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.


Review Meeting (2015)

A review meeting for the 2015 EuroPhilosophie Hosei Program was held on 26 June in classroom 701 of Boissonade Tower, Hosei University.

This was preceded by lunch at the staff club on 25th floor of the same tower. As this was the last mealtime that all the participating students and Japanese student assistants would spend together, it was a time for laughs as we talked about our plans for the future, as well as a time of sadness as we bade our farewells.

At lunch

During the review meeting, chaired by Professor Shin Abiko of Hosei University who is also the Japanese team leader for the program, we exchanged opinions, in some detail, on aspects of the classes and aspects of life in Japan. The students participating in the Hosei Program, were, on the whole, satisfied with the interesting content of the lectures, and would have liked to have learnt more about Japanese philosophy and thought. On aspects of daily life, they seem to have each spent a rewarding time in Japan. We hope to be able to put into effect next year the several things ascertained from everyone on this occasion.

Scene of the review meeting
Everyone together

The Program has again come to a successful conclusion this year. Through studying Western philosophy together, whilst sharing close experiences of everyday life, I believe we achieved real cultural exchange across our nations. I would like to reiterate our gratitude towards the teaching staff who came from near and far - and abroad - to offer their lectures. We look forward to everyone's support again next year.

Classes by Professor Chiara Mengozzi (2015)

A series of six lectures was given by Professor Chiara Mengozzi of the University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic. The theme of the lectures was "The struggle for recognition between philosophy and literature : post-colonial scenarios".

Professor Mengozzi's classes began with a commentary on the well-known passage, the "Master-slave dialectic", in Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit. The passage asserts that for humans to exist freely and independently necessitates others' recognition; although struggles emerge when striving for a mutual recognition between people, the slave, who has at first a subordinate existence, will, through his work, make the master reliant upon himself, and finally achieve independence. This "Master-slave dialectic" has featured in many varied interpretations of post-colonial literature.

With this commentary still in mind, the second and following sessions were taken up mainly by student presentations. The first topic to be raised was that of Frantz Fanon (1925-1961). Hegel's issue of self-consciousness is expressed strongly in Fanon's Black skin, white masks (1952). We found that Fanon, in this work, however, takes a skeptical attitude towards the ability of the "Master-slave dialectic" to explain the distortion in the relationship with others brought about by a consciousness of being black.

We next turned to Being and nothingness (1943) and Black Orpheus (1948), both by Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980). This led to a debate of proletarian literature in general, and its successive post-colonial literature. With the "Master-slave dialectic" as axis, issues were raised, in particular, of language. Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache (an anthology of work by African poets in French colonies; compiled by Léopold Senghor), for which Sartre's "Orphée Noir" (Black Orpheus) served as Introduction, established an African-style of writing, be it in French. Those of minority languages have continued to make use of the colonial languages, with "stereoptype" intellectual literary achievement later succeeded by Nuruddin Farah, Chinua Achebe etc., and even those such as Kazuo Ishiguro.

The second half of the lectures looked exclusively at literary works by post-colonial authors including Ennio Flaiano and Michel Tournier. Of Tournier's works, Vendredi ou les Limbes du Pacifique (Friday, or the other island) was chosen whose story is set on an unihabited island. Through the two opposite-type protagonists, Robinson and Friday, who embody "civilisation" and "barbarism" respectively, and their peculiar subordinate-superior relationship, it achieves a spectacular parody of the various issues surrounding Hegel's "Master-slave dialectic" of self acceptance and the acceptance of the other.

Professor Mengozzi's classes used problems of philosophy to facilitate further interpretation of literary works, as well as using literary works to question philosophy and to reconsider philosophy more deeply. Literature with particular narrative style and linguistic use delves into the realms of philosophy, providing philosophy with new ways to develop. Participants in the classes thus spent an incredibly stimulating six days coming in contact with the philosophical, poetical, and political life-force of present-day literature.

Class scene
Students giving presentations

Classes by Professor Masato Goda (2015)

A series of three lectures was given by Professor Masato Goda of Meiji University. The theme of the lectures was "The wandering ellipse: the Derrida-Deleuze struggle (polemos)".

First session of the classes

Professor Goda is originally from the island of Shikoku, so it seemed fit that the lectures begin with discussion of the islands of Japan. Japan is made up from over 6,000 islands, with inhabitants and fishermen on each island and in each bay. We then considered the question: when we think about "area" or "territory", where does that boundary (French: limite) exist, and what decides that up till here is Japan, and from here on is Korea, China, Russia...?

This led on to the theme of the lectures, the two philosophers Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) and Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) and the wandering ellipse between them; that is, the question of where is the limit of their two opinions? Deleuze and Derrida were in fact philosophers active over the same period, and although their thought clashed, they had some points in common. It was Professor Goda who picked up on those points, and was the first to engage in their comparative research.

These two same-generational philosophers, in their own particular ways, delved into things that had never been considered before, forming, as it were, an island in the open sea. To which of them does it belong? It is like asking whether the island belongs to Japan, China, Korea or Russia. Deleuze, under the influence of Jean Hyppolite, read Hegel, and saw a limit in the expressions used by Hegel in particular in his theory of language. Meanwhile Derrida saw a limit in the imagination and signs that Kant identified as the common roots of sensibility and understanding. A limit, in other words, the drawing of a boundary line, can be found in both Deleuze and Derrida.

For the last class, in response to a request by the students from Europe, Professor Goda altered his original lecture plan and kindly gave an introduction to the thought of Japanese philosophers such as Hajime Tanabe (1885-1962), Shunsuke Tsurumi (1922- ) and Yoshimi Takeuchi (1910-1977). Having not learnt about Japanese philosophy before, this lecture provided a new and valuable opportunity for the students from Europe.

Scene from the class

Classes by Professor Hisashi Fujita (2015)

A series of three classes was given by Professor Hisashi Fujita of Kyushu Sangyo University. The title of the lectures was "Ricoeur and the shadow of Bergson". The lectures concerned the two philosophers, Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) and Henri Bergson (1859-1941).

Discussion during the class

A thinker always has a shadow. The shadow is not an enemy, nor can it be confronted, yet it follows one around like a ghost. Attempts to distort or conceal it are in vain as it can still be recognised. For Ricoeur, was that shadow not Bergson? - Professor Fujita's lectures had this hypothesis as their starting point.

The philosophy of Ricoeur can be divided into three main periods. In all three periods we can detect the shadow of Bergson, be it in differing ways in each. Our lectures were conducted in relation to the inner dialogues that take place between Ricoeur and his shadow, Bergson, on time, and also on metaphor and memory.

The first class focussed on Ricoeur's phenomenological period of the 1950s and 60s, and referred to Bergson's Time and free will: an essay on the immediate data of consciousness, and Ricoeur's Freedom and nature: the voluntary and the involuntary. In the second class that turned to Ricoeur's hermeneutic period of the 1970s and 80s, we read Bergson's The creative mind: an introduction to metaphysics (La Pensée et le mouvant) considering it alongside Ricoeur's The rule of metaphor: the creation of meaning in language (La métaphore vive), and in the third class, on Ricoeur's notions of memory and time of 1990s and 2000s, Bergson's Matter and Memory with Ricoeur's Memory, history, forgetting.

Professor Fujita gives clear explanations using simple words in a rhythmical way, so that the classes were most enjoyable despite their difficult content. I very much wished I could master French in the same way. During the second class, in a discussion about language, he repeated the example of "Tu es mon âme (You are my soul)" many times. His words, "We cannot explain everything that we want to say in normal language. So that is when we use metaphor." stayed in my memory.

Professor Fujita took every opportunity to seek the impressions, and encourage an exchange of opinions, of the Japanese students participating in the lectures, as well as of the students from Europe. Thanks to this, the classes were attended in a positive way by all those present, and proved a valuable experience.

All together at lunch

Classes by Professor Peter Szendy (2015)

Three classes by Professor Peter Szendy, of Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, were held from 1-3 June. The theme of the lectures was "The underside of images: proposals for an 'iconomy'". "Iconomy" is coined from a combination of icon (image) and economy, the flood of images in present-day society being likened here to money. The lectures developed their arguments in reference to several texts by Gilles Deleuze, Walter Benjamin, and Marie-José Mondzain, as well as footage by Robert Bresson and Brian De Palma.

"Money is the underside of all the images that cinema shows and sets in place, so that films about money are already, if implicitly, films within the film, or about the film.'' (Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2, The time image, Minuit, 1985, p. 104). The class began with consideration of this quote from Gilles Deleuze's Cinema 2, and continued to be steered by it throughout. If a sheet of paper is a film image on its upper side, then the underside of it is money. (Implying, films cost money). Following in this strain, in the case of films about money, the side of the film image is folded inwards and the money side shows outwards: this enables us "to see the underside of the image".

We were shown various film images to illustrate this. I will introduce two scenes from among them that made a lasting impression upon me. The first was one scene from "The Sopranos" (HBO). Mother and son are in the kitchen; the son, Tony, having avenged his father's death, stands in front of the refridgerator with a banknote in his hand, while the mother sits looking at her deceased husband's photograph. There are many bits of text and pictures stuck to the fridge door with magnets; over one of these, "One day at a time", he places the banknote so that only "time" is visible. This scene suggests that "Time is money": that the son's actions imply money, namely time. Just then the mother turns over the photograph frame on the table, hinting at "seeing the underside of the image". On the underside of this image is time.

The second was one scene from "Pickpocket" (Bresson). The is staged inside a train just about to depart from Paris-Gare de Lyon. A gang of pickpockets uses smooth techniques to steal valuables undetected by the people on the train. In this scene, the passing round of a stolen purse between the gang members suggests money going round - money only has worth when in circulation. It is the same with film images. Furthermore, here, the stealing of a watch in fact signifies the stealing of time. Thus, in films about money, the underside of the image of visible, yet obscure money reveals the invisible, yet clear object of time.

In this way, the three days of lectures made a spectacular exposition of the difficult "time image" as advocated by Deleuze.

Class scene

Classes by Professor Ondrej Svec (2015)

A series of six lectures was given by Professor Ondrej Svec of Charles University, Prague. The theme of the lectures was "The pragmatic turn in phenomenology". Lectures began with the founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), and then focused on each of those who succeeded Husserl phenomenology from their own differing perspectives: Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), and Jan Patočka (1907-1977). An examination was conducted from the point upon which they all stand; that is, an emphasis on practice over theory.

Firstly, Husserl, with the aim of knowing the universal nature of an event, used consciousness as a means towards a conceptual understanding of the world. Husserl phenomenology emphasises subjectivity, regarding external existence as transcendence. His later thinking, moreover, called for a stand against modern science's attempts at theorisation of nature. He proposed a suspension of judgement ("epoche [bracketing]") on all objective learning, and a return to "Lebenswelt (lifeworld)" that, prior to any learning, is intuitive to everyday practice.

Critical successor to Husserl, Heidegger, in his Sein und Zeit (Being and time), advocated the supremacy of practice versus logic within a framework differing from Husserl: that of "Dasein (being-in-the-world)". In his book, by proposing "knowledge" precede "act", Heidegger was returning to the meaning of practice as defined by the Ancient Greeks, and was attempting a confrontation with modern metaphysics - which connected with the post-Descartes' modern consciousness. Professor Svec, however, expressed reservations against the commentaries of Hubert Dreyfus and others that treat this pragmata as being totally ante-predicative.

On the other hand, Merleau-Ponty also adopted the thought of Husserl, but here it was the Husserl who laid importance upon a perceptive "Lebenswelt" and physical experience, rather than the Husserl who saw the physical body and world as transcendence and excluded them from consideration. Although Heidegger's influence upon Merleau-Ponty through the term "Dasein" is clear, as the title of his most famous work, Phénoménologie de la perception (Phenomenology of perception), suggests, we can say that his interests lay not in Heideggerian phenomenological ontology, but in the life that is us that has already been cast into the real world through our physical bodies. It is worth noting how Merleau-Ponty perceived phenomenology as a movement rather than as a theory.

Lastly, the case of Jan Patočka was raised who learned from Husserl and Heidegger and took influence from them, yet was set to surpass them as leading Czech philosopher. Although Patočka was fascinated by Husserl phenomenology, he harboured doubts over the fact that the said thought - rooted in the subjectivity of consciousness and self - should distance itself from the real world, and not reflect on physical and practical actions. He also believed that Heidegger ontology, despite regarding humans as "Dasein", did not sufficiently understand the human uniqueness implied therein. The phenomenology that Patočka subsequently developed was a phenomenology of movement within a world and society upon which humans, together with their Others, have been cast.

The lectures outlined above showed how phenomenology, with the viewpoint of practice as its axis, has closed in on human reality. They did this following the passing of time and in dynamic fashion, allowing us lecture attendees a full appreciation of the history of thought.

Professor Ondrej Svec
After classes, at an Izakaya pub

Classes by Professor Tetsuya Kono (2015)

Already we find two months have passed since the Program began, and on 9 June, with the onset of the rainy season, Professor Tetsuya Kono of Rikkyo University (Saint Paul's University) gave a series of three lectures. These lectures, entitled "Phenomenological philosophy of the environment", examined the environment in breadth. Firstly, we were introduced to various notions, leading to explanation, and criticism, of Watsuji Tetsuro's notion of "Fūdo" (climate and culture). Based on this, lastly there was discussion of the role of environmental philosophy.

The first lecture re-questioned environmental philosophy and environmental ethics from their roots, applying the ideas of thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Kumazawa Banzan and Ando Shoeki. Humans sometimes consider themselves as being just one part in the whole of the environment. At other times, they believe themselves to be in a position of special authority. Ethics are born from the relationship between the subject and the other: in environmental ethics this brings into question the relationship between humans and nature. From this emerge the varying standpoints of anthropocentrism, biocentrism and also ecocentrism. These are classified on the basis of how the following three questions are answered: "What is the supreme existence?", "What is the value of nature?", and "Where do humans lie?"

Central to the second session, held after a lunch break, was the notion of "wilderness". Although meaning "virgin nature", the notion here points not merely to nature, but "an environment that has the power to regenerate itself through its own diversity". The example of the novelist, Hino Keizo was raised in connection to this notion of "wilderness". Many people imagine nature as an idyllic rural nature; Hino, however, criticizes this as "giving the feeling of a narrow and stifling over-familiarity". What we imagine as idyllic, rural nature, is, in fact, an environment managed by humans and governed according to human values. On the other hand, Hino reveals a kind of nature in urbanity. The city is a manifold of path-crossing individuals, devoid of any human meaning, yet continuing to maintain a certain order. In Hino, the city marks a return to "wilderness".

The third and last session gave an explanation of Watsuji Tetsuro's "Fūdo" (climate and culture), and re-questioned environmental ethics from that standpoint. The "Fūdo" of Watsuji does not refer merely to land and its environment, but to an environment that emerges from the mutual relationship between humans and nature. Here we learnt that nature and the environment are not static and fixed, but continue to change relentlessly due to their own inherent diversity. We then considered, from this viewpoint, the environmental issues surrounding Isahaya Bay in Kyushu, and Uluru (Ayer's Rock) in Australia. As conclusion, Professor Kono proposed that it is our obligation to respect diversity. Healthy changes in the environment are made possible through the diversity that it possesses, while rapid change that ignores that diversity will bring about destruction. Expansion of the diversity of the ecology and culture rooted in each region enables evolutionary change in environment and culture: this is what maintaining "Fūdo" is about.

I feel that, through EuroPhilosophie, the paths cross between students from Europe and students from Japan, and together we achieve great change. Even in the present day, a clash of cultures occurs on various occasions, but if we try to mutually respect and acknowledge diversity, rather than experiencing a clash we will develop in a way beneficial to us all. This series of lectures was, thus, deeply significant as the final note of this year's EuroPhilosophie at Hosei.

Class scene
Professor Kono

Keynote lecture by Professor Chiara Mengozzi (2015)

On 25 May, a keynote lecture was given by Professor Chiara Mengozzi of the University of Hradec Králové. It was held at the Boissonade Tower, 25th floor, on Ichigaya Campus. The title of the lecture was "The usefulness, and the disadvantage, of the concept of 'World Literature' in literary studies". Acting as discussants for Professor Mengozzi's keynote lecture were Professor Asako Nakai of Hitotsubashi University, and Professor Kensuke Kasahara of Hosei University, and Professor Nao Sawada of Rikkyo University who also provided interpretation. The role of Chair was filled by Professor Shin Abiko of Hosei University.

Professor Mengozzi's presentation began with an explanation of the concept of "World Literature" as advocated by Goethe in the 1820s. At that time, Goethe asserted that the human race was heading towards a universal age, with the way opening towards a "world literature". It would start life within individual countries, and manifest itself through an increase in exchange with other countries, for which translation would prove important. According to Goethe, cultural distinctiveness and difference of each country were the factors that evoked interest in countries other than one's own, therefore achieving a universal value that transcended national borders. Professor Mengozzi commented on the modernity of this thinking, but went on to indicate that what Goethe termed "universality" is unlikely to be found today, and that in literature, without elements such as "the marketplace" or "hegemony" today, there can be no discussion of them.

Following on from this debate, Professor Mengozzi firstly focussed on the definition of the notion of what was originally meant by "world literature", showing it to be a corpus that included a basis of values. It was deemed necessary for "world literature", along with that basis, to extend from a Western European centre to as far as Asia, Africa, and South America. Secondly, in relation to this, Professor Mengozzi criticised the Pascale Casanova/ Franco Moretti way of thinking that a world system of literature has a centre from which the periphery spreads, asserting, rather, the need to observe multi-centres and multi-directional movements. Thirdly, in accordance with this diversity, also in the research of "world literature", we find there is no over-emphasis of "distant reading", but a continuing importance attached to "close reading". As practical examples of this, Professor Mengozzi mentioned two works by two famous authors: (Maps by Nuruddin Farah, and The remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro). We saw clearly how close reading can reveal universal elements hidden in their unique detail.

