Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Existence, philosophy, logic: the fact that there is something to which properties can be attributed. That does not mean that something has to be given immediately or can be perceived by the senses. See also ontology, properties, predicates, existence statements, realism, quantification, ascription.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Hans Jonas on Existence - Dictionary of Arguments

Brocker I 612
Existence/Jonas: Jonas' Ecological Imperative (see Ecological Imperative/Jonas) states that we "do not have the right to choose or even dare the non-existence of future generations because of the existence of the present. Why we do not have this right, why on the contrary we have an obligation towards what is not yet and 'in itself' and does not have to be, at least what is non-existent has no claim to existence, is theoretically not easy at all and" - he typically adds - "perhaps not at all to justify without religion" (1).
Philosophy/Jonas/Brocker: Thus Jonas clearly expresses that he does not consider a philosophical argument in the present question
Brocker I 613
sufficient or compelling enough to change beliefs and behaviour in the long term.
BrockerVsJonas: this is a performative contradiction to Jonas' own actions. Furthermore, it is questionable how religious foundations, which Jonas assumes have largely disappeared (2), can achieve this. (3)
Existence/Jonas: simply because humanity exists, it is worth preserving. (4) The existence of humanity should not be regarded as a contingent biological fact, as an accidental result of evolutionary development processes, but as a setting of value from nature. See also Intergenerational Justice/Jonas.
Problem/JonasVsKant, one must, despite Kant, allow for the possibility of rational metaphysics.
Solution/Jonas: the question, why something is at all and not nothing, must be reformulated to what it is worth to exist.
Brocker I 614
Teleology/Solution/JonasVsAristoteles: we must accept purposes in nature instead of locating them in the subject's actions. (5) This can be explained by the instinct of self-preservation found in nature in all life. (6)

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, S. 76, 80.
3. Vgl. Oelmüller, Willi, »Hans Jonas. Mythos – Gnosis – Prinzip Verantwortung«, in: Stimmen der Zeit 206, 1988, p. 349-350.
4. Jonas 1979, p. 92-100.
5. Ibid. p. 138
6. Ibid. p. 142f.

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

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. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" 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 2022-09-25
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