The Future of Sustainability
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The focus of the present research is not on expected developments that are by one means or another linked to the concept of sustainability and to questions, whether current sustainability-models are fit for the future, so that they can be employed as corrective or functional factors applicable to the planning and governance of predictable scenarios in the field of ecology, economy and social issues. But the focus lies on questions like: How does the concept of sustainability relate to the future? How is the future as such affected and conditioned by the concept of sustainability? To what extent is the concept of sustainability open to the future and how can the concept of sustainability conceive of something like the future? The aim of the paper is therefore to clarify and better understand what is at stake when we address a sustainable future, i.e. a future under the conditions of an economy, of a technology, of a science that is supposed to be sustainable. The paper is based on a distinction that has its part in the tradition of ethics with far-reaching consequences for what throughout this tradition was called into question – namely: the ethos (the dimension of the human being). It is the distinction between two aspirant principles. In terms of form the one allows and sustains accomplishment, whereas the other doesn't. As for the former, the reference is mainly to classical ethical positions (on the one hand Plato and Aristotle, on the other hand Kant). As for the latter – on which the focus of this research lies –, a phenomenological analysis of the concept of sustainability might help in its comprehension as well as in the understanding of the way in which we, today, by complying with it, conceive of something like an open future.