Hans Jonas and the empirical turn of the philosophy of technology: notes on a dialogue with post-phenomenology

Helder Buenos Aires de Carvalho


The paper discusses the possibility of a philosophical dialogue between the postphenomenology of Don Ihde – one of the representatives of the so-called “empirical turn” of the philosophy of technology (primarily North American and Dutch) – and Hans Jonas’s philosophy of technology, itself anchored in an ontologically based ethics of responsibility. We will do this by first problematizing the criticism levelled by members of the empirical turn at Jonas as continuing the Heideggerian substantivism, and second by affirming Jonas’s concept of “heuristics of fear,” understood as a source of knowledge and persuasion, as this element of theoretical mediation, since it focuses precisely on the design of technological artifacts and their moral, social and political implications, in other words, on responsibility as a con- stitutive feature of technical creation and its uses.

Keywords: Jonas, ethics, technology, heuristics of fear, empirical turn, Don Ihde.

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