ISSN 2227-7242 (Print), ISSN 2304-9685 (Online)

Антропологічні виміри філософських досліджень, 2020, Вип. 17

Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research, 2020, NO 17



THE MAN IN TECHNOSPHERE

UDC 172

А. М. YERMOLENKO1*

1*H. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine), e-mail a_yermolenko@yahoo.de, ORCID 0000-0002-9908-6144

HUMAN CONDITION IN A GLOBALIZED

SOCIETY OF RISKS AS A SOCIAL AND

ETHICAL PROBLEM

Purpose. The study aims at thematizing social and ethical problems related to the changes of the human condition in the contemporary globalized society of risks. These risks include threats of not only physical destruction of human race, but also transformation of the natural constitution of the human being. The task of achieving this objective also includes comparative analysis of this problem in the classical and contemporary philosophical anthropology. Theoretical basis. Works of the representatives of the contemporary philosophical anthropology, including the methodology of the transcendental anthropology as discursive ethics. Originality. Contrary to the classical philosophical anthropology, which was based on the concept of the human being as "unfinished project of nature", the author suggests a concept of human being as "unfinishable project of history" which poses new requirements to the ethics both on the level of its fundamentals, and on the level of its application. Conclusions. The complex globalized world needs axiological and normative re-orientation of the society based upon universalist macroethics of discourse. This macroethics should aim at Letztbegründung of the moral and ethical imperatives for the future development of society, changes of humanity and its natural constitution.

Keywords: Anthropocene; discourse; global ethos; human condition; universalist macroethics; humans as an unfinishable project of history

Introduction

The title and content of this article have three components: the first is the "human position" as a key concept of classical philosophical anthropology – let us recall the works of H. Plessner, M. Scheler, A. Gehlen, where the "human position" is in the very titles of their works. The specific "human position" became a paradigm through which not only the human but also the extra-human world was explained. "Human position" or "human condition" is also an important marker of today’s philosophical anthropology, as evidenced in particular by the works of "Human Condition" by H. Arendt (1999), "Human Situation as a Challenge to Ethics" by K.-O. Apel (1999a) and others.

In this connection it is necessary to find out the specifics of the present human situation. And this is the second component of this article. The specifics are, first of all, that today, as never before, the "human condition" is changing so rapidly that it requires new approaches to philosophical anthropology, to social theory, and to ethics. Secondly, the very existence of man in the world, of humanity as such, is at stake. Not only is the danger of the physical destruction of humanity on a global scale as a result of nuclear, environmental, pandemic disasters, but also the destruction of man as such. This situation is linked to a "global risk society", as Ulrich Beck (2008) called it.

In turn, these risks are caused, as Niklas Luhmann showed, by the immense complexity of modern society as a system-complex, contingent formation. This complexity is a consequence of the systematic differentiation of society when each social system emerges as a self-referential social system focusing on its own system binary codes. Such complexity contains the contingencies with unforeseen consequences. Thus, today’s society is a globally complex, contingent society, with risks and threats. This diagnosis is generalized by the assertion of a new age in the history of mankind, the age of the Anthropocene, which has replaced the age of homo sapiens sapiens of the last three hundred years (Ott, 2018, p. 234).

Finally, the third component concerns ethics as a social system that needs the corresponding paradigmatic changes. Since modern society is an open system, it is too difficult to predict the ways in which it will develop compared to closed societies. This means that humanity can survive by turning first to moral values as a deterrent to the expansion of the subsystem of purposeful rational action and the milestones of its further development. "The ultimately unleashed Prometheus to whom science is giving hitherto unknown strengths and economics’ unresting drive calls for ethics" – thus begins the book "The Imperative of Responsibility" by Hans Jonas (2001, p. 7)– the protagonist of ethics for modern technological civilization. Thus, the threatening situation calls for new approaches to ethics, which are denoted by concepts such as "global ethos" (Küng, 1997), universalistic planetary macroethics of discourse (К.-О. Apel, 1999b, 2017), "ethics of global responsibility for the future" (Böhler, 2014). This situation places new demands not only for justification of ethics but also for its application.

