Hans Jonas

From Academic Kids

German-born philosopher Hans Jonas (may 10 1903 - February 5 1993) studied under Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann in the 1920s. In 1933 he emigrated to England; in 1935 he went to Palestine, in 1949 to Canada. In 1955 he took up lecturing in New York.

He is best known for his influential work The Imperative of Responsibility (German 1979, English 1984). His work centers on social and ethical problems created by technology. Jonas insists that human survival depends on our efforts to care for our planet and its future. Following Kant, he worded a new imperative of responsibility, "Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of genuine human life".

He has also written extensively on Gnosticism, for which he is almost equally well known, interpreting the religion from an existentialist philosophical viewpoint.

Jonas' philosophy was influenced by the process philosophy and process theology of Alfred North Whitehead.


Jonas was born in Mönchengladbach may 10 1903. He studied philosophy and theology in Freiburg, Berlin and Heidelberg, and finally achieved his Doctor of Philosophy at Marburg where he studied for Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann. In Marburg he met Hannah Arendt who was also pursuing her PhD there, and the two of them were to be friends for the rest of their lives.

In 1933, Heidegger joined the German Nazi party, which Jonas took personally as he was of Jewish descent. He left Germany for England the same year, and from England he moved to Palestine, 1934. There he met Lore Weiner, whom he engaged. 1940 he returned to Europe to join the British Army, who had been arranging a special brigade for German Jews wanting to fight against Hitler. He was sent to Italy, and from there he wrote several letters to Lore about philosophy as well as love. They finally married in 1943.

After the war he returned to Mönchengladbach to search for his mother, but found that she had been sent to the gas chambers in Auschwitz concentration camp. He then returned to Palestine and took part in Israel's war against the Arabic states in 1948. In 1950 he left for Canada and from there to New York in 1955 where he was to live for the rest of his life. He worked for New School of Social Research 1955 to 1976 and died in New York on February 5th, 1993.


  • Hans Jonas: Gnosis und spätantiker Geist (1-2, 1934-1954)
  • Hans Jonas: The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology (1966)
  • Hans Jonas: The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of Ethics for the Technological Age (1979) ISBN 0226405974
  • Hans Jonas: The Phenomenon of Life: Toward a Philosophical Biology (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) (1979) ISBN 0810117495
  • Hans Jonas: The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God & the Beginnings of Christianity (1979) ISBN 0807058017
  • Hans Jonas: On Technology, Medicine and Ethics (1985)

External link

de:Hans Jonas it:Hans Jonas nn:Hans Jonas fr:Hans Jonas


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools