The Ethics of Responsibility. The Principle of Responsibility by Hans Jonas Appeared 40 years Ago

Robert Theis

The Principle of Responsibility, which appeared 40 years ago, attempts to providean ethical basis for our technological civilization. The following article reconstructs thesystematic interconnections of this ethical basis. Jonas formulates a new ethical principle, i.e.that we should act so that the effects of our behaviour are compatible with the permanencyof true life on earth. In the reception of this work, it is particularly the idea of responsibilityfor the existence of future generations and thus the preservation of nature or creation, whichhas attracted attention. This basic idea has its roots in ontology, which studies the questionwhy human beings should exist at all. Jonas considers that justifying “ought” for a given “is”can only be done with the help of metaphysics; i.e. answering the fundamental question why“is” is of more value than “is not”.

DOI: 10.37240/AHFiMS.2019.64.12


Keywords: truth · semantics · paradox · self-referential · materially adequate · formally correct

Robert Theis – Doctor of Science in Philosophy; B.A. in philosophy, M.A. in theology; éleve titulaire EPHE (5e section), Professor of Philosophy at the University of Luxemburg; visiting professor at the University of Saarland; vice-President of the Société d’études kantiennes de langue française (Society of the Kantian Studies in French); editor of the works of Christian Wolff and Europea Memoria (Olms, Hildesheim).   »  

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