Th e importance of Charles Darwin‘s theory for Fritz Jahr‘s conception of bioethics
Fritz Jahr is a pioneer of bioethics. In this article I will present and outline Jahr’s bioethical
programme with a special emphasis on Charles Darwin’s role in Jahr’s ethics. According to
Jahr, useful and effi cient animal protection can only be practised well if we have enough
knowledge of nature. Jahr refers to Darwin who revolutionised our view of life and of the
relationship between the human being and the rest of living nature. In the fi rst introductory
section I will shortly present Jahr’s overall perspective and his bioethical imperative. I will also
give a very short sketch of today’s bioethics. In the second and third section I will outline Darwin’s
revolutionary theory and its application to the human being. I will also present some of
the reactions of his contemporaries which refl ect Darwin’s achievement for our understanding
of living nature. In the fourth section I will go back to Fritz Jahr and will present and discuss
diff erent aspects of his approach in more detail. A fi nal quotation from Hans Jonas about the
dialectical character of Darwinism will trenchantly highlight Darwin’s importance for Fritz
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