December 16, 2019


The first modern ethical reflections that included moral consideration towards non-human living beings focused primarily on the issue of animal suffering and most often did not have insight into the whole width of phenomena associated with this issue. There is no significant extension of ethical reflection even in more contemporary concepts, despite some of their important contributions. Thus ethics remained within its narrow categories, most often neglecting socio-economic, ideological, and cultural contexts, which are not irrelevant at all in endeavor of responsible directing of our will and actions towards non-human living beings. Generally, ethical reflection should not neglect the various scientific and extra-scientific contributions to addressing this issue, which is adequately expressed within the concept of integrative bioethics.

Therefore, in this lecture I will outline how a complete moral consideration towards non-human living beings should look like. The basic ethical notion (which calls for a dialogue with different scientific and non-scientific perspectives) by which I will try to found this approach will be ‘self-realization’, mostly relied on Hans Jonas’ philosophical biology. I will particularly focus on the importance of examining the moral subject, i.e. the determinants that thwart their autonomy and thereby causing an irresponsible approach towards all living beings. Exactly in searching for ways to dispel these determinants one finds that such an expansion of moral issues beyond the scope of traditional ethics requires bioethics to think “outside the box,” i.e. to think utopian.

Josip Guć is an research assistant at the Centre for Integrative Bioethics, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Split, and Ph. D. student of philosophy at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. He primarily deals with bioethics, and within it with ethical foundation of moral regard towards non-human living beings and with correlation of culture and nature. He is currently preparing doctoral thesis entitled Incentives for the Bioethical Consideration of Relationship between Culture and Nature in Nikola Visković’s Work, under the mentorship of Hrvoje Jurić. With the latter he is also editing the book Nikola Visković: law – politics – bioethics. He participates in organization and presents papers at many conferences and publishes scientific papers in journals and proceedings collections. He is currently participating in the international project BEAGLE: Bioethical Education and Attitude Guidance for Living Environment (Erasmus+, K2). He is a member of the Young Editors Club of the Philosophical Research, the Croatian Bioethical Society and the Croatian Philosophical Society. He is the head of the Split Philosophical Circle (a branch of the Croatian Philosophical Society).

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