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Der Sinn des Scheiterns

Zurück zum Heft: Zeitschrift für Kulturphilosophie 2023/2: Scheitern
DOI: 10.28937/9783787346325_3
EUR 16,90

The article sketches two accounts of failure. On a broadly Aristotelian view, failure is conceived as the privation of success; on a view I call existential failure, failure and the capacity to begin anew are seen as explanatorily more basic than success. I distinguish three types of existential failure with regard to (i) individual existence, (ii) a cultural system, (iii) humanity as a whole. While the senses in which agents fail are different on each case, an underlying feature of failing in its different instances is its indirect affirmation of human freedom. To be free is to be capable of failure. I conclude by contrasting these two accounts with the scenario of human extinction. Is it a failure if our species ceases to exist? Drawing on Hans Jonas, I argue that here the contrast between excess and failure returns in a different form.