Purpose

The study aims at thematizing social and ethical problems related to the changes of the human condition in the contemporary globalized society of risks. These risks include threats of not only physical destruction of human race, but also transformation of its natural constitution. The task of achieving this objective also includes comparative analysis of this problem in the classical and contemporary philosophical anthropology, the application of moral imperatives in applied ethics.

Statement of basic materials

Exploring the issues of "human condition" or "human situation", the question arises about the specificity of the human situation today? A preliminary answer to this question can be found in Gunther Anders’ (1956, p. 239) book, Antiquity of Man. Antiquity is that the biological constitution of man is out-dated. The person is not able to respond to changes that are happening in the modern world. Let us recall that one of the foundations of classical philosophical anthropology was the assertion of the biological constitution of man as an unfinished project of nature. This determines his specificity and unique position in the world. This approach becomes a paradigm in the interpretation and social world of man.

In his turn, ethologist Jakob von Uexküll introduced many concepts that were later borrowed by representatives of philosophical anthropology. Through the mentioned book by Anders, they got into philosophy and social theory. And thanks to Apel’s (1999a) work, "Human Situation as a Challenge to Ethics", they reached ethics as well. First of all, I refer to concepts such as "world of perception" (Merkwelt) and "world of action" (Wirkwelt). Meanwhile, in animal world, the "world of action" coincides with their "world of perception", the "world of action" of people goes beyond their "world of perception". The total expansion of a person is accompanied by the increased contingency of the social world and the decreased possibility of its control. The overwhelming volume of everything created by man transforms the world into a complex and contingent one that is not perceived (not "noticed") by human feelings, as it is not already grasped by our mind. G. Anders (1956) diagnosed this situation as a "Prometheus Controversy" between homo faber and homo sapiens (p. 239).

This situation, therefore, is related to the complexity of the created social world in all its spheres – economics, science, technology and more. This means that these spheres go beyond human lifeworld. The radius of human action is both spatially and temporally incommensurable with his lifeworld. In particular, the sphere of economy in the process of globalization is losing its home (oikos), and speculative capital is expanding its destructive potential. In particular, this made itself felt in the 2008 global financial crisis, from which humanity has not recovered yet. Such a "roulette game" or "casino-capitalism" by the title of the book of Western researchers "The end of casino-capitalism?" (Das Ende des Kasino-Kapitalismus? Globalisierung und Krise, 2009). I should note: the question mark here is rhetorical. In addition, the crisis of such a capitalist casino poses the dangers of ideological regression, in particular to the communist worldview. For example, the famous postmodern philosopher Gianni Vattimo (2009), in the article "Postmodern Communism" in this volume, writes: "it is absolutely true: as a philosopher of "weak thought" and as a Christian, I had to become a communist again" (transl. by A. Y.) (p. 239).

The concepts of science are becoming more abstract, they are no longer related to the imagery and sensuality of the human lifeworld. They are increasingly rationalized, quantified and formalized, reflecting abstract laws of nature. Understanding this world requires abstract concepts, formalized definitions, and quantitative relationships. The technique has long lost its correlation with the human hand, which had already been fixed by A. Gehlen. This is especially true for nanotechnologies that are no longer tied to the human biological constitution. The latter even interferes with their functioning. These technologies also need ethics, so nanoethics is emerging (Schummer, 2009).

One of the paradigmatic themes in philosophical anthropology, as noted, is the theme of human natural constitution. Classical philosophical anthropology was grounded in the idea of the ontological invariability of human nature. This idea defined the ideological and methodological functions of philosophical anthropology in the social sciences and applied anthropological research. An example of classical philosophical anthropology is Arnold Gehlen’s conception of the ontologically given natural constitution of man as an insufficient being. Accordingly, Gehlen created the theory of social institutions that perform the function of "unloading" (Entlastung).

