Existence and Ethical Responsibility at H. Jonas: Necessity and Contingency

Authors : Ekila Tshanga Tshanga Wilfried B.

Volume/Issue : Volume 8 - 2023, Issue 8 - August

Google Scholar : https://bit.ly/3TmGbDi

Scribd : https://tinyurl.com/mvdjxaps

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8340439

For Jonas, existence is the necessary condition for accountability. Before assuming any responsibility, you must exist. But this necessary condition is not sufficient; hence the contingency of existence as a condition of being responsible. Through this, we show that there are other conditions besides the mere fact of existence that make one responsible or not. According to Mr. Jonas’s words as revealed in The Principle of Responsibility, it is clear that one of the important or even necessary conditions for being responsible is the fact of existing. Only the one who exists, that is, the one who acts on himself, on the surrounding world, on other beings, and whose actions have consequences that can ensure that responsibility is assigned to him, can claim responsibility. Reading Jonas reveals that responsibility or being responsible also requires something other than the mere fact of existence. To be sure, existence is a necessary fact, a prerequisite for liability, but it is not a sufficient condition for holding someone accountable. If so, what are the other conditions that make one liable and what makes one so that despite the fact that one exists, one is under the responsibility of another person or one is deprived of responsibility? In this context, we wish to set out two facts that indelibly mark the fact of being responsible in the Jonassian conception. The first is the one that deals with the necessity of existence as a condition of being responsible. The second shows that the mere fact of existing, although necessary, is not sufficient for us to be said to be responsible; that is why we are talking about contingency. For, although we exist, becoming responsible or being responsible requires fulfilling other conditions. Mere existence is no longer the only condition for being called responsible. To exist as a necessity of being responsible is revealed in four ways, namely the awareness of existing as a condition of responsibility, the importance of taking into account all aspects of reality for a global responsibility, the imperative of existence as the guarantor of accepting responsibility and the pre-eminence of the idea of being on nothing and the individual as the basis of the relationship of existence and responsibility. After the first bullet points out the need to exist to be responsible, the second bullet points to being struck by the minority, whether it is in the infant or in the people, as a cause that prevents someone from being responsible despite the fact of existing. As a result, this cause renders existence not sufficient to be responsible.Having said that, there are two points. The first point shows that responsibility is linked to existence. The second reveals the conditions that deprive someone of responsibility, when they are not fulfilled.

Keywords : Existence, responsibility, ethics, necessity, contingency, minority.


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