The discussion that took place after the presentation included the issues of "world literature" in Marxism, the impossibility of translation, the disparity of context between the situation during the 19th century and today, and the issue of the language of translation and hegemony. A lively debate developed over these issues. The theme of this keynote lecture - to what extent can the best works of literature, that transcend era and nation, achieve universal value? - is, in fact, reminiscent of the idea behind EuroPhilosophie of "crossing borders". The fact that the participants here have crossed national borders in order to debate these issues could be considered to hold its own global, universal value.

Professor Mengozzi giving presentation
Scene of the hall
Scene from the discussion

Classes by Professor Elie During (2015)

(Report by Professor Elie During)

Session 1: I gave a general introduction to some of the big issues underlying the philosophical reception of relativity theory, following a distinction between: a) epistemological issues such as the function of a priori cognitive structures in our knowledge of the universe, b) metaphysical issues related to fundamental concepts such as space and time, coexistence and connection, identity and becoming, which constitute the core of any philosophy of nature.

On the epistemological front, I emphasised the difference between the neo-kantian approach advocated by Cassirer and the neo-positivist doctrine of Reichenbach. The concept of conventional "coordinative definition" was examined as an alternative to the traditional conception of the a priori. From that perspective, the relativity of simultaneity appeared to be a product of the ultimately arbitrary nature of the definitions involved by our measuring methods. The conventionalist strategy is in agreement with certain "deflationist" interpretations of the philosophical impact of Einstein's theory, downplaying the startling claims regarding space and time as a mere artefact of measuring procedures that does not affect space and time "in themselves" (Alain's stark criticism of "Einsteinian" philosophers runs along the same lines). This is not Reichenbach's view, however. At the heart of his account of the relativity of simultaneity lays a realist claim about the objective (frame-independent) structure of causal connections within the universe.

This offered a natural transition to the topics examined in Session 2, which focused on the ways certain philosophers redefined the metaphysical and cosmological background of their philosophy of nature to accommodate Einstein's theories. Both Bergson and Whitehead thought that Einstein's main contribution to philosophy was not to criticise general assumptions regarding space and time (such as the absolute nature of simultaneity), but to open the ways for new adventures in thought. Some time was spent on familiarising ourselves with Whitehead's intriguing views on the meaning of "time" in a context where "events" constitute the basic spatio-temporal ingredients of nature.

In order to see this, a "toy-model" of the special theory of relativity was presented in Session 3, emphasising two main aspects exemplified, respectively, by the principle of relativity and by the principle of light according to which the speed of light is a limiting factor in the propagation of any causal influence across space (this is illustrated by the existence of an absolute speed limit, invariant under all transformations from one perspective to another). The first principle is a principle of equivalence: it states the equivalence of a class of interchangeable perspectives on the world. Negatively, it states that there is no privileged point of view on the universe (and thus, no absolute space, no absolute motion). The second principle is a principle of reality in Freud's sense: it states that in order for real connection to obtain, time is needed for a causal influence to propagate from one point to another. Connection takes time. Negatively: there is no instantaneous action at a distance (and thus, no absolute "present"). The consequences of conjoining these two principles were evaluated from a philosophical point of view, with special emphasis on the non-intuitive character of physical interactions through space and time. Finally, drawing on Bachelard's ideas, we considered some ontological consequences of relativity theory―more particularly the way physical objects come to be determined by the interplay of perspectives, rather than as an underlying, pre-given substance waiting to be uncovered. There is, in his own terms, a constant "interference"―a relation of co-determination―between reality and reference, objectivity and perspective. Here again, epistemological issues appear essentially linked with metaphysical ones.

Scene of the class
Professor Elie During

Classes by Professor Clélia Zernik (2015)

Although slightly after time, this gives an idea of the classes held over three sessions from 7-8 May by Professor Clélia Zernik. Their title was "The phenomenology of cinema: Merleau-Ponty on Japanese films".

The first class looked chiefly at the paper, "Cinema and the new psychology" included in Merleau-Ponty's Sense and non-sense of 1948. We should note here that he talks about "new psychology" (Gestalt psychology), rather than phenomenology. In general, in Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology, when we understand something, we think of the subject and object as not being independent, but as being influenced by each other, and working ambivalently. Similarly, when we perceive something, even if it is concentrated in one of the senses - for example it only seems to be sensed through the ears - Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology insists that, in fact, the other senses are at work and it is sensed from various directions. However, in the case of cinema, the situation is a little different. Perception is obscured by frames, and there is less intertwining "chiasm" between the subject and object, and between the several senses, than every-day perception. Cinema, then, necessitates explanation through a "new psychology" that differs from the simple phenomenology used to describe every-day perception.

Professor Zernik

The second session turned to Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo monogatari" (Tokyo story). Yasujiro Ozu created magnificent works through camerawork from a low position that sees through the eyes of the subject - the methodology known as "Ozuism" - with perfectly arranged composition, which exerted great influence upon the world of film. We were introduced to some scenes in which symmetry and perspective are used; we saw how composition upon these principles actually affected our perception. As an example of this, we were shown a picture that had two ways of looking at it (a visual illusion), and we all guessed at what we thought the picture presented. Such a psychological method is effective in interpreting Ozu films.

The visual illusion

The third class focussed on those who succeeded Yasujiro Ozu. In particular, the films of Akira Kurosawa were raised in relation to how they differed from "Ozuism". In the intital scene of "Rashomon" that witnesses a murder, the camera remains directed on the hands of the victim, while the heart-in-mouth expression of the witness appears on screen. We also referred to others among his films, including "Seven samurai", "Stray dog" and "Dreams". In the case of Ozu's works, a splendid form is maintained throughout that is like a single photograph, and the audience is left to itself to concentrate on observing the story, whereas Kurosawa's works set forth initially depictions with much impact that draw the audience into the heart of the story. The boundaries between subject and object are broken down. Here, then, methods of phenomenology prove more appropriate. Yet, as Professor Zernik remarked during the class, "Toshiro Mifune always stars in Akira Kurosawa films". Similarly, Yasujiro Ozu had Setsuko Hara; this use of a fixed cast, I felt, was one way that Kurosawa followed "Ozuism".

Watching the film

I am ashamed to say that this class was the first occasion I had ever seen "Tokyo story". In the last scene, the family has left, and the protagonist spends a quiet time in the room with his memories; in contrast the brightness of the day streams in. I was caught unprepared by this, and had to try hard to hold back the tears whilst watching the film during the class. I shall take this as an opportunity to discover more of these works.

Tea Ceremony (2015)

This is another extra piece on what has been going on outside classes.

On 20 May, we had the cooperation of the Hosei Chanoyu Club, an official university circle, in holding a tea ceremony for the Erasmus students. Participants were the four Erasmus students, and their student acquaintances.

Tea apparatus

The tea-ceremony room is a space where Japanese people feel at ease, yet it seemed to them rather an exotic place, and when the sliding doors were closed, they joked that they had been shut away somewhere unknown...!

The tea ceremony begins with the serving of okashi, Japanese cakes. The cakes served on this occasion portrayed goldfish swimming in water. They were cakes giving a sense of cool that befitted the season of approaching summer. Japanese cakes are of course to be enjoyed for their taste, but they are also for enjoying with the eyes. Their were voices among the Erasmus students exclaiming that they had never seen such beautiful cakes.

To begin with, cakes

Then came tea. When we drink the tea, we turn the design on the tea bowl away from us so that we do not touch it with our lips. Although this is an awkward movement, they successfully put these manners into practice. It is also the rule that wrist watches should be removed for the ceremony. This is to enable the tea master and guests to value the time they are spending together, unconscious of the ticking of actual time. On hearing this explanation, the students were happy to comply.

Cool-giving, goldfish-design cake

After the real tea ceremony, and special to this occasion, the students were allowed to try making tea by themselves using bamboo whisks. It is extremely difficult to create the fine froth in the tea, and they greatly admired the ability of the club member instructing them. Having tried a taste of the tea they themselves had prepared, the ceremony came to a close.

Drinking the tea they had prepared

The scroll that was hanging during this tea ceremony read "Ichi-go ichi-e", which means, "treasure every encounter, as it will never recur". For the Erasmus students and their first experience of the Japanese chanoyu (way of tea), this occasion of the tea ceremony might prove one such encounter.

Photo of everyone

Erasmus students and Japanese students socialize (2015)

As the Japanese assistants, we have tried on a daily basis to make sure the students on the Erasmus Mundus Program get the most out of their three-month stay.

Among other things, after classes we have been to Teishokuya diners, Izakaya pubs and game centers: experiences peculiar to Japan that we all decided on.

April: First time for a print club picture
April: On the central street, Shibuya, after classes

In particular, weekend excursions have become part of our schedule. So far, since their arrival in April, we have visited various places including Mt. Takao, Kamakura, Shibamata, the Kokugikan (Sumo hall), Kiyosumi Park and Yoyogi Park.

April: Food brought for a picnic in Yoyogi Park

May: At the Kokugikan Sumo hall in Ryogoku

We heard how they frequently went hiking last semester in Toulouse. With their strength and stamina, wherever they visit they never catch the train or bus; they just walk.

During the Golden Week holiday we visited Kamakura. Starting from Kita-kamakura, we looked around Jochiji, Kenchoji and Enkakuji temples, and Kamakura Hachimangu shrine. After a dip in the sea on Yuigahama beach, we then saw Hasedera temple and the Great Kamakura Buddha. Lastly we completed the five-kilometre hiking course known as Daibutsu-kiritoshi (Great Buddha pass).

At the Great Kamakura Buddha

Unfit as I am, this really tired me out, but the Erasmus crowd were still in lively spirits. I decided to follow the example of their stamina, and joined them for a drink in Yokohama!

Three students perform acrobatics on Yuigahama beach
After hiking, on Kita-kamakura station

Events we are still planning are a trip to see a Kabuki play, attending the tea ceremony, Karaoke, and a "Prison" Izakaya. The students are already in the second half of their stay in Japan; we, the Japanese assistants will try even harder to make their stay worthwhile.

Classes by Professor Kazuyuki Hara (2015)

Professor Kazuyuki Hara of the University of Tokyo gave a series of three lectures. The title of the lectures on this occasion was "Elaboration of the concept of 'desire' in Lacan and the question of 'the Other' and their existence".

The first lecture provided an explanation of the concept of "desire for desire" to be found in the doctoral thesis of 1932 of J. Lacan (1901-1981) and the idea of "assumption of desire", referring to a text by A.Kojève (1902-1968) : Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (1947).

The second lecture showed that the problem of understanding the desire of the Other overlaps with the problem of understanding the meaning of what the Other says, as found in Lacan's argument of this period. In extension, we saw that Lacan made reference to general linguistics whose founder was F. Saussure (1857-1913). There was also an overview of the notion of the "signifying chain" and "the Graph" which are an elaboration of those results.

The third lecture chiefly explained the notion of the "Œdipus Complex" in Freud (1856-1939), and the work carried out by Lacan to re-present it.

The most thought-provoking part of these lectures for me was the relationship between desire and the Other. Why do humans feel desire ? According to Lacan, it is because they lack something. Humans are essentially unsatisfied beings. Said conversely, not to desire means "omnipotence (phallus)" that lacks nothing. Humans, however, are not omnipotent, and must live life as "the desiring subject". One subject, living and desiring things, may seem to constitute the actions of an individual. Yet according to Lacan, "man's desire is the desire of the Other". That is to say, without the existence of the Other, there would be no desiring of anything. When someone thinks and expresses themselves using language, it is if they are assuming the existence of the Other who thinks, and can understand expression, in that language. This is because, in reality, the desire had by someone is expressed in language and transmitted to the Other. In other words we could say that the desire of a certain individual originates in the relationship with the Other, and is shared by both. When and how, then, did humans master the art of desiring through the relationship with the Other? What I found deeply interesting in search for the answer to this was Lacan's argument surrounding the "pre-Œdipal phase" of infancy. New-born babies require the existence of a "mother" to look after them. When a baby cries, the "mother" responds by satisfying the baby's physical "need", such as hunger or wetness. One could say, "mother" desires this. The baby then desires that "mother" desires this, and expects "mother" to be beside it all the time. Once its "need" satisfied, however, it soon notices if "mother" goes away again. Here, the baby is starting to express "need" as an excuse to have "mother" stay nearby. Once the baby has learnt "demand" in this way, it becomes a subject that lacks things, and that must constantly call "mother" to display a "need" for something. Rather than feeling a simple physical "need", the subject has a "demand for love" along the same lines. However, the baby gradually begins to notice that what "mother" really desires is the "imaginary phallus" - exemplified by the "father". So that "mother" keeps desiring and does not leave its side, the baby's "demand" also starts to direct itself towards "father". We might say, in order to make "father" desire what "mother" desires, the baby attempts "demand" of the "father". The subject is never fully satisfied, and is compelled towards continual desiring. In this way, it learns to feel "desire", which acts as a release from that limitless "demand". The above argument adeptly describes how the ways a baby desires undergo changes in the relationship with the Other - the parents. We could say that it shows the reasons why, by experiencing this process of infancy, our desires and their methods of expression mature as well as transform in various ways.

Professor Kazuyuki Hara
Scene of the class

A German Class (2015)

Almost all of the Erasmus students who are spending this semester at Hosei University will continue their research next semester in Germany.

In response to their request for an opportunity for some German language experience whilst in Japan in preparation for next semester, on 23 April we all participated in a class at the Faculty of International Communication: German Application. It was held in combination with Japanese students returning from short-term study abroad, and involved discussion in German under the guidance of Professor Keiko Yamane. We read texts relating to German society which included stories of immigrants that showed the differences between societies of other countries. We talked about issues relating to each of the countries: Germany, Japan, France, Belgium, and Poland. The discussion lasted one hour, and led to topics of life-expectancy and food culture.

During the second half of the class given by Professor Yamane, who also specializes in film, we watched Ingmar Bergman's "Persona" and the similar Josef Vilsmaier dir., "Charlie & Louise - Das doppelte Lottchen". We then each exchanged our opinions and thoughts.

The Erasmus students had not been in a German-speaking situation for a while, and at first some could not speak as freely as they wished. Once they settled down, however, they all contributed enthusiastically to the debate in fluent German.

Even the International Communication Faculty students who had just returned from St. Gallen, Switzerland must have been impressed by their ability to swap between several languages, both before and during the class.

After the class, each undertook a "film resumé" that had been set as homework. Their fluency in both French and German was quite awe-inspiring.

Classes by Professor Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond (2015)

The end of the "Golden Week" holiday marked the halfway point through the EuroPhilosophie Program. The three days beginning from 11 May saw a series of lectures from Professor Jean-Marc Levy-Leblond, physicist and Professor Emeritus of the University of Nice. The lectures, entitled "Epistemology", were true to their name in reaffirming the basic notions and methods of physics from a philosophical perspective, and finally they ventured beyond the rudiments of the philosophy of science with a discussion of the theory of relativity.

The first session, by way of introduction, disussed the "negative philosophical discoveries of physics" (Merleau-Ponty). Modern physics, from its outset, made numerous discoveries of new phenomena, These, at the same time, negated previous philosophical explanations about the world such as heliocentricism. From the end of the 19th century, however, the reach of modern physics extended further, to shake up even the general categories of human thought. In other words, it forced a reexamination, from a basic philosophical viewpoint, of the substantiality of time and space, and materiality.

The second session, on the following day, began with a quotation of well-known words from Galileo. In his The Assayer (1623), Galileo compares the world to a book that is written in the language of mathematics; it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language. What, then, is the language of mathematics? The problem of the relationship between physics and language was central to this second lecture. In the classical period of physics, and indeed in the 19th century, much serious effort was put into devising an annotation for physics, whereas, since the 20th century, this has become a simpler matter (an example given was the term "Big Bang"). We were shown how this trend has also exerted influence over the attitude towards research itself.

The session on the third and last day used a geometric handling of time-space to discuss the theory of relativity. The outcome of theorisation on n-dimensional space, that goes beyond the fourth dimension, was explained using spherical geometry and Euclidean geometry. On top of this, the approach was used to explain Einstein's building of his theory of relativity by treating the speed of light as a measure of time, Bergson's critique on the theory of relativity: the theory of time, and the twin paradox. As conclusion to the lectures, it was shown that this theory - taking a geometric approach to time-space - should, then, be called "chronogeometry" rather than "theory of relativity".

Scene in the class
Professor Levy-Leblond

Classes by Professor Yasuhiko Murakami (2015)

Lectures given by Professor Yasuhiko Murakami of Osaka University were divided into three sessions over the morning and afternoon of 16 April. Their content was "The Phenomenology of Home Care for Schizophrenia Sufferers in Japan". The lectures looked at people with schizophrenia, particularly those giving medical treatment, based on consideration of the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl.

The first lecture was titled "History of Psychiatric Hospitals in Japan", and took an historical view of the methods of treatment of psychiatric patients carried out in Japan after the Second World War. At that time, patients with the potential for making a disturbance underwent treatment in conditions that were secluded from the outside world. However, such restriction of patients' freedom, in some cases, escalated into violence, and even incidents of death occurred. Herein, then, lurks a very dark history. These incidents marked a turning point, and in the present day (1987 onwards) the use of violence is prohibited, and laws have been put in place to protect the human rights of psychiatric patients.

