The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology

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Northwestern University Press, 2001 - Philosophy - 303 pages
A classic of phenomenology and existentialism, The Phenomenon of Life sets forth a systematic and comprehensive philosophy--an existential interpretation of biological facts laid out in support of his claim that the mind is prefigured throughout organic existence. Hans Jonas shows how life-forms present themselves on an ascending scale of perception and freedom of action, a scale reaching its apex in a human being's capacity for thought and morally responsible behavior.

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User Review  - unclecharny - LibraryThing

So far this book has been too much work for what its worth. Jonas is very often repetitive without much corresponding increase in clarity, insight, and, or information. The writing is needlessly dense, probably even considering that it is German translated to English. Read full review


First Essay Life Death and the Body in the Theory of Being
Second Essay Philosophical Aspects of Darwinism
Third Essay Is God a Mathematician? The Meaning
On the Animal Soul
A Critique
A Study in the
Seventh Essay Imagemaking and the Freedom of Man
Transition From Philosophy of the Organism to the
Ninth Essay Gnosticism Existentialism and Nihilism
Tenth Essay Heidegger and Theology
Eleventh Essay Immortality and the Modern Temper
Epilogue Nature and Ethics

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About the author (2001)

HANS JONAS (1903-1993) was a German Jew, pupil of Heidegger and Bultmann, lifelong friend and colleague of Hannah Arendt at the New School for Social Research, and one of the most prominent thinkers of his generation. The range of his topics never obscures their unifying thread: that our mortality is at the root of our moral responsibility to safeguard humanity's future. Mortality and Morality both consummates and demonstrates the basic thrust of Jonas's thought: the inseparability of ethics and metaphysics, the reality of values at the center of being.

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