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2014 | 1 | 21-40

Article title

Gefahrenzivilisation und Schöpfung: Verantwortung neu denken – Menschenwürde neu beachten


Title variants

Hazardous Civilisation and Creation: Rethinking Responsibility – Respecting Human Dignity

Languages of publication



This article contains analyses of the concept of responsibility in the state of danger caused by damaging consequences of technological development. The inquiry – inspired by conceptions of Hans Jonas and Karl-Otto Apel but arguing in the “actual dialogic-reflexive” approach of transcendental discourse pragmatics – is concentrated on finding borders of our responsibility, for which parts of our action should we feel accountable. For this purpose seven obligations of a discourse partner are reconstructed by means of reflection on the presuppositions of arguing. These obligations have a transcendental-pragmatic status of implicit dialogic promises: They can be disregarded only at the price of a performative self-contradiction. Another problem which is stated in this paper is a question about justification for our moral obligations, including our obligations for the future generations and the problem of motivation to fulfil it. The last part of the article describes reflexive transcendentale arguments for including embryos in our concept of responsibility. Explaining some doubts about the status of embryos is also helping to understand better the way in which we should perceive the concept of responsibility itself. It should be taken into consideration that we live in times in which our knowledge about the world is not always standing up to our abilities to influence it. The authors emphasise that the article is actually a lecture, that invites to reading a transcendental pragmatic book: Böhler 2013/2014.






Physical description




  • Hans Jonas Zentrum Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Malteserstr. 74-100, Haus S, 12249 Berlin
  • Hans Jonas Zentrum Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Malteserstr. 74-100, Haus S, 12249 Berlin


  • Albert Hans, Traktat über kritische Vernunft, Tübingen 1968.
  • Apel Karl-Otto, Transformation der Philosophie, 2 Bde., Frankfurt a. M. 1973.
  • Apel Karl-Otto, Diskurs und Verantwortung. Das Problem des Übergangs zur postkonventionellen Moral. Frankfurt a. M. 1988.
  • Apel Karl-Otto, Auseinandersetzungen in Erprobung des transzendentalpragmatischen Ansatzes, Frankfurt a. M. 1998.
  • Böhler Dietrich, Verbindlichkeit aus dem Diskurs, Freiburg/München (Karl Alber) 2013.
  • 2. verb. Aufl. 2014 mit dem Untertitel: Denken und Handeln nach der Wende zur kommunikativen Ethik. Orientierung in der ökologischen Dauerkrise.
  • Brune Jens Peter, Moral und Recht. Zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und der Demokratie von Jürgen Habermas. Freiburg/München 2010.
  • Jonas Hans, Das Prinzip Verantwortung. Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation, Frankfurt/Main 1979.
  • Jonas Hans, Erkenntnis und Verantwortung. Stationen eines Denklebens: Gespräch mit Ingo Herrmann, in: Dietrich Böhler und Jens Peter Brune (Hg.), Orientierung und Verantwortung. Begegnungen und Auseinandersetzungen mit Hans Jonas, Würzburg 2004.
  • Jonas Hans, Philosophical Essays. From Ancient Creed to Technological Man, Chicago/London 1980.
  • Jonas Hans, Technik, Medizin, Ethik, Frankfurt/Main 1985.
  • Jonas Hans, Zur ontologischen Grundlegung einer Zukunftsethik, in: Philosophische Untersuchungen und metaphysische Vermutungen, Frankfurt a M. 1992, S. 128-146.
  • Kuhlmann Wolfgang, Ist eine philosophische Letztbegründung moralischer Normen möglich?, in: K. O. Apel et al. (Hg.), Funkkolleg Praktische Philosophie/Ethik: Studientexte, Bd. 2, Weinheim, Basel 1984, S. 572-605.

Document Type

Publication order reference


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