In the second lecture we learnt about the ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) in practice today, from a viewpoint based on Husserl's phenomenology. ACT is a treatment method that emerged in America in 1970. Unlike the treatment used previously that restricted patients' freedom, it is a program that accepts patients' conditions as they are, and that offers all-encompassing support for both treatment and everyday life in the local area. It was implemented in Japan in 2003. A comparison with the former phenomenological psychopathology revealed to us the distinctive features of ACT.

The third and last lecture on this occasion was based on actual interviews that Professor Murakami had conducted with nursing staff involved in the care of schizophrenic patients. In the case of schizophrenia, if symptoms are severe, the patient gradually constructs their own rules within themselves. Particularly memorable was the story of the carer who said "When dealing with such conditions, there are times when I have to respond to the needs of a person in my charge by pretending we are on an imaginary date". The carer thus confronts each patients' inhibitions by relating to their conditions. This method of contact is not mere psychiatric treatment, but can be seen as relating to the reform of phenomenology itself. I thought that this method was something that could also be put into practice in everyday life.

The lectures progressed in a matter-of-fact tone, with everyone listening keenly to what Professor Murakami had to say. Those who attended the lectures did so over three class periods spanning more than six hours, so that the day proved one of much deep content. The classes rose as topic of conversation when the attendees met for dinner on a following evening. We found ourselves involuntarily using such Japanese expressions as "Yappari..." "Nanka..." that had featured in the interviews used as the class text.

(Content of these lectures can be found in the forthcoming paper by Professor Yasuhiko Murakami: "An imaginary date with a recluse: ACT-led home support for severe schizophrenia sufferers, and psychopathology reversed", La revue de la pensée d'aujourd'hui 43 [12], May 2015).

Scene from the class

Classes by Professor Thierry Hoquet (2015)

With the air still buzzing from the opening party of the previous day, the 2015 Erasmus Mundus EuroPhilosophie classes began on 7 April with "Philosophy of Science" from Professor Thierry Hoquet (Lyon-3 University).

The overall title of the six lectures spanning four days was "What is Science? Approach and Debate." The classes took an overview of science and its history, raising various issues that lie between science and philosophy, and developing much deep content.

The first class, by way of an introduction, cleverly raised the fundamental issue of these lectures of "Is Western modern philosophy ultimately universal?" by quoting from In Praise of Shadows (1933) by Tanizaki Jun'ichiro (1886-1965) that suggests the possibility of the Eastern science. It then gave an introductory session on what is a scientific explanation? and also on the basic vocabulary of the Philosophy of Science and the history of the Philosophy of Science.

The second class examined the history of science itself, giving examples of various scientific revolutions, and the viewpoints of individuals integral to the philosophy of scientific history: Thomas Kuhn (1922-96) and Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962). Also, a new draft for the four categories of objectivity in science was proposed, based on recent research by Daston and Galison (Lorraine Daston & Peter Galison, Objectivity, New York, Zone, 2007).

The third class, "Feminist Epistemology", in particular, made a deep impression. This lecture focussed on female scientists throughout scientific history, and, moreover, penetrated the gender issue at the heart of scientific knowledge, rocking the foundations of past scientific objectivity. In particular, it highlighted gender in natural science of the latter half of the 18th century onwards, for example the view of sex differences in Darwin's Theory of Evolution, the classification of "mammalia" written about in Systema Naturae (1735) by Carl Linnaeus (1707-78), and also the "femininity" of the female skeletal chart in anatomy. These were a striking indication that there was already a requirement for a fixed female image. During the class, the students too had much to contribute, and the occasion provided an exciting opportunity to consider widely the diverse presentation of sex in modern society.

In the fourth class, the links between society and scientific technology, and in the fifth class, the connection between science and model, were discussed, and lastly, the sixth class dealt with the relativism of Paul Feyerabend (1924-94) etc., centring on the demarcation problem between pseudo-science and science. On this day, Hosei University's Professor Shin Abiko, Japanese organiser of the Program, was also present. At the end of the class, Professor Shin Abiko explained how relativism is transcended by the positivism of Auguste Comte (1798-1857); lively questions and answers ensued involving both professors, and with this the four days of lectures came to a close.

What became clear through this re-study, over six lectures, of the history of "objectivity" in science is that the question "What is science?" relates directly to the question "What should science be?", and that in the future the Philosophy of Science must not treat science as a realm of pure academia, but as an open doorway towards nature, society and humans. If not, the Philosophy of Science will fail to truly theorise upon science. During the course of the lectures, we had an opportunity to accompany Professor Hoquet and the students for lunch at a Ramen shop: we shall never forget Professor Hoquet, on his first try of "tsuke-men" (a dish of noodles and soup served separately, in which the noodles are dipped in the soup and eaten), joking that "the separation of scientific and philosophical debates worldwide is a bit like 'tsuke-men'. In the end, however, they get mixed together."

Lectures start!
Professor Hoquet illustrating a point
Third day of lectures
Occasion for smiles too

Start of "EuroPhilosophie" 2015 (2015)

The Hosei Program of the 2015 European Union Erasmus Mundus Master's Program "EuroPhilosophie" began on 6th April.

The cherry blossoms were showing signs of opening on this fine, early spring day, when, firstly, the customary orientation session and library tour were held for the four students visiting from Europe. This year, we saw many Hosei University students present, who will support the overseas students during their stay in Japan, and attend classes along with them, so that the program start was livelier than in previous years.

In the library

Continue reading

Review Meeting (2014)

A review meeting for the 2014 « Europhilosophie » Hosei Program was held in the Hosei University Graduate School Block 702 on 27th June.

The review meeting had as its Chair Professor Shin Abiko of Hosei University who is also the Japanese team leader for the program. It brought together Professor Kazuyuki Hara and the three Erasmus students who were visiting Japan, as well as the student assistants. Points raised for review relating to this year's course were discussed in detail, and ranged from content of classes to aspects of life in Japan for the overseas students. These provided a guide for planning next year's course.

Before the review meeting, however, the last social gathering was held on the 25th floor of Hosei University Boissonade Tower. It was an enjoyable occasion attended by the overseas students, Professor Shin Abiko, student assistants, and staff from the Hosei University International Center who had provided much support throughout the program. Although it was sad to bid farewell to the overseas students, we used the opportunity to wish them well in their future studies.

Through reconsideration of the significance of studying Western philosophy in Japan, and the significance of Westerners studying philosophy in Japan, how far has this program fulfilled its potential ? It feels as if each of the classes kindly given by scholars from inside and outside Japan has helped to unleash that potential. We have crossed borders between Japan and the West by way of philosophical thought ; Japanese people who have studied Western philosophy have given it back to the West via its students. Each and every participant has been conscious of these historical and time-space differences, and - despite unavoidable spatial distinctions - has left his or her mark, be it small, on the exchange that took place over this program, and we can certainly say that the program has been able to increase the significance and value of those (even small) experiences. In this way, this year's program came to a close, with many successes to its name. We would like to thank all those involved, and ask for their continuing support next year.

Group photograph
Scene from the social gathering
Scene from the review meeting

International Symposium « Acceptance and Resistance : Life according to Western Science, and Japan » (2014)

An international symposium, « Acceptance and Resistance : Life according to Western Science, and Japan » was organised by the Research Center for International Japanese Studies. It was held on 12th June in the Research Institute for Innovation Management Seminar Room, which is on the 25th floor of Boissonade Tower, Ichigaya Campus of Hosei University. It was organised externally of the Europhilosophie Hosei Program, but with Professor Shin Abiko as Chair, and presentations by Professors Osamu Kanamori, Yasuhiko Murakami and Thierry Hoquet, it had strong links with Europhilosophie. In fact, all the students from Europe who were in Japan on the Erasmus Program participated for the full day, and joined in the lively questions and answers. The below nine presentations were heard over the course of the day.

1.Alain Rocher (Paris EPHE) « Two sources of vitalism in Edo thought »
2.Paul Dumouchel (Ritsumeikan University) « Robot life »
3.Dominique Lestel (Paris ENS ; University of Tokyo) « My friend the robot »
4.Taizo Kijima (Hosei University) « Japanese translations of 'natural selection' and the remnants of social Darwinism »
5.Osamu Kanamori (University of Tokyo) « The biopolitics of Japanese contemporary society »
6.Yasuhiko Murakami (Osaka University) « Transitional space and nursing care in a psychiatric hospital in Japan »
7.Masaru Yoneyama (Nagoya University) « Life and technology in Nishida »
8.Tatsuya Higaki (Osaka University) « Theory of technology of Kiyoshi Miki »
9.Thierry Hoquet (University of Lyon III ; France) « The philosophy of symbiosis of Kisho Kurokawa »

In order to convey something of the content of the presentations, the following is an attempt at summaries of each presentation in simplified form.

In Professor Rocher's presentation we were able to sense a unique balance between knowledge abundance and an abundant amount of knowledge. The presentation focussed on the journey of vitalism from the West to China, and then from China to Japan, and made a great impression by suggesting a reconsideration of the validity of vitalism based on the thought of masterless samurai and townspeople of the Edo period.

Professor Dumouchel's presentation followed the « ontology of absence » of anthropologist, Eduardo Kohn, from the typical Japanese-like stance of the robot called « Geminoïd » and its « burial ». Its discussion of the state indicated by the word « living », and the differences and similarities between humans and robots - lastly touching upon the notions of « community » and « other » - provided much food for thought.

The presentation given by Professor Lestel discussed the relationship between us and robots, and raised the points that robots can be « machines of rebellion » or « machines of amicability ». The main argument of the presentation was that it depends on how we view the relationship between humans and robots. For example, in the same way that the verb « to love » is used towards many diverse objects, can friendship be said to develop between humans and robots ? Whilst sharing underlying themes with the previous presentation by Professor Dumouchel, Professor Lestel's presentation had perception of its own.

In his presentation, Professor Kijima explained that although Darwin's evolutionary term « natural selection » has been translated into two distinct Japanese terms: « shizen tōta » and « shizen sentaku », the latter better suits Darwin's own context. He also indicated that in Japan these translation words have parted from the original meaning. This case of mistaken meaning is associated with « social Darwinism » which, he suggested, emerged under the influence of neo-Darwinism that was prevalent at that time. The presentation was based on meticulous research and consideration.

Professor Kanamori's presentation used the examples of SMON and radiation damage to highlight the problem of unsavory « collusion » between science and politics. It indicated the conventional Japanese method of « acceptance and resistance » of scientific technology, and its disadvantages, and, in this way, could be considered a very truthful presentation.

Professor Murakami described in his presentation how the institution of the « psychiatric hospital » in Europe began as a prison, and that similarly, in Japan, it had a history of violence and use of chains from before the war. Today, however, psychiatric nurses and others involved in care focus on the spatial sense of the hospital ward in reaction to that history, and are committed to creating a multi-faceted space of « enforcement » as well as « enjoyment ».

In his presentation, Professor Yoneyama explained « action-intuition », and introduced us to the view of life and of technology held by Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945), who proposed a Japanese view of science to oppose the Western stance that tries to separate truth from its socio-historical context. In continuation, Professor Higaki added the notion of « form » to describe the Nishidian view of science based on action-intuition. He then compared Kiyoshi Miki (1897-1945), who argued on « imagination » from his own perspective, with Henri Bergson (1859-1941), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and also Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). This led to discussion of the particular significance of Miki's « Theory of transformation of form ».

Finally, Professor Hoquet's presentation dealt with the Japanese architect, Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007). It contrasted Kurokawa's « philosophy of symbiosis» with the « functionalism » architecture of Le Corbusier (1887-1965), and identified several Japanese / Eastern elements on which Kurokawa based his thought, and in this way explained the significance of « symbiosis ». However, even Kurokawa's originally intended escape from this simple dualism created contradictions when he opposed symbiosis against functionalism. What can overcome such opposition ? The last stage of the presentation also mentioned Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze and Guattari. Professor Hoquet suggested that here, true opposition occurs not between Eastern symbiosis and Western functionalism, but in the differences between biology and physics ; in other words, between dynamic science and static science.

On considering the significance of this symposium, we cannot help but return to the dualistic image of the West and Japan. On this topic, the presentation given by Professor Hoquet held an immensely important viewpoint. The question, what is « Japan-consciousness » ? has no immediate answer, yet this symposium gave us the opportunity to glimpse part of the cause of that difficult issue.

Greetings from the two symposium organisers (left : Professor Abiko ; right : Professor Hoquet)
Scene from the symposium (centre : Professor Rocher)
Scene from the symposium (centre : Professor Dumouchel)

Professor Masato Goda's Classes (2014)

Classes were given by Professor Masato Goda of Meiji University. The title of these classes was "Un pragmatiste japonais, Syunsuke Tsurumi et pénombre de l'Asie (Japanese pragmatist, Shunsuke Tsurumi and darkness of Asia)", the main figure of focus being Shunsuke Tsurumi (1922-). Tsurumi is known as the philosopher to introduce the thinking of pragmatism from America to Japan. Classes on this occasion commentated on Tsurumi's work, Yoshimi Takeuchi: aru houhou no denki (Yoshimi Takeuchi: biography of a method; 1995). Yoshimi Takeuchi (1910-1977) was a critic of about the same generation as Tsurumi, and was also a scholar of Chinese literature including Lu Xun (1881-1936). Interesting common features in the career histories of Tsurumi and Takeuchi are the fact that they were both living outside Japan at the outbreak of the Second World War, and, becoming embroiled in the war whilst in foreign countries, they began to think deeply about the international issue of nationalism. Firstly, Tsurumi went to America in 1938 to major in philosophy at Harvard University. Three years on, war broke out between Japan and America, and after spending time in a prisoner of war camp, returned to Japan. Back there he applied to join the Navy, and took up post in Indonesia until the defeat. In the case of Takeuchi, he was studying in Peking in 1937 at the time of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, and formed friendships with Zhou Zhouren (1885-1967), author and younger brother of Lu Xun, among others. In 1943 he was drafted into the Army, and experienced the defeat on the Chinese continent. In this way, Tsurumi himself took similar steps to Takeuchi, and the above- mentioned work values the fact that Takeuchi, rather than placing himself on the outside of the specific conditions that are wartime, stopped within those conditions - where a vision of good and evil had no bearing - in order to write. Here we should specially mention Lu Xun, who influenced Takeuchi's writing style, and who, under similar circumstances, was a forerunner of deep thought on issues between nations whilst residing abroad. He had majored in medicine at the University of Tohoku in Japan in 1904 when the Russo-Japanese War broke out. At that time, Chinese who worked as spies for the Russian Army were executed by the Japanese. Despite witnessing such scenes involving his fellow Chinese, he later wrote a work called Fujino Sensei (Professor Fujino) in remembrance of his venerated teacher who he had met in Japan. It is noteworthy that Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) also wrote a novel, late in his career, based on the experiences of Lu Xun, Sekibetsu (Farewell with regret; 1945) that seems to secretly wish for peace between Japan and China. I found that these classes were suggestive of the situations that generate philosophy and literature, and of the issues between nations that create those situations. Not only this: I also felt there was something present therein that ties to the idea of "mobilité (mobility)" in our "Europhilosophie".

Professor Masato Goda

Professor Wunenburger Keynote Lecture (2014)

On 23rd May, a keynote lecture, entitled « Temps, rythme, image chez Bergson et Bachelard (Time, rhythm, and image in Bergson and Bachelard) », was given by Professor Jean-Jacques Wunenburger of the University of Lyon III, and was held in the Kudan Building of Hosei University.

Despite some influence from the scientific revolution led by Einstein's theory of relativity, Bergson (1859-1941) directed his vision towards the realm of human « life » and the power of « life » to develop a unique philosophy. Bachelard (1884-1962) then revealed to him the buds of his own philosophy that he went on to build. As suggested by its title, the lecture on this occasion compared the two thinkers and developed arguments for demarcation between them.

Firstly, an investigation was carried out regarding a theme common to both : « time », and the difference in their interpretations of it. We were introduced to the time-space theory of both philosophers that is based on what Bergson calls « durée pure (pure duration)» in his Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience (Essay on the immediate data of consciousness; 1889). For Bergson, time was a continuous flow that could never be grasped by scientific or mathematical intelligence. Bergson compared time to a melody for the above reasons, while, in contrast Bachelard explained time using the word rhythm. On this basis, an important foundation for his theory of time was the assertion that enduring, flowing things carry inside them time-space breaks as each moment is captured by consciousness in a contradictory and negative sequence. His time-space theory involved joining together every moment, or, being guided by moments towards infinity. Only rhythm can connect moments and infinity in this way. On this difference in interpretation of time between the two, Professor Wunenburger describes the former as « horizontal », and the latter as « vertical ». The following point is important here. Namely, when explaining a certain phenomenon in their time-space theories, Bergson is forced to show the form of a conflict between the state of duration had by life and a type of self-wise matter, while Bachelard uses the form of a conflict between two things that contradict one another and that exists within that phenomenon and cannot hide its subject of recognition. This point is linked to the problem of « force » relating to Creation that is common to both thinkers, and was next to unfold here.

The discussion then presented arguments on the problem of « force » that began to emerge at the conclusion of examination of their time theories. Here it is necessary to look also at the assertions about « Creation » made by Bergson in his L'Évolution créatrice (1907 ; Creative evolution) in addition to previously-mentioned Essay on the immediate data of consciousness. As raised earlier, Bergson talks of a creative process whereby a creative force, unpredictable and existing in the duration of actual life but not gathering inside the self - in other words, a heterogeneous force - clashes against a resistive force, that acts upon spatial matter - in other words, a force that tries to draw duration towards homogeneity. According to Bergson, the former force and the latter resistive force require that the former is heterogeneous while the latter is homogeneous, and, as a result, is born the internal and essential diversity of the self. Put another way, when Bergson speaks of diversity of essence, he always assumes an external dichotomy between two things. In contrast, Bachelard states that at the basis of duration must exist every discrete moment and a primary negativity, and so he describes Creation as forming through a dialectical sublation of internal contradictions of the object itself. An important point in his epistemology is the question of how discontinuous things can be changed into continuous things by imagination or poetic language. Through sublation of the opposition between the so-called Élan vital (life force) of duration and the resistive force of nothingness that is all discrete moments, the object is able to achieve noumenal depth. That is: for Bachelard, creative force and its resistive force are included structurally and purposely within each other.

