On the obsolescence of human beings in sustainable development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Ulrike Ehgartner
  • Patrick Gould
  • Marc Hudson

Abstract

In 1956, the Jewish-German philosopher Günther Anders developed a philosophical anthropology on the technological and moral challenges of his time. Anders suggested the societal changes that arose with the industrial age opened a gap between the capability of individuals to produce machines and their ability to imagine and deal with the consequences caused by this capability. He argues that a ‘Promethean gap’ manifests in academic and scientific thinking and leads to an extensive trivialization of societal issues. In the face of climate change, Anders’ philosophical anthropology contributes substantially to our attempts to fight climate change with innovation. Anders' description of ‘apocalyptic blindness’ helps us to explain why we cannot help pairing our belief in historical progress and growth with our ideas on social and environmental justice. With that said, this paper contributes to the debate on humanity ‘after sustainability’ by calling to mind Anders’ historical theory on the outdatedness of humankind and his thoughts on our lack of imagination.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-83
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal Discourse
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date18 Apr 2017
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017