Imperative of Responsibility In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age

ISBN-10: 0226405974

ISBN-13: 9780226405971

Edition: 1985

Authors: Hans Jonas
List price: $34.00
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Description: Hans Jonas here rethinks the foundations of ethics in light of the awesome transformations wrought by modern technology: the threat of nuclear war, ecological ravage, genetic engineering, and the like. Though informed by a deep reverence for human life, Jonas's ethics is grounded not in religion but in metaphysics, in a secular doctrine that makes explicit man's duties toward himself, his posterity, and the environment. Jonas offers an assessment of practical goals under present circumstances, ending with a critique of modern utopianism.

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Book details

List price: $34.00
Copyright year: 1985
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/15/1985
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 263
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Hans Jonas was a well-known Jewish thinker, an early and influential biomedical ethicist, and an equally early and influential philosopher of technology in the United States and his native Germany. Born in 1904 in Monchengladbach, Jonas studied under Martin Heidegger at the University of Freiburg before Hitler came to power and Heidegger became chancellor of the university. He received his doctorate in 1928 from the University of Marburg. In 1933 he fled Germany and, in 1964, publicly repudiated Heidegger because of his Nazi connections. Jonas taught in Jerusalem and Canada before becoming a professor at the New School for Social Research in New York in 1955, where he was chair of the philosophy department (1957--63) and Johnson Professor of Philosophy (from 1966 until his retirement in 1976). Jonas is best known for his neo-Kantian ethics of responsible caution in the face of the awesome power of modern technology---especially the power of modern biotechnology, including genetic engineering. According to Jonas, we must consult our fears and not our hopes when understanding technological ventures that can have a potentially devastating impact on what it means to be human (and therefore ethical). More than half of Jonas's books were written in German, including an early version of his greatest work, The Imperative of Responsibility (1984).

The Altered Nature of Human Action
The Example of Antiquity
Characteristics of Previous Ethics
New Dimensions of Responsibility
Technology as the ""Calling"" of Mankind
Old and New Imperatives
Earlier Forms of ""Future-oriented"" Ethics
Man as an Object of Technology
The ""Utopian"" Dynamics of Technical Progress and the Excessive Magnitude of Responsibility
The Ethical Vacuum
On Principles and Method
Ideal and Real Knowledge in the ""Ethic of the Future""
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