Looking back so far, the whole discussion seems to have converged upon two points of issue. They are : how did either men accept otherness, opposed to self, that is one moment of resistive force in Creation ? and, how is differentiation and modification carried out of a certain phenomenon and a certain subject ? Our lecturer, Professor Wunenburger concluded that rather than the picture explained by Bergsonian Creation that relied too much on inter-penetrating continuity, focus on Bachelard's primary negativity more accurately describes the confusion of sameness and difference. This led on to the question and answer session.

The two thinkers were very deeply concerned with the way of recognition and the existence of creativity and change in forms, and, furthermore, time-space theory and subject. This lecture paused to question the mass of difficult issues surrounding the evaluation of their points of disagreement and commonality. In this respect, it is likely to remain a momentous thesis within the minds of all those present.

Scene of the Keynote Lecture
From left : Interpreter, Professor Hisashi Fujita ; Lecturer, Professor Jean-Jacques Wunenburger ; Chair, Professor Shin Abiko

Interpreter, Professor Hisashi Fujita and Lecturer, Professor Jean-Jacques Wunenburger

Professor Hisashi Fujita Classes (2014)

Professor Hisashi Fujita of Kyushu Sangyo University gave a series of three classes. The title of the classes on this occasion was "Localiser l'illocalisable. Une lecture de Matière et Mémoire de Bergson (Locating the illocalisable. A reading of Matter and Memory by Bergson)". The text central to our study was Matière et Mémoire (Matter and Memory; 1896), the second of Henri Bergson (1859-1941)'s main works in which he deals with one of the universal themes in philosophy: the mind-body problem.

In this book, Bergson proposes that « memory » represents the realm of the mind (psychological things) of mind-body dualism, while « brain », the realm of the body (material/physical things). When considering the connection between memory and the brain, people firstly think of the memory being located somewhere in the brain. However, as is well known, Bergson gives a thorough criticism in this book of the hypothesis that memory resides within the brain. Memory, according to Bergson, is not the ability to sort and store recollections inside the head. Therefore he frequently criticised this assertion from his standpoint advocating the physical world. Ultimately, then, Bergson is preoccupied with the conceptual debate on memory, and does not sufficiently grasp the issue over its actual space and location. The classes developed in this way upon a background of the history of thought. One discussion left a deep impression : that of searching for logique du lieu (logic of location) and chorology in Matter and Memory through a comparison of the arguments of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and the leading 20th century French philosophers. For certain, Bergson criticises the hypothesis that memory is reduced to a space somewhere, yet he does not deny that memory is given a "location". In fact, as one example in his book, various expressions concerning location such as "se placer (to place it)" are used about not only physical things but also psychological things like memory and notions. Therefore, "location", in a sense differentiated from space, is not in opposition to memory for Bergson. To put it plainly, by criticising the hypothesis that recognises the reality of memory, he aims, be it ironically, to give location to something without location, and as a result, Matter and Memory can be read as a work that gives thorough thought to location. More precisely, in order to understand the book, it is necessary to make a distinction between physical place with body, brain, or even "sensory perception" as object, and psychological location with memory and "duration" etc. as object. In different words, this viewpoint questions the discrepancy between location given objectively and location given subjectively. Important here is the aim of Matter and Memory that is to investigate place-location of two differing natures, rather than to question whether memory exists or not. In this way, these classes discussed Bergson's difficult text from a perspective surprising to the reader but in a way easy to understand, and as such provided extremely interesting content.

Professor Hisashi Fujita
After the class

Classes by Professor Thierry Hoquet (2014)

Professor Thierry Hoquet of the University of Lyon III gave a series of four classes on the theme of « History of the philosophy of science », and looked at the classes held this year from various angles.

The first class was titled « General philosophy of science », and introduced various arguments focussing on « hypotheses » in science on the issue of how science is structured. The main theses raised were that of Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem (1861-1916), and, later, Williard Van Orman Quine (1908-2000) on the principle of induction that came to be known as the « Duhem-Quine thesis », the « Falisifiablity » of Karl Popper (1902-1994), and the « Deductive-nomogical model » and « Inductive-statistical model » of Carl Hempel (1905-1997). What we can say common to all is that so-called hypotheses can only be considered under some arbitrariness; in other words, such a thing as an independently functioning hyphothesis does not exist. So we can never have a pure, neutral and, so to speak, isolated, hypothesis. In Duhem, this weakens the « crucial experiment », and shows that newly attained facts from observation, that possess falsifiability and oppose the existing theory, must be based on some theory. Popper supports the above assertion by making the division of « central hypothesis » and « auxiliary hypothesis ». Lastly, as described by « Hempel's ravens », Hempel indicated the danger in carrying out deductive verification of a scientific hypothesis; that is, the danger of inductive verification of another hypothesis that is predictable and deducible from an initial hypothesis.

The second class was conducted under the title of « Historical epistemology ». Examples given were biology, which, due to Charles Darwin (1809-1882), shifted from the « Theory of creation » to the « Theory of evolution », and mathematics, where Euclidean geometry was embraced by non-Euclidean geometry. In this way, the inclusion and replacement of opposing notions is carried out within the same academic discipline. They were explained here as turning points in the history of science. First of all, however, we must ask, does science have a history? The thinking behind this question is as follows. Science searches for universal truths, and can make discoveries ; for this reason a retelling (of history) cannot exist in science. The truth of yesterday is still truth today. To advocate the history of science is to deny science itself, it might be said. This is closely connected to the problem of continuity and discontinuity in science. On the subject, Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) refers to discontinuity in science in his The structure of scientific revolutions that uses the notion of « paradigm shifts » to clearly indicate fault lines and subsumption within science. He was, therefore, neither simply declaring relativism, nor eroding the actual significance of science. We can say that science sees recurring deviation and stagnation in its pursuit of theoretical truths. The second class also touched upon Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962) who preceded Kuhn in discussing discontinuity in science in his « La philosophie du non (The philosophy of no ; 1940) ». The class also explained the concepts, and the thought behind, « ruptures épistémologique (epistemological breaks) » and « obstacles épistémologiques (epistemological obstacles) » that he introduced late in life. These provided terminology that is deeply significant in relation to the history of science.

The third class handled « Feminist epistemology ». The following proved important points for discussion : is the female body only an epistemic object ? and, more specifically, when scientists talk about « we », does that « we » include women as subject rather than object ? Here, first of all, the two perspectives on « gender distinction » were raised that illustrate the fundamental issue. The problem of women as merely an object of sex is unexpectedly related to the problem of objectivity in science. The exclusion of women as subject means that women also require, in principle, to be the object of male desire, or, one might say, the object of value judgement by men. In other words, objectivity in science protects itself from pathos and values by excluding « women » in this way. Feminists insist that gender distinction is no more than a social division. However much we might talk of biological sex, humans will only talk of it in socio-biological terms. For that reason, Professor Hoquet criticised this view based on objectivity as, in fact, an ideology.

The fourth class was entitled « Sociology of science », and took an externalist approach to science to raise the issue of science as an ideology, in a Marxist sense. Professor Hoquet put forward the question, why did Galileo and Newton research ballistics ? He gave the answer that it was ultimately for war. If we add a simple explanation, « for war » really means that it made them money. A large amount of financing was necessary for their research. In other words, decisions over scientists' research themes, the consequent knowledge gained, and methods for securing finance are all intervened in by a society of non-scientists, or, dare we say it, politics. In contrast to this kind of science shaped within a certain society, we were then introduced to ethno-methodology as a science to transcend borders. The class finally went on to mention the reception of evolutionary theory in Japan.

Professor Thierry Hoquet
Scene from the class

Classes by Professor Vincent Giraud (2014)

Professor Vincent Giraud of the University of Kyoto gave a series of three classes. The theme was « The medieval thought and the sign », with the first class focussing on Aurelius Augustinus (Saint Augustine ; 354~430), the second on Dionysius the Areopagite (Dionysios ho Areopagites) and Johannes Scotus Eriugena (810~877), and the third on Nicolaus Cusanus (1401~1464). Our attention was drawn to the signification held by signs in their works, and this told us about their understanding of existence and phenomena. We could say that Professor Giraud's classes, on this occasion, served to trace the history of existence in the middle ages.

The Book of Genesis tells us that when God said « Let there be light », light then existed. Here we have typical signs. God's Word is the cause of all existence, believes Augustinus, and, indeed, Christianity in its world view. What we find, in such a case, are merely the signs left us, as the actual actions of God are not the scene of Creation. In this case, the only way we can know about Creation is by following traces. The first class thus brought our attention to the intricate relationship between the signification held by the given signs, and the manifestation by God Himself.

The second class looked at the thought of Dionysius the Areopagite as known from The Celestial Hierarchy, and the unique ontology of Eriugena. Eriugena was responsible for translating into Latin, and developing, the above work, and also for advancing Augustinian interpretation of signs. Of importance here was the difference in understanding between Augustinus and Plotinus on existence and non-existence. For Augustinus, non-existence could only mean something that did not exist, that God did not create, while Plotinus considered non-existence as included in God's revelation. Eriugena clearly picked up on Plotinus-like thought in Dionysius the Areopagite ; acknowledging the manifestation of God, emanation and return to God, he used an interpretation of signs to extend the range of understanding of existence.

The third class handled the interpretation of signs in Compendium by Nicolaus Cusanus who is famous for the work, De docta ignorantia (On learned ignorance). As if converging upon the range that we saw extended in the second class, we looked at his principle of « coincidentia oppositorum (coincidence of opposites) ». This coincidence is knowing in the imagination, so to speak, signs of signs, or the shift from sign to sign, according to a rational interpretation of signs. It is something, however, that transverses, and escapes from, rationality. Ahead of knowledge comes ignorance : that which deviates from people's understanding. For that reason, Cusanus believed that since God transcends the world, we can feel God's presence when we know ignorance. Here we can clearly detect his mystical tendencies. At the same time he explained signs as natural distinguishing marks, and even proposed his own view of the world following principles of mathematics. Rather than confining himself to a one-sided rule, then, we saw how he approached existence, knowledge and signs from these two different aspects.

Over the three classes we looked at the so-called signs of Creation. To conclude : as if bridging the gap between existence and non-existence in the interpretation of signs of Augustinus, Eriugena develops Augustinian thought in conjunction with that of Dionysius the Areopagite ; mystical and mathematical aspects then appear in the interpretation of signs by Cusanus, which leads us along the path to the modern age. I felt there was very much to be gained from reviewing the middle ages through the theme of signs, not just from the perspective of philosophical history.

Scene from the class
Professor Vincent Giraud

Classes by Professor Osamu Kanamori (2014)

Professor Osamu Kanamori of The University of Tokyo gave a series of two classes. The first class was entitled « Scientific rationality and oriental praxeology », focussing on Kunihiko Hashida (1882-1945). The theme of the second class was « The Bio-politics of contemporary Japanese society ».

Hashida achieved significant results in his research field of biology concerning nerves and muscles. Whilst a scientist, he considered Zen thought to be the ethical stance that scientists should take. Specifically, he called the laboratory the researchers' « dojo (training hall) ». He believed the ideal space to be where researchers could go beyond the conceptually neutral knowledge common in the West, to seek knowledge with an ethical aspect for living life well, in the same way that Buddhist priests accumulate virtues through training in temples. In other words, he saw as important not just the content of research, but also a sense of integrity between scholarship and humans. That is the attitude adopted during « practice » or « training ».

Although the notion of « Physiological holism » is considered an extremely great scholarly contribution of his later years, classes on this occasion sought the originality of his more fundamental thought. For example, he also develops « Gyo (Samskara) » as a methodology for observation. Hashida explains the Oriental term « Busshin Ichinyo (Matter and mind are one) » in a more epistemological way as « Subject and object undifferentiated » in an escape from the Western-style observation based on subject and object dichotomy. As already stated, he did not necessarily stress neutral and universal knowledge; this was in order to understand the true manner of appearance of things. It involved the process of « Yuikan » : seeing how things are in their natural flow, through « Mushin (The Heart of nothingness) », rather than as a rigid subject observing an object. It also meant Gyo itself : seeing something in more detail, without dividing it into parts for observation. Such a style is linked to the originality of his thought, and is what Hashida called « Science as Gyo ».

Hashida contributed research as both scholar and educationalist from the Taisho Era into the Showa Era. During wartime he also served as Minister of Education. Then, after the war, he was convicted as a Class A War Criminal, and committed suicide. As Minister of Education, Hashida was posted at the centre of political power. His notion of « Physiological holism » has an aspect that suggests totalitarianism in prioritising the whole over the individual. His style of observation also abolishes any subjective elements, and as a result, his thought was taken to serve totality. His physiology had been made to function as a type of ideology.

The second class then mentioned SMON (Subacute myelo-optic neuropathy) and the harm caused by radiation following the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant that occurred after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Professor Kanamori asserted that in the two above examples there emerges an either-or situation between prioritising objective knowledge for the sake of those in receipt of harm, or distorting scientific and objective knowledge so as not to lose benefits for upper levels of society. Such aims of maintaining the state and preserving the whole as the reasons and background for choosing the latter, however, are hidden from view. By laying before us the dark side of Japanese society, he suggests the following : unless there is revealed to be a small minority of people who, out of sight of the masses, corrupt knowledge for their own means, objectivity will continue to be shelved, and people will continue to be deceived by scientists without moral values. Professor Kanamori believes that « Bio-politics » are active in the fundamental structure of society itself.

During the second class, I again sensed the underlying flow of Zen thought as ethic that Hashida suggests is necessary for all scientists who search for objective knowledge, as raised in the first class. Even in the present day, « Science as Gyo » has, without doubt, at least partial necessity. In incidents where distortion of scientific objectivity occurs, in terms of numerical ratio, the victims constitute the great majority, whilst, in relation, the perpetrators occupy a very tiny minority. In view of this current state of affairs, all we can say is that unless we overcome the bio-political approach, we cannot achieve a close investigation of the socio-scientific value of Hashida's notion of « Physiological holism » and his application of « Zen » thought.

Professor Osamu Kanamori
Scene from the class

Classes by Professor Kazuyuki Hara (2014)

Four classes were given by Professor Kazuyuki Hara of The University of Tokyo. The title of the classes was "Lacanian elaboration of the notion of 'desire' and a recoining of the Oedipus Complex". (The research by Professor Hara on which these classes were based can be found in the following work: Kazuyuki HARA, Amour et savoir ― Études lacaniennes [Love and knowledge - Lacanian studies], Collection UTCP, 2011).

People are relentlessly in desire of something. According to Lacan (1901-1981), people are desirous when something is lacking. Put another way, because people lack a necessary thing, that thing is desirable. When we think of the notion of desire in terms of a basis for psychoanalysis, the first thing that comes to mind is an ambiguous and vague image, not just one of its fluid nature. Since the postwar 1950s, attempts at Lacanian interpretation have been towards understanding the Other in their desire for something by defining, through language, the notion of a type of mad desire seemingly impossible to capture. In other words, the problem of knowing the desire of the Other overlaps with the problem of knowing the meaning of words; that is, knowing what they are trying to say. Reversely, however, this also means that it is desire that defines the contours of the existence which is language.

Here, language points to the contemporary linguistics used for reference by Lacan. Central to this reference is the well-known notion of « signifiant (signifier) » introduced by the founder of general linguistics, F. Saussure (1857-1913). Lacan, however, looks to an era of general linguistics after the period of attempts to explain the form and structure of language, when, once again, attention focussed on the problem of meaning. We can also see from references in R. Jakobson (1896-1982) that at the fore in Lacan's mind regarding language was the aspect of communication. In every discourse, the one signifier is double-sided: from it is born various meaning, and the ability to freely desire something. According to Lacan's view of language, rather than that someone tries to say something in words, it is words that try to say something. It is as if the intention of the discourse becomes clear through the desiring of the words.

Furthermore, through the notion of a « chaine signifiante (signifying chain) » - the re-working of an idea by É. Benveniste (1902-1976) - it is possible to topologically structuralise language (or desire), and thus to regulate the freedom of desire. As a result regards knowing the desire of the Other, we can see how desire underlying words shifts to orientate itself along a signifying chain spoken by the subject in discourse.

Professor Kazuyuki Hara

Classes by Professor Shin Abiko (2014)

Professor Shin Abiko, Professor of Hosei University and Japan coordinator for this program, gave a series of three classes.

Classes focussed on the dynamics between science and philosophy during the 19th century through the eyes of Auguste Comte (1798-1857). He was a solitary thinker, yet in his later years provided us with the monumental contributions of La loi des trois états (The Law of Three Stages), Sociologie (Sociology), Positivisme (Positivism) and Religion de l'humanité (Religion of Humanity).

Comte believed there was an urgent need in human society for the birth of sociology, to lead on from mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology, and to constitute a generalisation of them all. We can easily suppose that a great motif for him was the progress made by the human intellect, and, in relation, by the scientific unanimity, away from the instability felt in civil society since the French Revolution. Also, since the scientific revolution of the 17th century, Natural Philosophy could not help but have its position usurped by the positive sciences. An easily understood example of this is that astronomical discoveries made by the likes of Nicolaus Copernicus did not agree with the Aristotelean and teleological view of the cosmos. The Christian view of the world of heaven and earth was also overturned. Natural Philosophy had to hand over the jurisdiction of observing natural phenomena to the natural sciences of physics and biology mentioned above.

