Hosei Erasmus Mundus Program Euro Pholosophy

Hosei Erasmus Mundus Program, Euro Pholosophy - Over the two academic years 2008-9 and 2009-10 at Hosei University, classes for the first semester of "Euro Philosophy", an EU Erasmus Mundus Master Program, have taken the form of one-month intensive lecture series. This is the first instance in Japan of administering such a large-scale intensive lecture series within the Erasmus Mundus Master Program.

Report

Student Workshop (University of Tokyo) (2012)

A workshop was run by the students on 2 June in the 2F staffroom of Hobun II Building, Faculty of Literature, University of Tokyo (Hongo Campus).

4 students from Europe and 4 students from Japan made a total of 8 presenters, and the meeting proceeded with students in all roles including Chair.

There was rich variety in the subject matter handled - unlimited by era, or east or west - from the contemporary French philosophy of H. Bergson (1859-1941), M. Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), E. Lévinas (1906-1995), J. Derrida (1930-2004) and P. Ricoeur (1913-2005), to the German philosophy of Hegel and Husserl, and even Zhuangzi of China. Lively discussion then developed that far exceeded the allocated time.

This workshop, in its enabling of same-generation university students of many nationalities to present and debate on self-chosen themes, put into practice the fundamental idea of the program: "Mobility". We are planning to encourage research exchange between students through the workshop on this program for next year and thereafter.


Student presentation
Meeting room

Scene of Classes : Number 12 (2012)

Professor Tetsuya KONO of Rikkyo University gave a series of 3 lectures.

The theme of the lectures was "Phenomenology and Philosophy of the Mind".

First to be raised was the case of American psychologist, J.J. Gibson. Explanation was given to Gibson's standpoint of "A Theory of Direct Visual Perception" and to the notion at the center of it of "affordance", based mainly on his work, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (1979). Discussion further focussed on how such issues as "Ecology" and "Environment" are handled in Gibson.

We were then provided with commentary on the notion of "The Extended Mind" that was proposed by Andy Clark and David Chalmers. From the standpoint of "The Extended Mind", when considering the human mind, the relationship between the body and the environment cannot be severed. It was suggested that this is in line with Gibson's argument, and that Gibson's "Ecological Psychology" can be considered a forerunner of "The Extended Mind".

The lectures centred round an explanation of Gibson's notion of "affordance" that points to the character of the environment relating to the action of animals. We also learnt that this ideology is applied to present-day society in such forms as "Universal Design".


Professor Tetsuya KONO

Scene of Classes : Number 11 (2012)

A series of 3 lectures was given by Professor Osamu KANAMORI of the University of Tokyo.

The theme of the lectures was "Epistemology in 20th Century Japan". Firstly, attention was brought to Hashida Kunihiko, physiologist representative of the Taisho era (1912-26). Hashida had great respect for Dôgen (1200-1253), and understood science as a religious practice. His scientific works such as Principle of Physiology (1923) were introduced, whilst explanation was given to the relationship of science and Zen, and the idea of "the science of Gyo" in reference to his ideological background of "physiological holism".

Next, we were familiarised with "Overcoming Moderntiy", a symposium held by 13 critics that featured in a special issue of war-time Japanese arts journal, Literary World. The theories of renowned contemporary thinkers - Kobayashi Hideo (1902-1983), Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990), Kameï Katsuichirô (1907-1966), Yoshimitsu Yoshihiko (1904-1945) - were introduced, and then a detailed explanation given of the "machinism" of another among them, Shimomura Toratarô (1902-1995).

Lastly, our attention was brought to post-war Japanese scientific philosopher, Ômori Shôzô (1921-1997). His unique monism, based on the concept of "Tachiarawaré" developed in Objects and Mind (1976), and also his time theory, central to Time and Self (1992), were explained. "The past and dreams in the creation of language", to be found in this latter work, was introduced through Professor Kanamori's own translation into French.

These lectures were of great interest, from a political as well as historical point of view, in their tracing of the progress of war-time Japanese history of thought.


Professor Osamu KANAMORI

Scene of Classes : Number 10 (2012)

A series of 3 lectures was given by Professor Yasuhiko MURAKAMI of the University of Osaka.

The theme of the lectures was "Phenomenology in Qualitative Research", and discussion was based on analysis of interviews held with nurses and midwives by Professor Murakami himself, with reference to E. Husserl (1859-1938), M. Heidegger (1889-1976), E. Lévinas (1906-1995) and H. Maldiney (1912-).

Conversation held with nurses involved in terminal cancer patient care and with midwives involved in abortions was analysed. The main concern was the search for a phenomenological structure within the issue of how to communicate with dying people or the dead. Several phenomenological notions such as "Sein-zum-tode (Being-toward-death)" and "Urstiftung (Foundation)" were placed in real instances, and the task was undertaken to give them new meanings. The method of these lectures - a confrontation between medical scene and phenomenology - was extremely impressive.


Professor Yasuhiko MURAKAMI

Scene of Classes : Number 9 (2012)

Professor Hisashi FUJITA of Kyushu Sangyo University gave a series of 3 lectures.

Theme on this occasion was "Introduction to the Philosophy of Bergson: through Confrontation with Lévinas and Deleuze".

At the start of lectures, a handout was distributed entitled "Matter and
Memory
in Bergson and Lévinas", and focus was brought to H. Bergson (1859-1941) and E. Lévinas (1906-1995).

Firstly, it was shown how in his early period Lévinas formed the notions of "il y a (there is)" and "fecundity" in an attempt to surpass the issues of M. Heidegger (1889-1976). Although influenced by Bergson's discussion of "critique of nothingness" and "élan vital (vital force)" etc., his criticism of it led him to plan his own materiality theory.

Secondly, in extension from this comparative study, there was an explanation of the anti-concept "memory / immemorial" that appears in Lévinas' later work, Otherwise then Being (1974). Bergson's corresponding anti-concepts, "the closed / the open" in his late-period The Two Sources of Morality and Religion (1932) and the "sensory-motor memory / pure memory" in early-period Matter and Memory (1896), were raised, and commonalities and discrepancies in relation to Lévinas were indicated.

Building on the above argument, a handout was then distributed, "Deleuze or Bergson?: False Power and Idleness of Memory", and an attempt ensued to identify not affinity and similarity between Bergson and G. Deleuze (1925-1995), but their fundamental differences.

The lectures, given in clear French, did not stop at an introduction of Bergson philosophy; rather they confirmed the high level exhibited by teaching staff from Japan on this program that stands in line with that of researchers from France itself.


Professor Hisashi FUJITA