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Reason And Feeling In Hans Jonas’s Existential Biology, Arne Naess’s Deep Ecology, And Spinoza’s Ethics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter elucidates Hans Jonas?s existential biology as it bears on contemporary environmental ethics and to compare it in passing with Arne Naess?s ?Deep Ecology?. This daunting task becomes somewhat manageable, or at least more neatly focused, in that both Jonas and Naess find corroboration for their views in Benedict Spinoza?s ethics demonstrated in a geometrical order. The chapter begins with a few remarks about the philosophical merits and pitfalls of environmental ethics, with a view to Jonas?s work. Pursuant to these remarks, the chapter examines how Jonas and Naess each appeal to Spinoza for support. Both see in Spinoza something of what each first came to see independently of Spinoza. The chapter concludes by pointing out the pervasive difficulty that Jonas, as well as Naess, shares with Spinoza- namely, the problematic relation between ?reason? and ?feeling?.

Keywords: Arne Naess; Benedict Spinoza?s ethics; existential biology; Hans Jonas; scientific ecology



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