Here we should note the following point. Even forgetting the lack of technical observational capability had from the theological and metaphyiscal points of view, the former, theological, is guilty of using mythical imagination, while the latter, metaphysical, of assuming transcendental principles. Put another way, even if they were to conduct a more or less effective observation of a phenomenon, both would prove too self-centered in methodology, and lack relational viewpoints. The newly sought subjectivity is not a shut-away, absolute and internal subjectivity, but must be open to society as well as historical in its contiguity to other subjectivities past and future.

This non-internalist approach to phenomena of Comte that is found in his Law of Three Stages can be understood in terms of positive sciences rather than in theology or metaphysics. In other words, in Comte, sociology is a positive science concerning the understanding of humans whose most eminent activities are sciences, and positivism is the epistemological methodology in sociology. He would probably say that unless philosophy itself conformed to this methodology it is a meaningless discipline. He would also be likely to say that sociology as a generalised discipline is befitting as the root of Descartes' « Tree of Philosophy ».

As we know, philosophy was introduced to Japan by Nishi Amane (1829-1897). The last class confirmed that what Nishi referred to as philosophy meant, in the majority of cases, the positivism of Comte. This means that positive-stage philosophy was introduced to Japan without its history of theological and metaphysical stages.

The question, « What is philosophy ? » is a fundamental question that remains from the age of the birth of philosophy to the present day. When we talk of philosophy today, what is it that we are pointing to ? These classes enabled us, foreign students and Japanese alike, to see directly the inevitable present-day significance of the acceptance of philosophy in Japan that was brought about by Nishi.

Scene of Professor Abiko's Class

Classes by Professor Yasuhiko Murakami (2014)

Four classes were given by Professor Yasuhiko Murakami of Osaka University, the theme of which on this occasion was "Phenomenology of psychiatric care in Japan". Professor Murakami uses a phenomenological standpoint to interpret scenes of medical care and the results of direct interviews with nurses and patients. Through an analysis of conditions in a psychiatric clinic, then, these classes put forward a more practical approach to philosophy and its methods. Below introduces some of the discussion.

Every organisation has its regime. At a psychiatric clinic we see that the regime is spatialised, built into the facilities themselves, in the aim of looking after and managing its patients. This spatialised regime could be considered as protecting the patients as an extension of the physical body. Considering this a type of "isolation", we could even call it the ultimate realization - in the form of spatial shackles restraining the body - of "le pouvoir disciplinaire (disciplinary power)" that Michel Foucault (1926-1984) described in Surveiller et punir, naissance de la prison (Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison; 1975). In this sense, in a psychiatric clinic there exists a regime of visible space whereby physical restraints are used for protection. Furthermore, such spatialisation of the regime does not stop at a physical level: the clinic is organised, and the regime mobilised, based on the rules between senior nurses who give instructions to junior colleagues, and those between the nurses and the patients assigned to them. However, the rules described here between nurses and patients are not of a coercive kind, but are voluntary and spontaneous and for the purpose of maintaining the community. Although nurses might be strict with the patients assigned to them, they are gentle with other patients, and in such ways they keep an affective distance from patients that helps to spatialize human relations within the ward, and give balance to the regime.

An important issue concerning nursing care is how to create a free and voluntary system within this functioning regime. In other words, despite the given authoritative regime, how can a free space be created that differs from it? For example, whilst a patient is observed by a nurse and they become familiar with each other and they walk and enjoy time together, a different space emerges that is not aligned with the regime. It could be called "play space" that serves to rattle the regime space. In this way, the clinic ceases to be merely a space to manage the visible regime. For many of its patients it becomes a secure "home" that is separate from complicated society. British psychiatrist, Donald Winnicott (1896-1971), stated on the same issue that for patients on long-term admission, the clinic is an isolated environment, but at the same time, paradoxically, it is "my own home that I cannot leave".

Nevertheless, more important than any stage of stay at the clinic, there is a method by which patients go "outside" the clinic. That is, they do not just come into contact with the outside world on a walk, but they even break with the regime of the clinic and mix in the regime of society: patients are able to come and go between the inside and outside of the clinic. In this sense, present-day treatment aspires to a clinic that is a so-called preparation for patients to enter society. In such a set-up, patients repeat the admission and discharge process, and nurses transfer to different wards in rotation so as to prevent the entrenchment of human relations within the clinic. An environment with easily provided care, accompanied by space for free play, then ensues.

Professor Yasuhiko Murakami

Classes by Dr. Elie During (2014)

Dr. Elie During of the University of Paris West : Nanterre gave a series of three classes on the theme of « What does not exist ? ».

The first provided a critical introduction to the concept of « non-existence » that is extremely peculiar in ontological terms. For example, although « the unicorn » or « Sherlock Holmes » exist as something of an object for us, they do not really exist. Also, the « connection » or « phenomenon » that Man A loves Woman B is, strictly speaking, only something of uncertain content of meaning for us. Then, how about « hallucinations » ? This phenomenon is difficult to handle as it has nothing by which to grasp it, and breaks with that which is actually seen - in other words - reality. Despite this, we are now prepared to say, and are also able to say, that the phenomenon of « hallucinations » clearly exists. What does this actually mean ? One thing we can say is that they are not « nothingness ».

Although such ambiguity of existence was criticised in the first class, the second class went on to use Bertrand Russell's Theory of Description to interpret the « non-existence » that we had said does exist. If we say, « the King of France is bald », is this proposition true or is it false ? Russell judged this proposition to be simply false. This is, of course, because in the time in which he lived there was no longer a monarchy in France. Yet how is it that we can put forward such a proposition and consider it in our minds ? Put another way, why was he able to interpret as false a proposition whose referent (in this case the French monarchy) does not actually exist ? Russell deciphered this puzzle by creating artificial language. Through translation into an artificial language, even propositions which are difficult to interpret could be determined to be true or false without firstly being judged as simply meaningless. The important point here is that through Russell's Theory of Description we have attained the right to talk of « non-existence » as our object. In an epistemological sense, we can say that at last we stand at our starting point.

In the third class, Dr. During attempted a translation in relation to « non-existence ». In the first class we saw confirmed that non-existence is not nothingness, and, in continuation, the second class supplied us with the right to refer to non-existence. This time, a fascinating argument developed that non-existence can be explained by existence, and existence, by non-existence. As one example, we considered the connection between light and shade. The existence of shade is a type of non-existence of light that is created by light. Also, the existence of light is the non-existence of shade. Existence and non-existence exist as a pair, and if one increases to its ultimate limit, the other decreases in relation to it. Here is established the relationship of « degree ». What is important is that light and shade cannot both move between the degree of 1 and the degree of 0 of existence or non-existence. In other words, there can never be neither light nor shade. Dr. During used this example as starting point to mention Kant, as well as Souriau, Sartre, Bergson and Deleuze. In particular these last two thinkers discuss the dualistic or dialectical combination of the « virtualization of the present » and the « actualization of the virtual », and the accompanying link between present, past and future. I found this the most thrilling from a philosophical point of view.

Dr. Elie During
Scene of the Class (1)
Scene of the Class (2)

Student Workshop (University of Osaka) (2014)

On 29th of May 2014, the Erasmus Mundus EuroPhilosophie students were welcomed at the University of Osaka. There they had a special opportunity to meet Osaka philosophy students of similar age and exchange both their impression of Japan as well as philosophical ideas and each other's research. The student's symposium was organized with the courtesy of Professor MURAKAMI Yasuhiko of the host university.

The presentations were marked by an elegant symmetry: three presentations in French, three in English, with three works presented by the European students and three by the Japanese students.
The topics varied from Philosophy of Biology and Psychoanalysis over French contemporary Phenomenology to presentations concerning the non-European philosophical traditions.

Takuya Ogura presented his research on Melanie Klein entitled "From Mother to Matricide". His presentation included also the Lacanien and the Deleuzien interpretation of Klein's work. The next one to present was Jan Lockenbauer who talked about Morice Merleau-Ponty with the text "Lebenswelt- ni le fatum, ni l'acte libre: penser l'histoire et l'intersubjectivité dans l'oeuvre du jeune Merleau-Ponty". He discussed the famous French philosopher's view of history in connection with intersubjectivity and also his less known political philosophy. For something uniquely Japanese: Yusuke Morino presented his research on the first modern Japanese philosopher and founder of the Kyoto School- Kitaro Nishida. The presentation was called "Impulsion of Body as Root of Empirical Time and Space: From Early Thought of Nishida". After learning something about Nishida's philosophy (or rather being a step further confused by its complexity), we moved on to the philosophy of biology and the question of the origin of life: Tsubasa Yoneda read his text called "Que'est-ce que la vie: la connaissance de la vie chez Malaterre, Bergson et Simondon". The positions such as emergence theory, reductionism and vitalism were all discussed. Going back to the French phenomenology, István Fazakas presented his work on living philosopher Mark Richir with the topic: "Le virtuel, et le transcendental en phénoménologie". His presentation lead into a very rich discussion about Richir's phenomenology and the notions of self, virtuality and the absolute transcendence. The last, by not the least, Filip Gurjanov read his presentation about "Nietzsche's View and Use of Buddhism in The Antichrist- and Beyond". He discussed both Nietzsche's positive views of Buddhism, which are to be found mainly in his last oeuvre entitled "The Antichrist", as well as the negative aspects, which are problematic for Nietzsche's own philosophical position and the cultural project, and for which reason Nietzsche discussed them.

The discussions were lead by Professor Murakami who reported to be very content with the overall atmosphere, presentations and discussion of the symposium. Several Japanese students, who did not present themselves were nevertheless present and contributed to the discussions.

After going through serious questions of life, an activity peculiar to philosophy students, everybody had the chance to relax together with pizza's and drinks and have more casual talks, for example about the Japanese Music scene and "The Japanese Idol". (Filip Gurjanov)

Professor Arnaud François Lecture (2014)

A lecture was given by Professor Arnaud François of the University of Toulouse II at 18 :30 on Wednesday, 8 April, held in Collaboration Room 3, Bldg. 18 of the Komaba Campus, University of Tokyo. The title of the lecture was « Sensibilité et émotion chez Bergson et Hume (Sensibility and emotion in Bergson and Hume) ».

Professor François' aim in this presentation was to ultimately clarify the differences between the philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941) and David Hume (1711-1776), having first acknowledged the common features they share in their statements on morality.

Bergson examines morals in the first half of his late work, Les deux sources de la morale et de la religion (The two sources of morality and religion ; 1932). Bergson did not attempt to apply reason to the foundations of morality, as seen in Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). This is because Bergson believed that although reason governs the rules and ideals of our actions, it is another force that guides our intent towards moral actions on a fundamental level. To explain this issue Bergson brings attention to concepts called « sensibilité (sensibility) » and « émotion (emotion) », and, in their relation to « intelligence », distinguishes between « émotion infra-intellectuelle (infra-intellectual emotion) » and « émotion supra-intellectuelle (supra-intellectual emotion) ». This was important for Bergson as it would lead to the main notion of his book, namely the differentiation between « morale close (closed morality) » and « morale ouverte (open morality) ». In other words, a society of « closed morality » means the existence of a formal and impersonal force working to maintain a community, whereas in « open morality » there is a force building morality by which morality is embodied in an individual of authority who lures others to expand the breadth of the community. The imitation of a certain individual in « open morality » is a transfer of « emotion », and is what Bergson called « appel (appeal)». The so-called emotion here is « supra-intellectual emotion », that can become the basis for intelligence, but cannot be defined in terms of intelligence distinguished by emotion. Emotion in this case, rather, could even be said to possess intelligence. In contrast, born simply from intelligence comes « infra-intellectual emotion », where intelligence has no obligation to emotion. According to Bergson, our consciousness is run relentlessly with such cause and effect, and every moment of consciousness belongs to either one type of emotion or the other. In this way, Bergson attempted to reconsider the relationship of reason and pathos that has featured in philosophy throughout history through the issue of morality.

In a previous era, Hume had used pathos in a positive way to talk about morality, and in his criticism of the traditional view of reason and pathos in opposition to one another, and of the supremacy of reason, he is similar to Bergson. Firstly, by distinguishing between « passions calmes (calm passions) » and « passions violentes (violent passion) » in his Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740), Hume sought the basis for right and wrong that determines our actions, not through understanding of throughout the ages, but through this distinction made within pathos. It is also worth noting that in this work, Hume states that reason is « slave » to pathos. He develops this distinction further in An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), referring to an altruistic « sympathy » that opposes the « selfish system of morals ». Hume believed that sympathy for another facilitates a transference of « sentiment » that, if of kind feelings, can be called « benevolence ». We can see, then, several similarities between Bergson and Hume in their discourse on morality.

Bergson, however, in his work mentioned above, criticises the « moral of sentiment » found in Hume's argument. That is, Bergson discusses pathos and sentiment as being in opposition to reason, dismissing theoreticians of intellectualism for whom supremacy wins. According to Bergson, because they interpret this pathos/sentiment-reason dichotomy as an obvious concept, they have not really grasped its causation. Put another way, they fail to base anything on actual experience, and end up with abstract speculation. In that sense, he is criticising Hume, who is, paradoxically, the leading philosopher of British empiricism. In this critique, « experience » suggests time : which Bergson terms « durée (duration) ». Bergson places importance on « la genèse de la morale (the origin of morality) » which he believes occurs within the duration that is our consciousness, rather than on any argument that pursues rationality and ventures away from reality. This means that morality is born, and expands, from the causation of reason and pathos occurring with the passing of time.

The lecture thus summarized, in a way extremely easy to understand, a theme that has drawn little attention to date, yet greatly aroused the interest of the audience gathered for the occasion.

Professor Arnaud François and Professor Kazuyuki Hara as Chair
The lecture hall

Classes by Professor Camille Riquier (2014)

Professor Camille Riquier of the Institut catholique de Paris gave a series of six classes. The classes on this occasion introduced the thought of Charles Péguy (1873-1914). (For the published results of Professor Riquier's research on Péguy, see: « Métaphysique de l'événement. Péguy et le problème de l'insertion (Metaphysics of event. Péguy and the problem of insertion) », in Métaphysiques des possessions (Metaphysical possessions), D. Debaise (ed.), Paris, Presses du Réel, 2011).

Charles Péguy was born in Orléans, France, famous as the birthplace of Jeanne d'Arc (1412-1431). Today, Péguy is better known as a poet and socialist of the latter half of the 19th century than as a philosopher. In particular, however, during his student days in Paris, Péguy studied under Henri Bergson (1859-1941), praising the progress of technology and industry whilst making sharp criticism of modern era society in its single-minded pursuit of external wealth. His consciousness of issues was based on his witnessing of the plight of those suffering poverty or hard labour, and steered towards the internality of the masses which form society, rather than simply towards political theory or social structure. In other words, it was Péguy's vocation to call upon the internal spiritual lives of each and every person in revolutionizing the existing society that was hollow and debauched as a result of the pursuit of profit. It is here we can detect the decisive influence of Bergson. For example, in the work of his late years, Notre jeunesse (Our youth; 1910), we find « Tout commence en mystique et finit en politique (Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics) ». Furthermore, the spiritual aspect emphasised by Péguy can be transformed by the principle that relieves individuals of the burden of suffering, and that ties to a Christian view of the world prior to its secularisation. Alongside Bergson, we must also recognise here the influence upon Péguy of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). Pascal, born in France two centuries earlier than the era of Péguy, sought the road to salvation through the perspective of human spiritualism and morals - as a devout Christian himself - and having seen the anguish of people living in society. In reality, Péguy spent his life trying to grasp Pascal's ideology. For example, in Pensées (Thoughts; 1670), Pascal saw the world in Les trois ordres (three orders), which he identified as l'ordre du corps (the order of the flesh), above which came l'ordre de l'esprit (the order of the mind), and in the highest position, l'ordre de la charité (the order of charity). Similarly, Péguy believed that material well-being could not surpass the dimension of spirituality, and that in turn was inferior to the love needed to bring about the salvation of others as carried out by Jesus Christ; without this order all social behaviour was meaningless. These two individuals thus sought the true meaning of life, yet Pascal passed away at the age of 39, and Péguy at 41 - Péguy, in action during the First World War. I was surprised at what had been achieved in their short lives.

Professor Camille Riquier

Classes by Professor Arnaud François (2014)

A series of six classes was given by Professor Arnaud François of University of Toulouse II.

Professor François heads the EU side of the Hosei Program, while back in France he is a leading young scholar of Henri Bergson (1859-1941). The theme of classes on this occasion was a search for scientific (particularly biological) sources in L'évolution créatriceCreative Evolution ; 1907), one of Bergson's four great works. (The following is an example of Professor François' research relating to this theme : « Les sources biologiques de L'évolution créatrice de Bergson » (2007), in Frédéric Worms and Anne Fagot-Largeault (eds.), Annales bergsoniennes, vol. IV : L'évolution créatrice (1907-2007) : épistémologie et métaphysique, Paris, PUF, coll. « Épiméthée », 2008, pp. 95-109).

