The Concept of Organism in the Philosophy of Hans Jonas


The current philosophy of biology, having overcome reductionist temptations, has focused its attention on the concept of organism. Hans Jonas’ thought will be useful in this new context, since it deals with this concept in a profound way. From this conviction, the present text intends to explore precisely the notion of organism in Jonas’ work. To do this, I will begin by exposing the motivations that lead the author towards the concept of organism (section 1). He turns to it as a way out of the dualistic difficulties that, in his opinion, threatened to suffocate philosophical research. In a second step, I will specifically present the idea of ​​organism that Jonas proposes with its most conspicuous features, among them, a close link with the notion of metabolism (section 2). After that, I will look for the connections of the concept of organism with other areas of Jonas’ thought: ontology, anthropology, ethics and theology (section 3). I will then outline some criticisms on Jonas’s ideas, especially regarding the application of the term “freedom” to organisms, as well as the absence of references to biological reproduction (section 4), and end with a concluding summary (section 5).
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