SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Da spätere Menschen auf jeden Fall da sein werden, gibt ihnen, wenn es so weit ist, ihr unerbetenes Dasein das Recht, uns Frühere als Urheber ihres Unglücks zu verklagen, wenn wir durch sorgloses und vermeidbares Tun die Welt oder die menschliche Konstitution für sie verdorben haben. Während sie für ihr Dasein nur ihre direkten Erzeuger verantwortlich halten können (und auch da ein Recht zu Klage nur haben, wenn deren Recht zu Nachwuchs aus spezifischen Gründen in Frage gestellt werden kann), können sie für die Bedingungen ihres Daseins entfernte Vorfahren oder allgemeiner die Urheber dieser Bedingungen verantwortlich halten.
Because later humans will in any event be present, their unsought existence gives them the right, when things have deteriorated to that point, to raise a claim against us, their predecessors, as the source of their misfortune, to the extent that we, through thoughtless and avoidable dealings, have spoiled the world or the human constitution for them. While they can hold only those who produced them to account for their existence (and even then they have a right to complain, only when their right to progeny is placed in question for specific reasons), they are entitled to hold to account even distant ancestors or more generally those who have caused the circumstances under which they suffer for the conditions of their existence.
–Hans Jonas, Das Prinzip Verantwortung: Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation, pp. 87-88 (1984)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Amount three New York men owe in restitution for stealing rock lobsters off the coast of South Africa:
AIDS researchers were working to develop genetically modified tomatoes that naturally produce an edible HIV vaccine.
Trump said that he might not have been elected president “if it wasn’t for Twitter."
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."