The issue of mechanism and teleology raised in the lectures made a great impression upon me. The second half of Chapter 1 of Creative Evolution considers each of the evolutionary theories of Charles Robert Darwin(1809-1882)and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck(1744-1829). During Bergson's era, neo−Darwinism, of the former's lineage, upheld the theory of mechanism by which the evolution of living things is necessarily influenced by the relationship of physical cause and effect. Meanwhile, neo−Lamarckism, of the latter's lineage, advocated the theory of teleology which identifies the source of evolution in the effort and will exerted by a living body in order to achieve a specific goal. Darwin's original theory of evolution, widely known as "natural selection", described how an individual with properties advantageous to survival leaves a greater number of descendants. It emphasized external environmental factors: a giraffe with a long neck, for example, can reach the leaves of tall trees, which is advantageous for producing offspring. Lamarck's theory of evolution, on the other hand, searched the evolution process for individuality exhibited by a living thing in order to adapt to an environment: for example, moving to a warmer area or growing extra hair when it is cold. We might call these internal, psychological, environmental factors. According to Bergson, both arguments err in their understanding of the evolution of living beings as a determined thing, for whichever reason. For Bergson, the essence of life is the infinite change towards the new; furthermore it is a "creative evolution" that comes from undetermined freedom. From this emerges the notion of élan vital that is central to Bergson's philosophy of life.

The above is just a part of the lectures given by Professor François. I felt strongly, however, that Bergson's argument that transcends the mechanism-teleology debate, and develops to span science and philosophy, has great relevance to us today.

Professor Arnaud François

Study Camp at the Foot of Mt. Fuji (2014)

The usual study camp for freshers of the Hosei University philosophy course took place at the foot of Mt. Fuji in the Hosei University Fuji Seminar House. This was over two days from 19-20 April - early on in their first semester at university. The camp was also attended by the three students from Europe on the Europhilosophie Program who have likewise started studying at Hosei University from April. Unfortunately the weather meant we were not able to see Mt. Fuji ; however, the camp got off to an enthusiastic start with self-introductions, which led to lively group discussions on a variety of subjects in a mixture of Japanese and English. In particular, discussion surrounding the question « Is it possible to really understand other cultures ? » generated several astute statements from the Europhilosophie students. The welcome party that took place that evening definitely provided an opportunity to put into practice the understanding of other cultures.

Everyone together !
An instance of « cross-cultural exchange »
Inside a room in Seminar House

Classes Given by Dr. Sara Guindani (2014)

A series of four classes was given by Dr. Sara Guindani from the University of Paris VIII.

Dr. Guindani specialises in research of the relationship between art, aesthetics and philosophy, and is also a scholar of Marcel Proust (1871-1922). The theme of classes on this occasion was a consideration of the significant influence that Proust, in his great work, À la recherche du temps perdu (In search of lost time; 1913-1927), had upon later 20th-century philosophers. Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995), Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) and Roland Barthes (1915-1980) were named among the philosophers in receipt of such influence. (The following is an example of Dr. Guindani's work relating to Proust: Lo stereoscopio di Proust. Fotografia, pittura e fantasmagoria nella Recherche [The stereoscope of Proust. Photography, painting and phantasmagoria in research], Milan: Edizioni Mimesis, 2005.)

The most interesting part of the classes for me was the relationship between Proust and Deleuze. For example, in his early work, Proust et les signes (Proust and Signs; 1964), Deleuze attempts a commentary on In Search of Lost Time, in which he raises the issue that Proust's famous description of madeleine cakes that he used to represent "la mémoire involontaire (involuntary memory)" is in fact no such thing. In other words, Deleuze believes that the basis of Proust's work lies in "l'apprentissage des signes (learning of signs)" rather than the past memory recall that is more widely acknowledged. "Les signes" can be translated in various ways, but according to Deleuze, everything produces a sign, and explaining it is linked to "learning". Deleuze's viewpoint is that the central theme in In Search of Lost Time of the workings of memory is also a method for learning, and that this narrative of learning is what gives the work its unity. According to this viewpoint, In Search of Lost Time consists of four elements that produce signs; they are the empty "society signs", the insincere "signs of love", the materialistic "sensory signs", and the essential "signs of art". According to Deleuze, Proust's book thus stimulates the learning of signs, producing signs and passing that effect onto the reader.

The above is just one part of Sara's classes that spanned four sessions. Deleuze's commentary that overturns the general reader's image of In Search of Lost Time as seeking the past through memory is, however, revolutionary, and the classes made us think deeply about this and Deleuze's own later philosophy that was greatly influenced by Proust's work.

Dr. Sara Guindani
Class in progress

Europhilosophie 2014 Start (2014)

With the cherry blossom in full bloom, the 2014 Hosei Program of the Erasmus Mundus Master's Program "Europhilosophie" made a start on 1st April.

The day began with an orientation session and tour of the library on the Hosei University Ichigaya Campus for teaching staff and students from Europe visiting Japan on this occasion. The three students, having just arrived in Tokyo for the first time, were not yet familiar with the geography of the city and way of life here, and they listened attentively to International Center staff on how to adapt to living in Japan - somewhat different from their own countries. Afterwards, they moved on to the library, where they were shown how to search for and borrow the books they would need for their studies, and they looked around the book stacks.

Scene of the Orientation
In the library
In the book stacks

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Review Meeting and Closing Party (2013)

On Friday, 28 June a review meeting for the 2013 "Europhilosophie" Hosei Program was held on 25th floor of Boissonade Tower, Hosei University, which was followed by the last social occasion on 26th floor.

The review meeting was hosted by Professor Shin Abiko of Hosei University who was in charge of proceedings in Japan for this program. It was attended by Professor Vincent Giraud, the three overseas students who were visiting Japan on the program, and members of staff from Hosei University International Center. Items discussed ranged from the content of classes to life in Japan for the overseas students during the three months' duration of the program, reflecting upon this year and planning for next year.

After the two-hour review meeting, the final party was held in relaxed spirits. The students from overseas came to Japan greeted by the cherry blossom in spring; although lost in a busy schedule, it seems that they gradually became familiar with life in Japan over the three months, and at the end had grown quite attached to it. During the party we sensed their reluctance to leave Japan.

Worth special mention concerning the program is firstly the fact that classes were given by so many specialists on particularly diverse themes. Also, as is present in the concept of "Mobility (Mobilité)" in "Europhilosophie", the overseas students were able to reconsider Western philosophy through the prism of its acceptance in Japan whilst immersing themselves in Japanese culture; this was an opportunity they will not have again. Furthermore, it was an excellent opportunity for the Japanese students who welcomed them to form close ties with young people from Europe who make philosophy their life-work. This year's program thus came to a successful close with achievements on all levels. We would like to express our thanks for the cooperation of all those involved, and wish for their continued support next year.

Professors Abiko and Giraud at the review meeting
Students from overseas giving their thoughts
Farewells from the overseas students
Scene in the hall
Commemorative photograph

Classes by Professor Yasuhiko Murakami (2013)

There were three classes held over the two days, 6 and 18 June, given by Professor Yasuhiko Murakami.

Professor Murakami specializes in phenomenology; he researches the phenomenological structures found in situations of the practice of human relationships, through interviews with people involved in scenes of medical treatment. These lectures were based on interviews with nurses conducted by Professor Murakami, and aimed at explaining from a phenomenological viewpoint the structure that determines the practice of medicine.

The first day of lectures (two lectures) focused on an interview with Nurse D who works in the artificial dialysis room of a hospital. Dialysis is a method of treatment that employs a machine to remove waste matter from blood, and is used upon individuals with dysfunctional kidneys. Interviewee, Nurse D, is a veteran of the artificial dialysis room, and is in a position to oversee the state of patients and the work of other colleagues. The dialysis room has a distinctive layout: the beds where patients lie are arranged along the walls, and the nurse station is located in the centre of the room. The conditions are such that from the nurse station Nurse D can see the patients and the care given to the patients by the other nurses. Artificial dialysis is a method of treatment that takes a very long time - one round of dialysis takes 5-6 hours. As patients must remain lying during that whole time, it is necessary for medical staff to observe the patients at all times. This means that, watching patients and other medical staff, the "gaze" of Nurse D displays strong authority over the form of standard care given in the room. Of importance, however, is the fact that such an authoritative relationship originates in the spacial structure of the room. This structure closely resembles the famous panopticon (a system for observing a complete view) devised by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), and a similar thing to what occurs in the artificial dialysis room was also pointed out by Michel Foucault (1926-1984). To put it another way: the whole of the room can be seen from the nurse station, and that fact itself achieves the function of overseeing (regardless of whether there is actually someone there watching).

Another problem is the structure of time. Patients who visit the dialysis room must do so three times a week for 5-6 hours of medical treatment each time, and medical staff spend that long time with them. For this reason the dependent relationship that patients have upon nurses arises quite naturally.

It was clear from the interview with Nurse D that although Nurse D watches the surroundings in person and is aware of being in a position that must act authoritatively over colleagues and patients, she is not conscious of that being determined by the structure of space and time in dialysis treatment. She herself believes that this practice is carried out entirely for the sake of the patients. According to Professor Murakami, it is essentially an unconscious structure, and it performs the role of a "horizon" by which behaviour is facilitated on a conscious level. It is different from psychological unconsiousness that is said to exist within the inner consciousness, and should rather be called "phenomenological unconsiousness (inconscient phénoménologique)". In fact, after the interview, Nurse D left the dialysis room and began working in the sphere of home-visit nursing. Her views on nursing practice held hitherto changed, and she began to think not about falling into a dependent relationship with patients, but about wishing them to "move on".

The second lecture day (one lecture) analysed an interview with a nurse in a chidren's clinic (Nurse F) who has severely disabled younger sisters. Nurse F's two younger sisters have brain damage, to the extent that the older one is unable to speak; when Nurse F was a child and that sister collapsed with convulsions she was not allowed to see her. Her family gave no explanation as to what had happened to her sister, but would merely say to Nurse F, "you understand (=keep quiet)" concerning her sisters' disability. In other words, what we have here is a lack of "visibility" regarding the sisters' disability, and "alienation", and this lies in the background of Nurse F's choice to become a nurse at a children's clinic.

Nurse F felt somehow embarrassed if her sisters were seen by other people, and tried not to speak about them, but as a nurse and by coming into contact with patients with disabilities and observing their lives she began to think that "disability is no big thing". She says that she can now talk normally about her sisters. This situation can be analysed in the following way: with the "visibility" of the physical body of patients as starting point, Nurse F discovered a horizon for action

The lecture then introduced an example of how Nurse F gained a horizon for new action through contact with a terminally ill patient, which facilitated action that surpassed the care given as a nurse (helping to write consent for a dignified death, etc.). These examples show that actions have a structure that is a horizon for relationships, and that even in such personal and particular actions as these we can find some universality in that structure.

Professor Yasuhiko Murakami

Classes by Professor Vincent Giraud (2013)

Three classes were given by Professor Vincent Giraud over two weeks from 3 June.

Lectures handled the writing of Saint Augustine (354-430), father of early Christianity, and shed light on existential aspects of his thought. The central text was Confessions, with particular focus on the discussion of time found in Volume 11. According to Augustine, although time is something we all understand, nobody can explain what it is. Time has three forms: past, present and future, yet past contains an element of "no longer", and future, "not yet". This means that past and future do not exist, and the only one that we have is present. What, however, is the present? For example, over the period of a year, whilst we are living through one month, the other months are either in the future or the past. It follows that only one month of the year is the present, but then there is a single day within that month, and a single hour within that day... Time that can be called the present shrinks down without limits, until it ultimately becomes nothing. Consequently, the only time that is in existence - the present - has no length, and is hard to capture. We feel the passing of time, however, and we judge its length. Herein lies the difficulty of explaining time.

According to Augustine, time is something sensed by us, and so it is related to the mind. When we talk about events in the past and future, those events are already in our minds, so that the three forms of time - past, present, and future - are actually "the present about the past", "the present about the present", and "the present about the future", Augustine states. The present about the past is memory (memoria), the present about the present is intuition/sight (contuitus), and the present about the future is expectation (expectatio). These three are behind the functioning (intentio) of the mind, while time is a distention/stretching out (distentio) of this functioning of the mind.

Understanding the world in the form of a distention, that is, time, is a fundamental condition of humanity in Augustine. Yet at the same time, when humans are conscious of something they also usually add an explanation to it. Understanding the pure reality of something, without the engagement of time, is possible only by God, although humans - the created - seize reality through their original sin. The word distentio is in fact used in places in Confessions with the meaning of "dispersion". Human consciousness that can only operate within the diversity of time (past, present and future) indicates our sin and incompleteness since we distanced ourselves from the one and only God. Human existence therefore is inevitably set to disperse its own life. For this reason Augustine grasps time - the structure of human consciousness - as an existential method.

The above explanation of the working of time is described as "inauthentic" in the thought of Augustine. However, the contrasting "authentic" working does not transcend time, and exists through a method different from distentio. It reconsiders the individual events in a human life, and by interpreting their meaning, reassembles a dispersed life into one whole. Confessions is moreover an exploration of Augustine's own life; an attempt to uncover the significance of "the search for God" in his life full of doubt. The existential problem of time in Augustine, therefore, can be understood as an ethical issue of how to live life.

Professor Vincent Giraud

Student Workshop (University of Tokyo) (2013)

On Saturday, 15 June, a workshop centring on the students was held at the University of Tokyo: in the staff room of Hobun II Building in the Faculty of Letters of Hongo Campus. Six students - three from overseas and three from Japan - gave presentations, and students also took a central role in leading the proceedings. The diverse range of themes from different fields of philosophy that were collected together for the workshop as are below:

・ "Two modes of consciousness in Bergson's Essay: 'Subjective' and 'Objective' (Deux modes de la connaissance dans l'Essai de Bergson. « Le subjectif » et « l'objectif»)"
・ "Heidegger and the myth of interiority (Heidegger et le mythe de l'intériorité)"
・ "The phenomenal field in the early thought of Merleau-Ponty (Le champ phénoménal dans les premières pensées de Merleau-Ponty)"
・ "Christian philosophy that opposes 'vital imanence'. The response of Saint Pie X to a modern philosophical aberration (La philosophie chrétienne contre 'l'immanence vitale'. La réplique de Saint Pie X à une aberration philosophique moderne)"
・ "Lyotard's reading of Freud : the strategy of 'figure' (Lyotard lisant Freud : la stratégie de la « figure »)"
・ "The sublime and teleological reflection in Marc Richir and Edmund Husserl (Le sublime et la réfléction téléologique chez Marc Richir et Edmund Husserl)"

Each theme was of great interest, and provided the workshop with a cross-section of differing specialist fields. Of great inspiriation was how we helped each other to understand the content of research in specialisations other than our own. It also felt like an international conference, its small scale even facilitating this in the sense that colleagues, usually separated by their research environments East and West, were able to develop discussion under their mutual understanding of philosophy. After the presentations there was opportunity to socialise as a reward for everybody's efforts and in praise of their academic achievements.

Scene of the hall

Student giving presentation

Students engaged in question and answers

Classes by Professor Kazuyuki Hara (2013)

A series of three classes was given by Professor Kazuyuki Hara over the three weeks from 24 May.

Classes were entitled "l'analyse et le désir (Analysis and desire). In psychoanalysis, the word "analysis" is commonly used to refer to psychoanalysis, but these lectures were based on the origin of the general notion of "analysis" and its historical changes. They aimed at revealing how the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) is positioned within the general notion of analysis, and also how newness in the notion of analysis is brought about in particular by Lacan's theory of desire.

In order to set up a firm foundation for psychoanalysis, Jacques Lacan conducted a reexamination of Freud's work. These lectures, however, discussed the new theory that Lacan brought to psychoanalysis, and drew comparison with the "analytic revolution (révolution analytique)" that occurred in the mathematical world of late 18th century France. The analytic revolution refers to developments in mathematical education that saw the beginnings of an educational programme for a new generation of theorists, producing mathematicians such as Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736-1813), Sylvestre-François Lacroix (1765-1843), and Gaspard Monge (1746-1818). As a result, analysis, that had been hitherto a mere technique for calculation in geometry, became an academic discipline in its own right, and gained much greater significance than simply as a calculation method.

Analysis is of course not the same thing as psychoanalysis, yet both share the essence of analysis. There have always been two origins to the notion of analyis: one is in Euclidean geometry, and the other, Aristotle's Logic. In the former, analysis is the element of supposition that comes before the prediction of a conclusion, while in the latter it is the element of decomposition (décomposition) of an argument into simpler parts. The analytic art (art analytique) systemized by François Viète (1540-1603) combines these two elements to create a method of algebraic calculation. The psychoanalysis of Freud also employs the two elements of analysis, making a supposition on unconscious desire behind the words and actions of a neurosis patient, and then analyzing and considering the words and actions of the patient in order to support that supposition.

The distinctive feature of Lacan's theory of desire was its show of seemingly applying the structure of analytic behaviour to human existence in general, based on a detailed examination of Freud's analytical method. These lectures discussed the plan of "postulate of desire (postulat du désir)" that Lacan set out in an early thesis, as well as reexamination of the Oedipus complex advocated by Freud, to find that Lacan revealed through his theory the existence of an "analytic moment (moment analytique)" of "supposition and decomposition" that we necessarily encounter when we try to understand someone else. In this way, Lacan expanded the notion of analysis beyond neurosis patients to cover universal human essence. We can say, then, in that sense, that psychoanalysis is another form of "analytic revolution (révolution analytique)".

Professor Kazuyuki Hara

Classes by Professor Hisashi Fujita (2013)

Three lectures were given by Professor Hisashi Fujita over the 2 weeks from 10-17 May.

The theme of the lectures was "métaphysique et métaphore (metaphysics and metaphor)". Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) discusses the tie between metaphysics and metaphor in Chapter 6 of Le principe de raison (The principle of reason). For Heidegger, Western metaphysics is the transposition from something visible to something invisible, and in that sense, the metaphor of the transposition from the real meaning of words to a figurative meaning possesses a metaphysical meaning. Heidegger goes as far as to say "metaphorical things only exist within metaphysics". The lectures started from this point, with the aim of seeking out the relationship between metaphor and metaphysics, and investigating the many questions this brings about.