However, since the second half of the twentieth century, this concept has been called into question. In particular, Jürgen Habermas (1973) refutes the proposition of the invariable human nature, proposing the historicity of human nature: "Humans live and act only in specific lifeworlds, in their society, not "in" the world as such" (transl. by A. Y.) (p. 107). Moreover, in Habermas’s (1973) view, "the "ontological" content of traditional anthropology also has political implications, even more dangerous in combination with "value-neutral" science" (p. 108). Since then, it is no longer about the invariable natural constitution of man as an "insufficient being" and "unfinished project of nature", but about the human nature as an open project of history. In pursuit of Habermas, I propose the idea of "man as an unfinishable project of history", using the term "unfinishable" in the wake of Richard Münch. Note that, in contrast to the Habermas concept of "modernity as an unfinished project" (unvollendetes Projekt), Münch (1995) applies the concept of "modernity as an unfinishable project" (unvollendbares Projekt) (p. 151). Changing the suffix means that this project cannot be completed in principle. However, such incompleteness of human development requires new approaches to determine the milestones of such development. Let us return to A. Gehlen to determine how such milestones should be formed.

Although Gehlen considered work and language as the factors of human genesis, his anthropology lacked the idea of the meta-institution of discourse. Discourse is not one of the possible institutions, it is a meta-institution to which all other institutions must submit.

Gehlen de-transcends the 'transcendental', lowering it from the 'sky' of the spirit to the 'ground' of social institutions. This is another trend of modern philosophy, to which functional-system theory, transcendental pragmatics and other directions belong. However, Gehlen lacks the idea of a self-reflective institution, an idea that, at least in modern society, is a secular form of institution legitimation, reaching a radical manifestation of the idea of discourse developed by different schools of philosophy, including transcendental pragmatics. Transcendental pragmatics, in contrast to the Gehlen’s anthropology, 're-transcends the transcendental', returning it to the 'virtual sky' of the meta-institution of discourse. It is in this direction that the transcendental anthropology of discourse develops. (transl. by A. Y.) (Yermolenko, 2013, p. 16)

Thus, the current trend is the tendency to move from classical anthropology to anthropology of discourse, which is at the same time a transcendental anthropology. This is where I use Marcel Niquet’s (2002) work "Human Identities. From Classical Philosophical Anthropology to Discourse Anthropology". Discourse anthropology is the anthropology of intersubjectivity, according to which a person is inherently a discursive being, homo discursivus.

In the end, this fact also influences the traditional lines of philosophy. For example, the existentialist problem is shifting towards intersubjectivity, particularly in the inter-existential concept of Thomas Rentsch (1990). Such a turn occurs in economic theory, in particular in the series of editions of the Ethics and Economics Dialogue by Berlin’s transcendental pragmatics (D. Böhler, G. Gronke, etc.). Communicative pedagogy paves the way, particularly in the project "Ethics and Pedagogy Dialogue" of the same Berlin school (Böhler-Auras, 2000). In the environmental sciences, it is the transition from the concept of "environment" to the concept of "the world as a community" (Meyer-Abich, 2004). In the social sciences, this tendency is manifested in the search for ways of discourse-ethical justification of social theory (К.-О. Apel, 1998, p. 395).

These trends are also evident in applied anthropological disciplines, in particular, in solving problems of gene technologies, cloning, preimplantation genetic diagnostics, etc. To what extent can man take his own natural evolution under his own control and control it? And will this not put an end to the existence of human natural constitution, and therefore to the existence of man himself? These issues are not only of moral and ethical importance, but also of legal and socio-political significance. The main thing is: how much can artificially created people be human? It is also a question of the relationship between "natural" and "artificial" people, the symmetry of their rights. Since the violation of this symmetry calls into question the institutions of Western democracy, which are based on the principle of natural rights.

In addition, the improvement of "human nature" upbears one of the most fundamental pillars of ethics, namely, the principle of freedom. As the position by which a person can be constructed purposefully casts doubt on a person’s conviction and responsibility. Let us suppose that a person’s genetic code is a "book" in which all his or her qualities are "written". If this book is “rewritten”, then it seems that all, including social, human qualities can be formed. However, such "editing" would allow the realization of new utopias of social construction of man ("superhuman") with the corresponding qualities, properties and abilities. H. Jonas opposes this, putting forward the ethics of "principle of responsibility" in opposition to the utopia of E. Bloch’s "principle of hope". Jonas insists on the inadmissibility of genetic-technological interference with human nature, since our natural constitution is an ontological heritage we have inherited from entire previous evolution.

