The « Imperative of Responsibility » According to Hans Jonas

Yolanda ZIAKA, October 2015

In his book « The Imperative of Responsibility, » published in 1979, the German philosopher Hans Jonas pleads for the extreme emergency to give ourselves an ethics for technological civilization based on « the imperative of responsibility. » Written in the 1970s, Hans Jonas’s theory on the need of an ethics based on the principle of responsibility is more than ever current. Hans Jonas, although indicating the only possible way to solving the global challenges, ethics, does not tell us how to get there. We would say that awareness raising and becoming aware, therefore an educational effort, could provide the foundations for the indispensable change in attitudes and behavior. However, the emergency of the challenges we are facing today requires setting up a democratic political project, yet to be invented.

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Jonas Hans, Le Principe Responsabilité, Les Editions du Cerf, 1990