The first lecture, by way of introduction, identified the historical position of metaphor in Western thought, and explained how metaphor had come to be been defined. In Poetics and Rhetoric by Aristotle (384-322BC), metaphor is a type of analogy that expresses something suggestively without making clear the comparison. For example, if we use the word "day" to mean youth, and "night" to mean aged, there is a hidden analogy of "the connection between day and night over the period of one day is the same as that of youth and aged in the years of a life". In this sense, Aristotle does not differentiate between metaphor and general analogy, so there is no strict classification. Aristotle's intention, however, was not to classify metaphor simply linguistically, but to elucidate the metaphysical process carried out by poetic language: that is, the process that creates new meaning by adding alterations to pre-existing expressions. However, after Aristotle, metaphor came to be considered as a literary embellishment, or as one linguistic function, and it parted from the realm of philosophy. For example, Seneca (4BC-65AD) said that since it is impossible to give a name to all the things in the world, it is necessary to use a certain name to point to something which is different from what it originally meant (=metaphor). Since the modern era, metaphor has been considered from viewpoints other than that of pure literary expression: in particular César Chesneau Dumarsais (1676-1756) attempted to define metaphor using scientific methods.

However, from ancient until modern times metaphor was normally understood as the result of transporting the meaning of one word to a different word, and accordingly, metaphor was normally considered to have one meaning allocated to it. To consider metaphor philosophically, we need to overcome this univocity.

The second lecture investigated the place of metaphor in the thought of Henri Bergson (1859-1941). Bergson is known on the one hand as master of letters who won the Nobel Prize for literature, but on the other hand we find much criticism of language in his thought. This glimpse would therefore suggest contradictory attitudes.

In Bergson's thought there are two aspects to life. One is "survie (survival)", occupying the realm of utility and necessity. We must take actions in order to lengthen our lives, and we identify and grasp the world based on this necessity. Our everyday ways are governed by this principle of survival, with language and science also belonging in this realm as things that we pursue for their usefulness. There is another aspect to life, however: "sur-vie" - life that has transcended survival. This occupies the realm of the mind, and is a constant movement pushing us towards creation that is unrelated to usefulness. This fluid reality, also called "élan vital (vital force)", is identified and expressed as a fixed thing by our everyday perception, and according to Bergson it is language that plays the central role therein. This is because language uses symbols to generalise the minutiae of reality. In other words, in the thought of Bergson, the commonplace use of language has already determined violence upon present reality. Yet as we know from his own use of much metaphor to explain his own thought, Bergson does not censure the use of language itself. In order to rectify the violence done by language, it is necessary to violate the words themselves (violenter les mots), Bergson declares. Here we find the place of metaphor in Bergson. Everyday language is already one type of metaphor in the sense that it transforms present reality from its actual state, and so to use metaphorical words is no more than to repeat the reversal carried out by language. In this way, creation by language becomes possible for the first time. Accordingly, the life of the author lies in opposing the natural tendency of words, and realising the unrealisable (réaliser l'irréalisable).

Metaphor, that is "violated language", occupies a middle position (l'entre) in Bergson's thought, and that is its distinctive feature. Metaphorical things on the one hand differ from everyday language, that is language based on the necessity of survival, but on the other hand they do not belong in the completely non-linguistic realm of the pure mind. Rather they are things that emerge in a middle position between the two. For that reason, perhaps, figurative expressions used by Bergson himself do not contain any actual new words; nor do his particular analogies and metaphors have any decisive importance.

The third lecture dealt with the argument between Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) and Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) on the subject of metaphor. Derrida presented his La mythologie blanche (White mythology) in 1971; Ricoeur then included criticism of Derrida's work in La métaphore vive (The living metaphor) of 1975. Furthermore, as a response to this, Derrida published Le retrait de la métaphore (The retreat of metaphor) in 1978, which ends the path of the argument.

The object of Ricoeur's criticism was Derrida's adoption of the idea of "the union between metaphor and metaphysics" that was originally proposed by Heidegger. This means it was also a criticism aimed at Heidegger, in which Ricoeur declared that there should be a differentiation between metaphor (métaphore) and metaphoricity (métaphoricité) in Heidegger's text. Metaphor is the shift from an extant meaning to a different extant meaning, and includes nothing new therein. In contrast, the numerous metaphorical expressions found in Heidegger's work showed hitherto unclarified content, and Ricoeur insisted that this was different from simple metaphor.

The notion of "living metaphor" advocated by Ricoeur has as its forefront the differentiation between metaphor and metaphoricity. The living metaphor is the creative process of hatching new meaning, and can be differentiated from catachresis (catachrèse) that reuses extant expressions out of necessity governed by the limits of vocabulary. The latter is then, so to say, "dead metaphor". Living metaphor becomes exhausted, with signs of usury (usure); we could suppose here a process of entropy whereby it turns into dead metaphor. Ricoeur declares that philosophy gives new meaning to exhausted metaphor and produces living metaphor. As the notion of philosophy is born from (at leastly partly) dead metaphor, there must be an essential link between philosophy and metaphor. However, making metaphor a living thing does not signify simply reviving a dead thing, but involves letting it live again by other means, Ricoeur states. In this meaning, philosophy, the birth product of living metaphor, must belong to a different realm from metaphor.

In opposition to the above, Derrida, in White mythology, declares that the realm of metaphor can always be supplemented, so that limits and controls are impossible. In other words, metaphor is an open realm of infinite expanse whose whole is structured not from specific words and expressions, but from extant expressions, that is exhausted metaphor. Derrida suggests that this supplementality (supplémentalité) possessed by metaphor exerts influence on the notion of philosophy. As a result we cannot draw a clear line between philosophy and metaphor. We see that from hereon Derrida equates the usury of metaphor with its own shift into a notion. The criticism had upon Derrida by Ricoeur is directed towards this confusion. It argued that the dying process of metaphor is a different thing from the birth process of living metaphor. We can say that the discrepancies between Ricoeur and Derrida are founded on this point.

However, neither Ricoeur nor Derrida wished to lose metaphor in the realm of notions, and they agree on the point that poetic language (=metaphor) recognises the meaning that it itself has. Both shared the belief that metaphor should be treated with respect for its meaning that cannot be reduced into notions.

Professor Hisashi Fujita

Professor Fujita and his students

Classes by Professor Masato Goda (2013)

Professor Masato Goda of Meiji University gave a series of three lectures. The précis below introduces a part of the lectures concerning commentary on E.Lévinas (1906-1995), which is Professor Goda's specialisation, and that is of particular interest to the writer of this report. (Professor Goda's first work on Lévinas is the following: Lévinas no shiso: kibo no yoran [The thought of Lévinas: the origin of hope], Kobundo, 1988.)

The main theme of the lectures was a commentary on "conatus" found in Lévinas and the mention of Spinoza. As is well known, Lévinas makes reference to Spinoza as early as his first-period essay, La théorie de l'intuition dans la phénoménologie de Husserl (The theory of intuition in Husserl's phenomenology; 1930), while later, in Part I of his Totalité et Infini (Totality and Infinity; 1961) Lévinas criticises spinozisme (spinozism). The question arises here of why Lévinas refers to "spinozism" rather than to "Spinoza". There is evidence that Lévinas' teacher, L. Brunschvicg (1869-1944) was also conscious of this differentiation. In order to clarify this issue we considered Lévinas' commentary and critique on "conatus essendi (the effort of being)" that was deeply conscious of Spinoza's Ethica (Ethics; 1677), and also the notion of "hypostase (sub-stance)" that points to the creation of "self-interested I" or "ego" from "il y a (there is)", and how it disappears in the argument of Totalité et Infini to be replaced by "jouissance (enjoyment)" and "bonheur (happiness)". Results indicated that, despite being viewed as anti-conatus, the ethical thought of Lévinas takes on the genealogy of the notion of conatus throughout philosophical history, as well as the spirit of générosité (generosity) of Descartes, etc. Moreover, we saw the possibility that Lévinas himself was conscious of that which is called spinozism as not being Spinoza. As is widely known, Lévinas made clear his anti-Spinoza standpoint, but we understood through these lectures how unusually complicated is the relationship between the two. (Below is an example of a study by Professor Goda concerning Lévinas and Spinoza: "Conatus and ethics: Lévinas' interpretation of Spinoza", Spinozana: Spinoza Society Annual Report No. 2, Gakuju shoin, 2000.)

Professor Masato Goda

Classes by Professor Osamu Kanamori (2013)

Professor Osamu Kanamori of the University of Tokyo gave a series of two lectures.

The first lecture had as its theme "Rationalité Scientifique et Praxéologie Orientale (Scientific rationality and Oriental behavioural science [Praxeology])". It centred on Kunihiko Hashida (1882-1945), Japanese physiologist representative of the Taisho Era (1912-26), and introduced his scientific works such as Seirigaku yôkô (Principle of Physiology; 1923). Hashida had great reverence for Zen master Dôgen (1200-1253) and was also annotator of his Shôbô Genzô (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye); the lecture gave an explanation of the relationship between science and Zen in Hashida, and of the notion of "Zenkisei (physiological holism)". We then focussed on the behavioural science of Hashida, and his "Science of Gyô". Based on his particular way of thinking that sees a laboratory as a "dôjô" (martial arts hall), we shed light on the relationship between moral behaviour and the physiology found in Hashida. (The following published work by Professor Kanamori brings together Hashida's theories: Shizenshugi no rinkai [The Critical Point in Naturalism], Keisô shobô, 2004.)

Theme of the second lecture was "Un cas du darwinisme social au Japon moderne (A Case of darwinism in modern Japan)". A commentary was given on the thought of the Meiji-period Japanese bureaucrat and politician, Hiroyuki Katô (1836-1916). Early on in his career Katô wrote the major work Tonari gusa (Neighbouring grasses; 1861) which proposed in precise terms a constitutional government for China. As an enlightenment thinker he advocated equality, writing Shinsei Taii (Outline of True Governance; 1870) which explained the thought behind a superior constitution. Later, however, Katô was influenced by Darwin (1809-1882) and E. Haeckel (1834-1919), and began a change in direction towards Darwinism. In Jinken Shinsetsu (New Theory on Human Rights) of 1882 he made clear criticism of civil rights' ideology from the point of view of social evolution, and this gave rise to conflict. Our lecture brought attention to the notion of "yûshô reppai (survival of the fittest)" that appears in this work as part of "seizon ronsô (the struggle for existence)". As an example of Katô's philosophical work of his later years we were introduced in particular to Shizen to Rinri (Nature and Ethics; 1912), and the arguments therein of "shakai yûkitairon (theory of social organism)", "riko (egoism)" and "rita (altruism)". A consideration of these revealed an image of Katô as biological materialist. (A piece on Hiroyuki Katô by Professor Kanamori can be found in the following: Dictionnaire du Darwinisme et de l'Evolution [Dictionary of Darwinism and Evolution], F-N, Paris, P.U.F., January 1996, pp.2434-2442.)

Professor Osamu Kanamori

Classes by Professor Tetsuya Kono (2013)

Professor Tetsuya Kono of Rikkyo University gave two lectures on the theme of "Towards an Ecology of the Mind (Vers une écologie de l'esprit)".

The first dealt mainly with the American psychologist, J.J. Gibson (1904-1979). We were introduced to the work of Gibson until the scholarship of his last years, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception (1979). Then we heard an explanation of the notion of "affordance", a term central to his Ecological Psychology. "Affordance" is a word coined by Gibson by making a noun from "afford", and points to the character of the environment in connection with how animals can act and how they should act. Ecology is the Bioscience of research into the mutual functions of animals and environment, and it was from this idea of ecology that Gibson attempted to reveal a new psychology. This is in stark contrast, for example, with the solipsistic interiority of Descartes philosophy. In other words, according to Gibson, the mind exists in the relationship between body and environment. Gibson's psychology has been introduced and applied to art and architecture, industrial design, education etc. (An example of Professor Kono's work published on this subject is the below: "Mind" Exists Outside the Body, NHK Books, February 2006.) Furthermore, we heard commentary on a notion following Gibson's thinking of "The Extended Mind" proposed by A. Clark and D. Chalmers.

In continuation, the second lecture considered "pain" in a form applicable to Gibson's thought. We can say that all the suffering we experience in our everyday lives is something difficult to define in a single word. For example, physical pain is generally considered to be a personal thing, but in an intersubjective or social context this might not be the case. Based on this point, examples were raised of chronic suffering in real scenes of medical treatment, with quotes from arguments by medical anthropologist A. Kleinman, sociologist J. Cole, and the discussion of the "phantom limb" in M.Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception (Phénoménologie de la perception) (1945). These provided varied interpretations surrounding "pain".

These lectures gave the blogger the opportunity to realise the inner truths of Gibson's thought, and how well it applies to real life in various fields.

Professor Tetsuya Kono

Classes by Professor Izumi Suzuki (2013)

Three classes were given by Professor Izumi Suzuki of the University of Tokyo. The lectures on this occasion centred on the philosophy of G. Deleuze, and the theme was "Deleuze and disjunctive logic". (An example of scholarship published by Professor Suzuki that is of reference to the lectures is the following: "Deleuze philosophy: 1945-1969", in Gendai shisō [Present-day ideology] "The philosophy of Deleuze", Volume 30, Number 10, Seidosha, 2002, pp. 125-147.)

Titles of each lecture are as below:
1. Transcendental empiricism in Difference and repetition (Différence et repetition)
2. Notion of "difference" found in M. Heidegger and Deleuze
3. "Ritournelle" in Thousand plateaus (Mille plateaux)
"Transcendental empiricism" made a particular impression upon the blogger, and below is a partial introduction to the background of its arguments.

The philosophy of Deleuze is said to be transcendental philosophy in all its aspects. However, he criticized and added alterations to the transcendental philosophy originating in Kant philosophy whilst being deeply influenced by it. According to Deleuze, Kant searched for transcendentalism in the "transcription (décalque)" of the framework of everyday experience. In this action, a vicious circle emerges around the conditions of transcendental things and empirical things. Deleuze stated that this should be severed, and aimed at searching for essential conditions for the generation of experience. For this process, Deleuze first took the view of the generation of experience by transcendental things. However, as these are not exempt from the vicious circle, they display continuous metempirics. According to him, everyday experience emerges from the stable and harmonious working of the faculties of sensitivity and rationality, but if this occurs without such harmony, then metempirics come into existence. This is real experience made possible by "difference" and "encounter (rencontre)" creating a forceful opportunity. Also, the faculties do not work together, and it is when they become inharmonious that they truly begin to function, he declared. Furthermore, metempirics do not stay as they are, but become something transcendental, and it is this that Deleuze talks of as transcendental empiricism. Transcendental things and empirical things then form an original connection, wherein the problem arises of "inhumanistic" experience.
The above conveys only a part of the content of the first lecture as the blogger understood it. The other lectures also, however, considered fascinating topics on Deleuze philosophy in the context of the history of thought.

Professor Izumi Suzuki

Florence Caeymaex Lecture Meeting (Meiji University) (2013)

A lecture meeting by Professor Florence Caeymaex of University of Liège, Belgium, was held from 4pm on Saturday, 20 April in Meiji University Surugadai Campus, Liberty Tower, Room 1075. The title of the presentation was "Politics and bio-power: do we need live politics? (Politique et biopouvoirs : avons-nous besoin d'une politique de la vie ?)". (An example of research by Professor Caeymaex in connection with the presentation is given below: « Le concept de biopolitique est-il un concept critique ? », in Medicalizzazione, sorveglianza e biopolitica. A partire da Michel Foucault (a cura di Natascia Mattucci, Gianluca Vagnarelli), Milano- Udine, Mimesis filosofie, 13-29. [2012]).

The presentation handled chiefly the debate on "bio-politics" to be found in Birth of the Prison, Surveillance and Punishment (Naissance de la prison, Surveiller et punir) (1970) by M. Foucault (1926-1984). As is well known, Foucault termed "bio-power" the post-modern method of political power that attempts to govern citizens from the inside: by ruling and administering as a positive penetration in people's lives, through the individual body or the whole population. (This differs from the image of political power from ancient times that declared if people did not obey the rules they would be killed; if they did they would be left alone). Foucault saw "bio-power" as overturning the common image since the modern age of acknowledged freedom of individuals, or, rather, understood that power had been achieved that was a device for administering the individual. Dissemination of this thinking has given birth to much related research up to the present day, particularly in the field of human sciences.

However, assuming this "bio-power" is wielded by "live politics", the debate around it includes real issues such as what kind of laws and policies can justify that power? Also, in connection with philosophy, there are large obstacles in discussing Foucault's power theory particularly in the context of modern political philosophy that discusses important themes such as freedom and equality in relation to power. Amidst this debate, Italian philosopher R. Esposito (1950-), for example, suggests that when talking about politics we should change our vocabulary - and in extension the notional structure of historical political philosophy itself.

This presentation by Professor Caeymaex questioned the correct method of live theory, whilst comparing thinkers such as H.Arendt (1906-1975) and G. Canguilhem (1904-1995), and in so doing, sought possibility for an attempt at reform - rather than building a new notional structure from nothing - from the perspective of "anthropology": the basis of modern political philosophy.

Professor Caeymaex is also researcher at the National Fund for Scientific Research, where she specialises in socio-political thought. It was incredibly fortunate for us to hear a report on her latest research on this occasion whilst visiting Japan.

Professor Caeymaex
Professor Caeymaex and Professor Masato Goda in the Chair
Professor Osamu Kanamori during questions and answers

Kijima and Hoquet Lecture Meeting (Hosei University) (2013)

A symposium was held at Hosei University on 16 April, and we heard presentations from Professor Thierry Hoquet of University of Lyon III, and Mr. Taizo Kijima, doctoral researcher at Hosei University.