Another way of arguing against genetic interference with human nature is suggested by J. Habermas (1998) on the pages of one of the essays in the Postnational Constellation: "I believe", says Habermas, "that universalist principles of egalitarian law imply only such decisions (Entscheidungskompetenzen) that comply with mutual respect for the equal autonomy of every citizen" (transl. by A. Y.) (p. 249). In my opinion, the principle of universalisation, which was reconstructed on the basis of the communicative paradigm, is the only able to guide the way in solving this problem. The principle of universalization is the basis for the principle of discourse through which the norms and practices of human activity are legitimized. Appropriate assessment also applies to preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which, according to Habermas, will lead to the fact that gene programming will violate the foundations of a democratic society based on equal rights by nature.

However, such a position of Habermas does not conform to his original principle of "decide by yourself" without using ontological, naturalistic and religious grounds.

The fact is that 'natural birth' only in appearance forms the basis for symmetry. In fact, people are born unequal by nature, and such inequality forms the basis for the asymmetry of interpersonal relationships and social relations. The concept of 'equality by nature' emerges as a manifestation only when there is involved the concept of equality as a regulatory idea counterfactual with respect to 'inequality by nature'. Therefore, symmetry is a regulatory idea that causes a society to move to a state in which it becomes possible, never totally fulfilling in empirical society. Therefore, an appeal to a 'birth in an unnatural way' can hardly be grounds for denying eugenics or cloning; moreover, it will be contrary to the requirement to "decide by yourself". (transl. by A. Y.) (Yermolenko, 2013, p. 24)

Moreover, the processes of development of science and technology can hardly be stopped.

Then the more important issue is not about permitting or banning such technologies, but about coexistence with 'new people' and the possibility of reaching an understanding with them. This, in turn, means that we, as humans, have to defend our own dignity and our own rights, including the right to our own bodily identity. So we will also have to negotiate with the creatures if they are smart. Thus, the concept of 'birth in an unnatural way' is unlikely to threaten the institutions of a democratic society. (Yermolenko, 2013, p. 25)

Therefore, it is not nature that must decide, neither tradition nor God. We alone are responsible for these decisions. After all, this extraordinary burden of responsibility is hard to sustain for a single person. This burden can only be borne together with other people as a shared discursive responsibility. Such joint responsibility does not contradict the individual one, it complements, "removes" it. After all, responsibility to oneself is the basis for shared responsibility, and shared responsibility is already contained in responsibility to oneself (D. Apel, 2019, p. 7). This is an identified responsibility, where everyone, along with others, is responsible for certain actions, both for his or her actions and for the community as a whole. Such responsibility is not limited to the ethics of institutions, as by A. Gehlen. Institutions themselves must be legitimized by a higher authority, which is the meta-institution of discourse. This requirement also applies to the discourse-ethical legitimation of social institutions at the global level ("second-order globalization") (К.-О. Apel, 2017, p. 66). The pandemic situation testifies to the unity of the world, which requires the coordinated action of global institutions. Global institutions, legitimized by universalistic ethics of discourse, are an important factor in addressing global problems, particularly in the situation of a pandemic.

Thus, modern philosophical anthropology must take into account the factors associated with the new "human condition" in the globalized world, defined by the concept of "man as an unfinishable project of history", when man takes control of the further evolution of sapient life on the Earth. However, in what way this process will take place, we will have to decide by ourselves through argumentative discourse based on the regulatory principle of transcendental communication. It is a way of rational ultimate justification (Letztbegründung) of the value orientations and moral norms, as well as the legitimation of global institutions for the modern high-tech civilization.

Originality

Contrary to the classical philosophical anthropology, which was based on the concept of the human being as "unfinished project of nature", the author suggests a concept of human being as "unfinishable project of history" which poses new requirements to the ethics both on the level of its fundamentals, and on the level of its application.

Conclusions

The complex globalized world needs axiological and normative re-orientation of the society based upon universalist macroethics of discourse. This macroethics should aim at Letztbegründung of the moral and ethical imperatives for the future development of society, changes of humanity and its natural constitution.

