Moralische Kontextualisierung des Rechts auf Nichtwissen
The creation of synthetic life forms raises the question of what we mean when we say that a synthetic cell is “alive.” This paper analyzes the problem of aliveness both as an epistemological question (how can we know?) and as a phenomenological question (how can we perceive?). It introduces basic concepts that can be used in a phenomenological analysis of the “givenness” of life and argues that aliveness can only be seen with reference to the experiences of the observer as him/herself living. Life is therefore inherently ambiguous. When perceiving other life forms, we are aware of our own life. In order to develop a concept of the “other life” of a synthetic bacterium, we need to be aware of projecting perceptual evidence of our own life onto that of other species. The concept of “other life” can address a very basic layer: seeing another life form’s being-in-the-world as (1) a center of its own spontaneity, (2) a particular way of being in time that can be described as duration, and (3) as a system of processes that contain their own sense as practices.
This paper draws attention to the significance of the concepts used in ecological ethics to describe nature and its parts. One of those concepts is 'place'. Place is often used to appreciate the distinct dignity of a natural situation. The meaning of that concept is explained and analysed. Four elements are proposed: (i) Places have to be seen with a special subjective inclination; (ii) places are perceived as meaningful and the relation towards them is of the hermeneutic type; (iii) places appear as open textures of relationships that cannot be demarcated; (iv) places are described from within and have centres. The perception of observers lets them participate. For observers involved in the perception of places (in this sense), responsibility for the place and its inhabitants is a direct relationship of care.