas argues that Lysis can serve as a model for educators who want to move their students beyond mere aporia, but also do not want to dictate answers to students. Although the (...) dialogue ends in Socrates's affirmation of aporia, his affirmation is actually meant to persuade his interlocutors to reflect on an epiphany they had previously experienced. In what follows, Jonas offers a close reading of relevant passages of Lysis, demonstrating the way that Socrates leads his interlocutors to an epiphany without forcing his answers upon them. (shrink)
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 ...
In this essay, Mark Jonas argues that there are three broadly held misconceptions of Plato's philosophy that work against his relevance for contemporary moral education. The first is that he is an intellectualist who is concerned only with the cognitive aspect of moral development and does not sufficiently emphasize the affective and conative aspects; the second is that he is an elitist who believes that only philosopher-kings can attain true knowledge of virtue and it is they who should govern (...) society; the third is that he affirms the realm of the Forms as a literal metaphysical reality and believes that for individuals to attain virtue they must access this realm through contemplation. The goal of this essay is to correct these misconceptions. The rehabilitation of Plato's reputation may enable future researchers in moral education to discover in his philosophy new avenues for exploring how best to cultivate virtues in students. (shrink)
This book explores the ways in which humor can enhance the learning environment. Drawing upon empirical research and brain-based concepts, Jonas presents a theoretical model of humor, along with practical examples for enhancing learning in schools and classrooms.
From the late eighteenth through the end of the nineteenth century, educational philosophers and practitioners debated the benefits and shortcomings of the use of emulation in schools. During this period, “emulation” referred to a pedagogy that leveraged comparisons between students as a tool to motivate them to higher achievement. Many educationists praised emulation as a necessary and effective motivator. Other educationists condemned it for its tendency to foster invidious competition between students and to devalue learning. Ultimately, by the late nineteenth (...) century emulation as a specific pedagogical practice had disappeared in American educational culture. In this article, Mark Jonas and Drew Chambers ask whether the disappearance of emulation is something to be celebrated or lamented. To answer this question they examine the historical concept of educational emulation and analyze the bases on which proponents and opponents argued. Parties on both sides of the debate framed their arguments in close relation to the way emulation was being used at that time, which prioritized actual competitions and prizes. In that context, the opponents made a better case, which presumably contributed to emulation's disappearance in schools afterwards. However, as earlier proponents of emulation argued, emulation need not be restricted to competitions and prizes. Instead, these proponents offered a philosophically and psychologically rich defense of emulation, but these were not carried through to an appropriate degree. The authors conclude that, construed appropriately, emulation not only had tremendous educational potential then, but still does today. With intentional effort on the part of teachers, emulation can greatly enrich students' lives and act as a powerful learning motivator. (shrink)
De tous les livres de Hans Jonas, ce sont les Essais philosophiques qui ont le caractère le plus multidisciplinaire : ils portent sur l’éthique, la philosophie de la nature, de l’esprit, de l’histoire et la philosophie de la religion… Mais ce recueil n’est pas pour autant éclectique. Car au-delà de la diversité de ses objets, il constitue une remarquable illustration du chemin de pensée que s’est frayé le philosophe à travers des champs d’investigation multiples et apparemment hétérogènes. C’est ainsi (...) qu’au fil de textes qui furent publiés entre Le Phénomène de la vie et Le principe responsabilité, on retrouve ici la dette du philosophe à l’égard de Heidegger, l’inspiration spinoziste de sa philosophie de la nature, les racines de son éthique de la responsabilité et un commun dénominateur de toutes ses recherches philosophiques : les concepts apparentés de liberté, de volonté et de valeur qui animent sa pensée comme autant de facteurs de résistance à la menace du réductionnisme. (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)
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)
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)
Culture plays an important role in defining ethics standards because dissimilar cultures socialize their people differently, according to what is acceptable behaviour. The potential significance of ethnic groups for marketing justifies inquiry into the moral judgments, standards, and rules of conduct exercised in marketing decisions and situations arising from decisions whether or not to focus on individual ethnic groups within an economy. Identifying and targeting ethnic groups for marketing purposes are tasks fraught with many ethical difficulties. In a multicultural society (...) consisting of a dominant group and many diverse, minority groups defined by ethnicity, these problems can be expected to increase substantially. Consequently, marketers may include minority ethnic consumers in their mainstream marketing programs. In itself, this has ethical consequences. Alternatively, if marketers seek to target individual minority ethnic groups within the same economy a further set of ethical consequences needs to be considered. This paper reviews the concepts of ethnicity and ethnic groups and their relevance for marketing strategy within an economy where there is a dominant group and also significant minority ethnic groups. The ethical consequences for minority communities arising from the use of non-ethnic, mainstream marketing programs are examined. An alternative approach, ethnic marketing, is also examined and its ethical consequences in terms of other groups within the one country appraised. The ethical dilemma and tradeoffs facing marketers within advanced, culturally diverse countries are then considered. (shrink)
