Between Timelessness and History: The Image of the Human Being in Hans Jonas’ Ethics.
This essay offers a contribution to the inquiry into the notion of image of the human being in Hans Jonas’ ethics. More specifically, passages from Das Prinzip Verantwortung and Technik, Medezin und Ethik are discussed to shed light on the complex temporal character that the image exhibits, stretched between the atemporality of what is equal to itself and the vulnerability that is distinctive of historical time. Particular attention is dedicated to the fact that Jonas depicts the image as cross-cutting usual dichotomies such as temporal and timeless, permanent and changing, historical and non-historical – perhaps even transcendent and immanent. Albeit within its limits, the present work identifies the paradoxical temporal character of the image and, in so doing, points to a middle way between essentialism and relativism that may help rethink the relation between ethical values and historical time.