Phenomenology and Teleology: Hans Jonas's Philosophy of Life
Although Hans Jonas's theory of responsibility has been influential on continental European environmental ethics, his philosophy of life, which seeks to rehabilitate a teleological account of living beings and describe their differing degrees of 'existential freedom', is less well-known. In this article, I reconstruct the stages of Jonas's phenomenological account and address the key criticisms levelled at it. I argue that although Jonas's theory is flawed by internal contradictions, these may be rectifiable, and, if so, his philosophy of life could also provide an ontological rationale for a biocentric ethic. I conclude that for these reasons his work deserves greater scholarly attention.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2017
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- Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.
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