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Spät, Patrick

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Der Standard - Austria | 13/04/2011

Patrick Spät on the failure to assist nature

Humanity has been playing with fire regarding the nuclear catastrophe in Japan and has in general sided against nature, writes Patrick Spät in the daily Der Standard. But philosopher Hans Jonas' book The Imperative of Responsibility can help set us straight, Spät is convinced: "When we see someone in distress, the situation demands that we do everything possible to help this person. Anyone who shirks this responsibility is accused of 'failure to render assistance'. But as things stand the nature we have ravaged is clearly in such distress. Humanity is collectively guilty of failure to render assistance. If nature had a voice it would press multiple charges against us. Jonas' philosophy culminates in the formulation of an extended categorical imperative: 'Act in such a way that your action is compatible with the permanence of human life on earth.' Clip it out, hang it up, and take it to heart! This imperative should accompany the global debate on nuclear technology."

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