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)
Jonas Olson writes that "a plausible moral error theory must be an error theory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think we cannot believe this error theory. I first argue that Olson should say that reasons for belief are irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an error theory about all irreducible normativity. I then explain why I think Olson's objections to this argument fail. I end (...) by showing that Olson cannot defend his view as a partly revisionary alternative to an error theory about all irreducible normativity. (shrink)
1 This paper has been presented at the workshop “Time and Modality: A Round Table on Tense, Mood, and Modality”, Paris, December 2005, at a CUNY linguistics colloquium in May 2006, and at the 6th Workshop on Formal Linguistics in Florian´opolis, Brazil, August 2006. We thank the audiences at those presentations, in particular Orin Percus, Tim Stowell, Marcel den Dikken, Anna Szabolcsi, Chris Warnasch, Roberta Pires de Oliveira, Renato Miguel Basso, and Ana M¨uller. We thank Noam Chomsky, Cleo (...) Condoravdi, and Irene Heim for very helpful conversations about this material. We thank Bridget Copley for sharing with us her recent manuscript “What Should Should.. (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)
Jonas Olson defends a moral error theory in (2014). I will first argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral nonnaturalism in his own opinion. I will then argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral contextualism either (although the latter is not a matter of his own opinion).
El artículo trata sobre las Cartas inéditas enviadas por la escritora chilena Flora Abasolo al filósofo vasco Miguel de Unamuno. Se da cuenta, primero, de la producción literaria de la escritora dado el evidente desconocimiento que de ella existe dentro del ámbito intelectual nacional. Luego se hace referencia a las Cartas en tanto forman parte de la iniciativa comunicacional y editorial emprendida por Flora en pro del reconocimiento del nombre de su padre, el filósofo Jenaro Abasolo, y de su (...) obra póstuma, La personalidad política y la América del porvenir. Conforme a esto, se explicita el contexto de las Cartas, sus fechas, número y finalidad, y se lleva a cabo una hermenéutica crítica de parte de su contenido con el objetivo de incorporar nuevos antecedentes biográficos y literarios de la escritora y de su progenitor. Se indaga, a su vez, en las razones que pudo tener Unamuno para dejar incumplido el compromiso de reseñar la obra de Abasolo, atendiendo a las circunstancias, a las estrategias seguidas por Flora y a su talante, diferente al de su padre en la búsqueda de reconocimiento. Este trabajo es parte de una investigación mayor que venimos desarrollando desde el año 2008 sobre Abasolo. Sumamos las Cartas a esta labor como un nuevo documento que sobrepasa las expectativas respecto del valor que tienen para la reconstrucción de la vida y obra del filósofo santiaguino, y para la evaluación que de la misma escritora chilena se pueda hacer. Destacamos por tanto la conveniencia de incorporar a las investigaciones de la filosofía en Chile esta clase de documentos que evitan, más allá de su inicial apariencia intrascendente, recorrer caminos que hay que desandar cuando el peso de la evidencia documental vuelve erróneo parte de lo que la especulación sin antecedentes había establecido. (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)
Traduçáo do artigo "'God is dreaming you': Narrative as Imitatio Dei in Miguel de Unamuno," artigo publicado originalmente Janus Head –Interdisciplinary Studies in Continental Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts , Volume 7, Issue 2.
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)
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)
Jonas' philosophical biology is an attempt to overcome the dualism, i.e., the alienation between man and world, which characterizes both Gnostic thinking and the Heiddegerian existentialist approach that Jonas had applied in its interpretation. This dualism leads both approaches to despise or, at least, to neglect nature.Jonas' philosophical biology is intended to provide an insight into the phenomenon of life that is more than a mere reflection of scientific epistemology. Rather, it regards itself as a cognitively significant (...) approach towards the living in its own right. At the same time, philosophical biology is not intended as an alternative to the scientific enterprise, but instead as a desirable and even necessary complement of it. In developing philosophical biology, Jonas additionally aims at securing a place for man in the order of the living that is more than just locating him somewhere in the order of primates. (shrink)