References

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Yermolenko, A. M. (2013). Metaantropolohiia transtsendentalnoho dyskursu v prykladnykh antropolohichnykh doslidzhenniakh. Zbirnyk naukovykh prats: Filosofsko-antropolohichni studii’ 2013, 14-31. (in Ukranian)

LIST OF REFERENCE LINKS

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Apel K.-O. Die transzendental-pragmatische Begründung der ethischen Grundnormen und іhr Verhältnis zu den kritisch-rekonstruktiven Sozialwissenschaften. Sprachtheorie und transzendentale Sprachpragmatik zur Frage ethischer Normen. Auseinandersetzungen in Erprobung des transzendentalpragmatischen Ansatzes. Frankfurt am Main : Suhrkamp Verlag, 1998.

Апель К.-О. Ситуація людини як етична проблема / пер. з нім. А. Єрмоленка. Комунікативна практична філософія : підручник. Київ : Лібра, 1999. C. 231–254.

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А. М. ЄРМОЛЕНКО1*

1*Інститут філософії імені Г. С. Сковороди, Національна академія наук України (Київ, Україна), ел. пошта a_yermolenko@yahoo.de, ORCID 0000-0002-9908-6144

СИТУАЦІЯ ЛЮДИНИ В ГЛОБАЛІЗОВАНОМУ

СУСПІЛЬСТВІ РИЗИКІВ ЯК СОЦІАЛЬНО-ЕТИЧНА

ПРОБЛЕМА

Мета. Дослідження спрямовано на тематизацію соціально-етичних проблем, пов’язаних зі змінами ситуації людини в сучасному глобалізованому суспільстві ризиків, що містить у собі загрози не тільки фізичного знищення людства, а й трансформації природної конституції людини як такої. Досягнення мети передбачає також порівняльний аналіз цієї проблематики в класичній та сучасній філософській антропології. Теоретичний базис складають праці представників сучасної філософської антропології, зокрема методологія трансцендентальної антропології як дискурсивної етики. Наукова новизна. На противагу класичній філософській антропології, яка спиралась на концепт "людини як незавершеного проєкту природи", автором запропоновано концепт "людини як незавершуваного проєкту історії", що висуває нові вимоги до етики як у площині обґрунтування, так і в площині застосування. Висновки. Складний глобалізований світ потребує ціннісно-нормативної переорієнтації суспільства на засадах універсалістської макроетики дискурсу, спрямованої на граничне обґрунтування морально-етичних імперативів для подальшого розвитку суспільства, змін людини та її природної конституції.

Ключові слова: антропоцен; дискурс; глобальний етос; "ситуація людини"; універсалістська макроетика; людина як незавершуваний проєкт історії

А. Н. ЕРМОЛЕНКО1*

1*Институт философии имени Г. С. Сковороды, Национальная академия наук Украины (Киев, Украина), эл. почта a_yermolenko@yahoo.de, ORCID 0000-0002-9908-6144

СИТУАЦИЯ ЧЕЛОВЕКА В

ГЛОБАЛИЗИРОВАННОМ ОБЩЕСТВЕ РИСКОВ КАК

СОЦИАЛЬНО-ЭТИЧЕСКАЯ ПРОБЛЕМА

Цель. Исследование направлено на тематизацию социально-этических проблем, связанных с изменением ситуации человека в современном глобализованном обществе рисков, чреватым угрозами не только физического уничтожения человечества, но и трансформации конституции человека как такового. Достижение цели предполагает сравнительный анализ этой проблематики в классической и современной философской антропологии. Теоретический базис составляют работы представителей современной философской антропологии, в частности методология трансцендентальной антропологии как дискурсивной этики. Научная новизна. В противовес классической философской антропологии, которая опиралась на концепт "человека как незавершенного проекта природы", автором предложено концепт "человека как незавершающегося проекта истории", что выдвигает новые требования к этике и в плоскости обоснования, и в плоскости применения. Выводы. Сложный глобализованный мир требует ценносно-нормативной переориентации общества на основе универсалистской макроэтики дискурса, направленной на предельное обоснование морально-этических императивов для дальнейшего развития общества, изменений человека и его природной конституции.

Ключевые слова: антропоцен; дискурс; глобализованное общесто; глобальный этос; "ситуация человека"; универсалистская макроэтика; человек как незавершающийся проект истории

Received: 02.12.2019

Accepted: 06.05.2020

CПрямая соединительная линия 18reative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

doi: 10.15802/ampr.v0i17.206724
© А. М. Yermolenko, 2020



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