A formulation of Jonsian metabolic ontology and an argument for technology as an ectosomatic metabolite



Schneider, Adam T.

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University of Guelph


This thesis investigates Hans Jonas's philosophical biology. Jonas's project is to overcome mind/nature dualism that he argues is responsible for an impoverished understanding of organic existence and our despoliation of the environment. His solution is a rich, existential interpretation of the biological facts, and he shows that mind and freedom are continuous with life. I derive a more precise formulation of Jonas's metabolic ontology and show that upon closing the dualism between mind and nature, Jonas opens up another between humanity and technology. After deriving a new formulation of his ontology, I argue that technological activity is an ectosomatic form of metabolism. I conclude by suggesting that this view has strong implications for Jonas's conceptions of technology and environmental ethics.



Hans Jonas, philosophical biology, metabolic ontology, ectosomatic metabolite, technology