Read The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age: In Search of an Ethic for the Technological Age by Hans Jonas Online

Title : The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age: In Search of an Ethic for the Technological Age
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0226405966
ISBN13 : 978-0226405964
Format Type : Paperback
Language : Englisch, Deutsch
Publisher : University of Chicago Press 1 Dezember 1984
Number of Pages : 498 Pages
File Size : 898 KB
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age: In Search of an Ethic for the Technological Age Reviews

  • Thrash Jazz Assassin
    2019-03-23 01:40

    I just wanted to insure that anyone coming across the previous review wasn't left with the impression that this book is applicable to medical ethics only. What Jonas is attempting here is broad in scope and deeply relevant. His basic thesis is that all previous ethics was based on a certain image of "man" that no longer holds. With the availability of power that technology has unleashed in the last century, our understanding of man, his place in the cosmos, and his power to effect both the present and the future has changed radically-- but our ethical theories have remained tied to an older image of a mankind much more limited in the effects of its actions.His thesis has broad and deep implications in areas ranging from medical ethics to political ideologies... there is a thought-provoking critique of "Utopianism" and its expressions both in political ideologies and our relationship to technological praxis. This critique alone is worth purchasing and reading the book. He even enters into interesting discussions such as the metaphysics of the "mind-body" problem and its ethical implications.Highly recommended reading, with a wonderful (and rare) combination of Germanic thoroughness and the clarity and elegance more typical of what comes out of English and American philosophical traditions.

  • None
    2019-04-19 02:21

    And it's truly brilliant! In attempting to create a modern groundwork for ethics, it picks up where Immanual Kant left off. Although this book is huge in Europe, it has yet to be properly appreciated in this country. The writing is beautiful, although it helps to have serious philsophical training.

  • H. Schneider
    2019-04-07 06:26

    While sitting in a surprisingly interesting and stimulating conference on corporate social responsibilities in China (including a lecture by the man who singlehandedly exposes polluters in China on his NGO website), I remembered that I bought this little book some 20 years ago and that I have irresponsibly procrastinated picking it up for reading ever since. A mistake. Who would have thought that a German philosopher can write clearly and concisely about relevant subjects without being tedious. Jonas could. My explanation is, he got his German style spoiled from living abroad for too long.He emigrated in 33 at the age of 30, first to Palestine, then to Canada, then to the US. He wrote this book in German in the 70s in New York, after decades of writing in English. He did that because he could write faster in his mother tongue, he said.His basic position was a secular one (weltlich, he calls it), but he looks over the fence, unpolemically, to what a religious position might be, off and on, which adds interest.His objective is an ethical theory that meets the reality of modern technology, i.e. the ability of causing long term damage to nature. This change in quality of technoloy changes our categorical imperative. Kant's rule was anthropocentric, nowadays we have to cast the net wider and consider the impact on non-human elements and we have to look at long term effects. Knowledge of such effects becomes imperative, but there is a gap between the power to act and the ability to anticipate.The new categorical imperative could be: act in such a way that the effects are compatible with long term human existence on the planet. The knowledge gap requires the principle that in decisions of potentially apocalyptic dimensions the negative prognosis must have preference over the positive one. Mankind is not allowed to risk all for progress; risking all may only be an option when a risk to lose all is to be averted. Suicide may be permissible to the individual, but not to the whole.I don't want to summarize the whole argument, read it yourself, it is well worth it. A solid basis for green ethics. Unfortunately we still need to find out what the long term effects of our actions are, and that can turn into serious disputes, as we know.The English title plays more on the relation to Kant than the German original does. The original title would be something like: The Responsibility Principle, which puts it more in contrast to Ernst Bloch's Hope Principle than to Kant. I think the English title is better than the original one.

  • C. Brown
    2019-04-15 02:41

    I found a copy of this slim book while rummaging through dozens being given away from the library of a deceased professor. It looked interesting but little did I realize that it contained the most precise description of the problem of modern times: how should we live, how should we decide about "progress" such that we will best assure the future of man? Jonas makes a very powerful argument that extreme caution is advised and wrestles in detail with the difficulties of restraining ourselves when technology beckons us with the promise of anything and everything we want. The early part of the book is demanding as it is an intricate examination of logic as he defines his terms. Then there is a transition to the things which I think we all have on our minds as we race along with technological progress. While the ethics passed down to us from ancient times deal with how we treat each other as individuals, they assume man, as a creature living in his own world, will continue on regardless of setbacks in one or another situation, incapable of threatening his own essence or the natural world around him. Technology has altered this and placed such power in our hands that we have the fate of the future of man in our hands. Jonas points to genetic alteration and behavioral modification as areas in which we must act with the utmost restraint and makes a strong case for what we in the present owe to those who will live long after we are gone, unless we make it impossible for them to even be as we are. Page after page I would turn to find a new heading that made me exclaim "Aha! I was hoping he would talk about this!" He discusses the contrast between the excesses of consumerism and the widespread occurance of poverty and deprivation, warning that something must happen to lessen the divide while at the same time constraining the depredation of the natural world. He accurately points out the tightening squeeze where the system of production and endless growth is running up against limits, yet we have no idea how to jump from the squirrel cage. When you hear people belittle such talk as "gloom and doom", ask them how the economy could survive with a flat stock market. Just as there is no perpetual motion machine, so there is no endless growth, but we deny this daily in the way we live. Will we be able to carefully decide on such things as genetic manipulation in humans or will it take on a "progress" of its own in which the layman stands speechless before the decisions of experts? Is Capitalism or Marxism the best approach to these issues? Capitalism says press on with all deliberate speed. While we can almost all agree that Marxism, as implemented, has been swept under, Jonas discusses the foundations of Marxism and its weaknesses, while at the same time showing that in some respects it has some creditable points to make. Jonas wrote the book when he was 80, with the wisdom of age that is so little valued these days. This is a must read, the sooner the better. We owe it to the future to be obsessed with the possible results of what we do with our unprecedented power. We cannot evade the imperative of resposibility.

  • Thrash Jazz Assassin
    2019-03-30 03:37

    I just wanted to insure that anyone coming across the previous review wasn't left with the impression that this book is applicable to medical ethics only. What Jonas is attempting here is broad in scope and deeply relevant. His basic thesis is that all previous ethics was based on a certain image of "man" that no longer holds. With the availability of power that technology has unleashed in the last century, our understanding of man, his place in the cosmos, and his power to effect both the present and the future has changed radically-- but our ethical theories have remained tied to an older image of a mankind much more limited in the effects of its actions.His thesis has broad and deep implications in areas ranging from medical ethics to political ideologies... there is a thought-provoking critique of "Utopianism" and its expressions both in political ideologies and our relationship to technological praxis. This critique alone is worth purchasing and reading the book. He even enters into interesting discussions such as the metaphysics of the "mind-body" problem and its ethical implications.Highly recommended reading, with a wonderful (and rare) combination of Germanic thoroughness and the clarity and elegance more typical of what comes out of English and American philosophical traditions.