A Philosophically Based Inquiry into the Nature of Communicating Humans

Authored by: Wayne Woodward

The Routledge Handbook of Mass Media Ethics

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138681323
eBook ISBN: 9781315545929
Adobe ISBN:


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The writings of philosopher Hans Jonas provide a framework for philosophical inquiry into the nature of humans communicating, an undertaking that requires interrelating natural processes with cultural practices. Jonas contended that augmentations of human power in the modern technological age require a new ethics that addresses the outsized technical capacities humans have attained, ideally to embody good more actively but also, and observably, to inflict harm more negligently. Jonas integrated a comprehensive theory of the organism with an ethics of technological intervention, and points the way towards positioning human communication within a larger philosophical project based in the imperative of responsibility towards the other, which should include natural “others” as well as human entities and systems. Emmanuel Levinas’ ethics provide an additional guide for comprehending the receptive as well as the productive dimensions of communicative action, especially in this high-tech era.

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