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Volume 7, 2018

Ethics and Interdependence

Jayne Svenungsson
Pages 35-47

Interdependence and the Biblical Legacy of Anthropocentrism
On Human Destructiveness and Human Responsibility

This article engages with the biblical legacy of anthropomorphism from a contemporary perspective. First, it revisits the biblical creation myth and questions the deeply ingrained notion that what it offers is an account of ‘creation out of nothingness.’ Second, this rereading is followed by a closer look at how this particular theology was elaborated by Hans Jonas in his philosophy of life. In the final part of the paper, Jonas’s philosophy of responsibility is linked to a reflection on humanity’s unique capacity for destruction and self-destruction. Contrary to much of contemporary posthumanism, it is argued that a recognition of the interdependence between the human and the non-human worlds must never be a matter of erasing the distinction between them, since such a blurring of distinctions runs the risk of overshadowing the uniqueness of human destructiveness and thereby of undermining a serious discussion of human responsibility.

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