Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Brocker I 609
Ecological Imperative/Jonas: based on Kant's Categorical Imperative, Jonas develops an "ontological imperative" based on being itself. JonasVsKant: his categorical imperative is located differently.
Def ontological imperative/Jonas: "Act in a way that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of real human life on earth. "Do not endanger the conditions for the indefinite survival of mankind." (1)
Elsewhere, this Jonasian imperative is also called "ecological imperative".
Another formulation by Jonas: "Act in a way that the consequences of your actions are compatible with a future humane existence, i.e. with the claim of humanity to survive for an unlimited time". (2)
Brocker: The formulations show that Jonas is not only concerned with physical survival, but also with the quality of this life ("real human life").
(s)VsJonas: the formulations are, if one does not want to call them circular anyway, weaker than the ones by Kant, because they do not refer to a principle.
Solution/Jonas: Jonas makes demands that should determine individual and collective life from now on:
"Heuristics of Fear"/Jonas: Starting from a "Heuristics of Fear" (3), everyone must gather as much knowledge as possible about the conceivable consequences and "distant effects" of their actions before taking any action (4). The bad prognosis must always be given priority over the good prognosis.
For ethical reasons see Teleology/Jonas, Ethics/Jonas, Humanity/Jonas, Existence/Jonas, Being/Jonas.


1.Hans Jonas, Das Prinzip Verantwortung. Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation, Frankfurt/M. 1979, p. 36
2. Hans Jonas, »Warum wir heute eine Ethik der Selbstbeschränkung brauchen«, in: Elisabeth Ströker (Hg.), Ethik der Wissenschaften? Philosophische Fragen, München/Paderborn u. a. 1984, 75-86.
3. Jonas 1979, p. 8, 64
4. Ibid. p. 9, 28.


Manfred Brocker, „Hans Jonas, Das Prinzip Verantwortung“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Jonas I
Hans Jonas
Das Prinzip Verantwortung. Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation Frankfurt 1979

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-05-20
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