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Hans Jonas And Ernst Mayr: On Organic Life And Human Responsibility

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Chapter Summary

Ernst Mayr, the evolutionary biologist and philosopher of biology, and Hans Jonas, the ethicist and philosopher of organic life, provide the opportunity of comparing two approaches to the master problem, our practical responsibilities to the human and natural world, with the promise of new and important insights. This chapter begins with Ernst Mayr and the broad strokes of his account of the Darwinian revolution in biology, which he considers so profound and far-reaching that it moves well beyond scientific theory and constitutes a genuine shift in philosophic and moral outlook, a new fundamental worldview, whether or not most of us have made this shift or adequately fleshed out its implications. In The Phenomenon of Life, Philosophical Essays, The Imperative of Responsibility, and elsewhere, Jonas critically fastens upon Descartes?s original, rigid ontological dualism of mind and matter, which exist in casual independence and splendid isolation from one another.

Keywords: Darwinian revolution; Ernst; Hans Jonas; Human Responsibility; organic life



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