Firstly, Mr. Kijima's presentation investigated whether the discussion of Epicureanism that the character, Philo, develops in Dialogues concerning Natural Religion by David Hume (1710-1776), is a forerunner of Darwin's theory of evolution. The character Philo who appears in Dialogues concerning Natural Religion criticizes the stance called "design theory" that seeks God's design in the complexity of nature, instead, developing several explanatory theories for the natural world in place of design theory. One of these is the epicureanistic viewpoint on which Kijima focused in his presentation. A feature of epicuraeanism is thought to be its negation of teleology, while the natural world functions by chance, but Philo adds several amendments to these ideas, attempting to understand the world as a self-supporting world through the movement of erratic particles.
The epicureanistic cosmology proposed by Philo has links with Darwin in many points, but Kijima argues that we cannot count Hume as an originator of the notion of natural selection. Natural selection is concerned with the process of capturing special characteristics that will adapt a living being to its environment, whereas the world system devised by Philo is one created instantly as a whole - lacking the element that determines Darwin's thinking, of "variation by rebirth". Even if we can say that Hume held an idea that was in one way forerunner to evolution theory, it is confined to the one aspect, "Hume as epicureanist"; in great contrast, Hume himself, at the same time, lived life as a thinker within the tradition of natural religion. Kijima introduced this point by showing how in Dialogues concerning Natural Religion Philo acknowledges a certain compromise with design theory.

Following Mr. Kijima, the presentation given by Professor Hoquet was entitled, "Darwin teleologist? The book on Orchids and the question of Design".
When Darwin announced his Origin of Species in 1859, there was much contemporary criticism that it was not founded on experimental evidence. So Darwin attempted to prove the theory of natural selection by observation research of orchids. That research culminated in a paper of 1862 titled "The Various Contivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilized by Orchids". This presentation deals centrally with this paper on orchids, and aims at giving a definite answer to the question, "Is Darwin a teleologist?".
There are 2 meanings of teleology: one is the indication of a certain design in the existence of contrivances within nature, and the other is the prediction that, from the fact that such design exists, there must be some sort of creator at the base of it. If we understand this creator to be God, then teleology becomes at the same time theology. There are various critiques of Darwin on the problem of teleology: some such as Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) interpreted Darwin's system as a "deathblow" to teleology, whilst Rudolf Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905) understood Darwin as a pure teleologist. There were even some for whom Darwin's theory provided a framework fundamental to natural theology. Basis for the hypothesis that Darwin was a dysteleologist lies in the fact that natural selection has no predetermined destination; this is a standpoint emphasizing what Darwin suggested in Origin of Species. On the other hand the proposal that links Darwin with teleology is founded on the point that Darwin saw design in certain species within the contrivances of living things in the natural world. This is the standpoint seen by many in the content of the paper "The Orchids".
From the above, Hoquet states that in one sense it was Darwin's intention to give rise to various conflicting opinions through his theory. Darwin himself declared that his theory acknowledges interpretation from a theological viewpoint, and it was not his desire to encourage antagonism between the theological and atheist (or teleological and dysteleological) viewpoints. The presentation concluded that Darwin opened his own arguments to anything from atheism to natural theology, and as a result, permitted many interpretations.

Mr. Kijima and Professor Hoquet
Scene in the hall

Ciprian Jeler Lecture Meeting (University of Tokyo) (2013)

From 3.30pm on Monday, 22 April a lecture meeting was held in the staff meeting room in 2F Hobun II Building of Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo, and was a lecture given by Professor Ciprian Jeler of Alexandru Ioan CuzaUniversity of Iaşi, Romania. His presentation title on this occasion was "The Price approach to multi-level selection scenarios and its implications for individual and group selection". (An example of Professor Jeler's research related to this presentation is the following: "What Does Multi-level Selection Tell us about the Causal Nature of Natural Selection?" [Philosophy Abstracts 7th Annual
International Conference on Philosophy 28-31 May 2012, Athens, Greece]).

Beginning with research of "action" as found in H. Bergson (1859-1941), Professor Jeler, who is concerned with the Philosophy of Biology, then commentated in his presentation upon the debate around "group selection" and "individual selection" that arise in the theory of "natural selection", also examining the "multi-level selection theory" advocated by Elliott Sober (1948-) and D.S. Wilson (1949-).

In the case of the premise that living things act with the aim of protection of their species, "natural selection" can be understood as "group selection", by considering their working as a species or group rather than as an individual. It can be concluded that this altruism, that is, a group of many individuals whose actions prioritise others rather than themselves within a group of different animals or fellow members, makes it easy to survive. The concept of "group selection" found popularity in the 1950s, but since then it has drawn criticism from the likes of Richard Dawkins (1941-), and the view has strengthened that "natural selection" means working for the individual. The most powerful argument is the "Inclusive Fitness Theory". Although there has been a retreat in the thinking of "group selection", there is consideration of "natural selection" as working on various levels such as family, individual and genes: in other words, that it works on a multi-level. Sober and Wilson believe that this could mean the revival of "group selection" theory.

The presentation had much specialist content, and it saw participation from scholars of biology as well as philosophy. It proved a valuable opportunity to discover the latest moves in research in this field.

Professors Jeler and Suzuki(Chair)
Scene in the meeting room
Professor Jeler

Classes by Professor Ciprian Jeler (2013)

Professor Ciprian Jeler of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, Romania, gave a series of 6 classes. Their theme was "Aspects of Causality in Current Debates on the Theory of Evolution (Aspects de la causalité dans les débats actuels sur la théorie de l'évolution)", and they chiefly provided a commentary on the history of research in the field centring round the issues of evolution theory. An example of research by Professor Jeler related to these lectures can be found in the following: "Causal partitioning and causal status in multi-level natural selection"[Evidence and Causality in the Sciences Canterbury, 5-7 September 2012]by the Centre for Reasoning at the University of Kent.

The blogger is new to biology, but will mention the 2 most interesting points of the lectures. The first is the great problem of how should the concept of "natural selection" be understood post Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and his evolution theory; in other words, should we interpret "natural selection" as having accidental nature, or should we explain it more in causal terms as has been fervently debated in the philosophy of biology? The second point concerns the debate on "group selection" and "individual selection" within "natural selection" that has been continuing since the 1950s, and the problem of which interpretation is more persuasive.

I was impressed whilst listening to the lectures by how precisely - much more so than I had imagined - current research is directed into the above issues. For example, regarding the latter point, in accordance with the thinking behind the "multi-level selection theory" proposed by Elliott Sober (1948-) and D. S. Wilson (1949-), I felt that it would be difficult to unilaterally support either of the "individual selection" and "group selection" theories. Furthermore, by showing the connection between the issue of "causality" and the "price equation" and "multi-level selection" devised by American population geneticist, George Price, we discovered how to look probingly into the issue, and also to consider its validity: testament to Professor Jeler's deep interest in the subject.

The lectures, contained specialist biology, yet Professor Jeler's easily understood explanation made it possible to learn much about the issues at the heart of the field, and also the various approach methods in use.

Professor Jeler

Classes by Professor Florence Caeymaex (2013)

A series of lectures (6 times) on phenomenology were given by Professor Florence Caeymaex over the 2 weeks from 8-19 April. The central theme of the lectures was "finitude", and their main content was an explanation of the establishing of phenomenology beginning with Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) and how the thought of Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) is linked to it. Rather than developing one argument along a theme, the lectures provided an overall explanation of phenomenology.

During the first and second lectures, Words and Things (Les mots et les choses) by Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Phenomenology of Perception (Phénoménologie de la perception) by Merleau-Ponty were raised in order to explain historical and ideological changes surrounding the notion of finitude. In Words and Things Foucault attempted to shed light on the historical formation of the notion of "humans", but according to him the understanding of humans as a finite existence was formed after the modern age (in particular Kant). Humans in the modern age began to acknowledge themselves as an historical product in the same way as other living beings, and the theme of human finitude emerged. Modern age philosophy is also built upon the understanding of finitude, and Foucault raises phenomenology as representive of this.

Third and fourth lectures centred on Heidegger's Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (Kant et le problème de la métaphysique) and explained how Heidegger understood human finitude as the central proposition in Kant philosophy, and how Heidegger's own philosophy was built upon the basis of finitude.

Fifth and sixth lectures handled French phenomenology (chiefly Sartre), and we learned in what ways this differs from the thinking of Husserl. Husserl tried to suspend judgement (épochè) made through the perception of our natural standpoint, "bracketing (mettre en parenthèse)" everything perceived - indeed the existence of the world itself - and to follow an understanding of things as they are. This process is called phenomenological reduction (réduction phénoménologique), and through it, Husserl discovered two characteristics of essence had by experiences of perception. One is "transcendental subjectivity (subjectivité transcendantale)", which is the act of absolute consciousness, and the other is the "intentionality (intentionnalité)" of consciousness, which is the fact that consciousness is always a consciousness of something. For Husserl, transcendental subjectivity is the primary evidence that provides the basis for experience, but this subjectivity indicates only ones own experience, and fails to necessitate proof of the existence of others, or the world. Consciousness, however, always brings with it intentionality. In the thought of Husserl, then, conscious experience is always defined as unfolding towards the world, and as an open journey.
French phenomenologists such as Sartre and Merleau-Ponty succeed Husserl in phenomenology in part. Their interest lies mainly in the intentionality of consciousness, while they were doubtful towards transcendental subjectivity. Also, Husserl's phenomenology intended to build the basis for scholarship, yet this intention is nowhere to be seen in Sartre or Merleau-Ponty. In French phenomenology, consciousness is passive and finite, and absolute character of the kind found in Husserl is abolished.
From this point lectures focused on Sartre, and demonstrated that his thought was structured with its base in the finitude of humans. Sartre criticized phenomenological reduction, and declared that natural standpoint could not be bracketed, because subjectivity discovered within the phenomenological standpoint is forever the intended object, meaning that Husserl's transcendental subjectivity cannot be formed. Sartre's idea is that the act of consciousness does not presume subjectivity such as self or cogito, and that the existence of consciousness is chance. Sartre, in Being and Nothingness (L'Etre et le néant), declares the essence of consciousness is its lack of substance, and also its power of nullification (néantisation) that is in constant denial of identifying self (identité à soi). On one hand, consciousness is consciousness about something, usually intending upon something in this world. In other words, that means the search for something that does not justify itself. On the other hand, however, assigned to consciousness in such a case are numerous situations that one could not possibly have chosen, so that the essence of consciousness lies in escaping from those accidental situations. The assigned situations are accepted as they are, and the only way to differentiate consciousness from merely existing things is by the fact that consciousness denies existence. Sartre calls these features of consciousness freedom, but this freedom is an ontological condition, and as the being of consciousness (humans) cannot escape from the fact of freedom, then freedom must put limitations upon the being of consciousness. In this way, Sartre proposes the being of consciousness (humans) as existence torn between conflicting elements.

Professor Florence Caeymaex
Professor Caeymaex's class

Classes by Professor Thierry Hoquet (2013)

On the afternoon of 15 April, Professor Thierry Hoquet of the University of Lyon III gave a one-day lecture series (2 lectures).

Lectures handled the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the particular theme being the notion of "sexual selection". Darwin's natural selection is well known, while sexual selection is a notion derived from natural selection that means that males of the same species fight in order to win a female. Among Darwin's works, this notion is only lightly touched upon in Origin of Species (1859), but forms the central theme of his later The Descent of Man (1871).

What are the distinctive features of sexual selection? Natural selection is foremost the "fight for survival", but as survival depends upon adaption to the environment, "fight" here is only meant in figurative terms, and no entity exists that makes that selection. In contrast, in sexual selection, males actually fight with each other.and the female is the one to make the selection of the victorious male. It also differs from natural selection in that the loser does not die, but suffers the disadvantages of being unable to produce descendants.

Today, sexual selection is seen as the most essential form of natural selection, but what Darwin advocated as sexual selection was just a tentative theory in response to difficulties that accompanied the notion of natural selection. For example, there is a bird living in a region with no green areas whose beak is green. The colour of its beak only makes concealing itself difficult, and it is of no particular advantage to its survival. Natural selection can provide no answer as to why it is that colour. It is sexual selection that can explain the existence of such a decorative feature unbeneficial to survival: "in order to attract females". From sexual selection emerged the phenomenon of dimorphism, where the male and female forms are different within the same species. It manifests itself in the development of weaponry or decoration (beak or wing colour etc.). John Bateman (1919-1996) discovered from observation experiments on flies that the male breeding success rate depended on environment, while the female breeding success rate was unrelated to environment. He concluded that the reason was a difference in role of males and females. According to Bateman, males were not picky with whom they bred, yet females took selecting a mate seriously in order to devote all their energy into breeding. This is the reason for sexual selection.

Males fighting each other, and females choosing their males may seem at a glance to be roles for each sex forming a symmetry, but actually this is not the case. Inter-male fighting encourages the development of weaponry in males, and, again, it is the development of decoration in males that encourages selection by females. In other words, sexual selection only works upon males. This way of considering sexual selection was much criticized from a feminist perspective by Antoinette Blackwell (1825-1921) and Sarah Blaffer Hardy (1946-) etc. Reasoning behind this was that to believe in sexual selection would be to allow the idea that women had not evolved. In particular, the notion of gender (sex as formed by society) advocated by Robert Stoller (1924-1991) indicated that social elements are already entangled in what we talk about as (biological) sex. That means that even what we think of as a biological necessity is in fact something that has been structured historically. For example in ancient times it was thought that male and female genitals were the same, but presented in a different form. Thus there was no precise classification between male and female. The "male and female" differentiation itself, then, had already been established through the inclusion of social elements.

Based on the above, the Darwin/Bateman model of sexual selection is insufficient, and needs to be further expanded. The necessity, however, stems not from demands of a feminist perspective, but rather because the old model is simply not truthful. Bateman's proposal that in the large proportion of living species the female expends a large amount of energy in breeding does not necessarily ring true for some groups. In the case of birds, the female may lay the eggs, but it is often the male who incubates and looks after the young.

Finally, having discussed sexual relationships in living things, the lectures raised a number of problematic points. For example, when, in sexual selection, the female chooses the male, what is the basis for the choice? In biology, the "capacity to produce descendants" is generally given as such a basis, but establishing such a universal basis predicts that all individuals of the same sex choose a mate on the same basis, and there is no consideration of individual differences. In addition, the act of sex and the act of breeding are two different things. The fact that many living species show signs of homosexuality indicates that breeding is not the only aim of sexual relationships. The problem in the end lies in anthropomorphism. When we observe phenomena in the natural world, we inevitably apply our own view to the observation. For example, the female of a certain bird leaves the male with whom it first copulated, and then copulates with another male, which we call "cuckold (cocuage)". By calling it by this term we are describing events in the natural world using our own socially structured standpoint. There is a danger here of socializing nature, and at the same time, the reverse: a danger of naturalizing society. If we search for biological origins in the behaviour of human society, the possibility arises of concluding that, for example, rape is no more than a strategy for breeding, and that it is not abnormal behaviour.

How should we deal with this problem? If we are to dismiss biology itself as no more than a social product, then we cannot leave biology only to biologists, says Professor Hoquet. In order to avoid a naturalization crisis we need to take great care in the way in which biology addresses nature.

Professor Thierry Hoquet

Rocco Ronchi Lecture Meeting (University of Tokyo) (2013)

Professor Rocco Ronchi of the Univerity of L'Aquila, Italy spoke at a lecture meeting held at the University of Tokyo Komaba Campus, Block 18 4F Collaboration Room, from 6pm on Wednesday, 10 April. The title of the presentation on this occasion was «Blind Intuition : the Debate over Psychoanalysis and Phenomenology in Contemporary Thought (L'intuition aveugle : le débat entre psychanalyse et phénoménologie dans la pensée contemporaine) ».

In this presentation, Ronchi mentioned the « unconcious » advocated by S. Freud (1856-1939), and indicated the relationship between that discovery and the later « real » as proposed by J. Lacan (1901-1981). In order to clarify the essence of the « real », Ronchi took us back in era and field to Auflage der Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Critique of Pure Reason ; first edition 1781, second edition 1787) by I. Kant (1724-1804) and the statement « intuition without notion is blind ». He brought our attention to the words « blind intuition », and interpreted that as « to see (un regarder) ». He then traced the notion of « truth (αλήθεια) » in M. Heidegger (1889-1976), « image » in H. Bergson (1859-1941) and the argument of G. Deleuze (1925-1995) in Cinéma 1 (1983), returning to Freud in relation to his « Primal Scene (Urszene) », thereby deepening understanding of « blind intuition ».

This presentation raised the names of a variety of philosophers as controversialists in its span of a wide range of academic fields, including psychoanalysis. As a result it drew participation from scholars of many different specialisations, who exchanged opinions from differing viewpoints during the question and answer session. It proved an extremely significant presentation.

Professor Rocco Ronchi
Scene in the hall
Professor Ronchi and Chair, Professor Kazuyuki Hara

Jean Gayon Lecture Meeting (University of Tokyo) (2013)

A lecture meeting given by Professor Jean Gayon of University of Paris I was held in Conference Room I of the Faculty of Education, on the Hongo Campus of the University of Tokyo from 4pm on Saturday, 6 April. Title of his presentation on this occasion was « On the Problems of Human Enhancement ». The presentation was based on the following scholarship by Professor Gayon : Simone Bateman and Jean Gayon, « L'amélioration humaine : trois usages, trois enjeux », Médecine/Sciences, n° 10, vol. 28 (October 2012), 887-891.

« Human enhancement » refers to the enhancement, from its present state, of the intellectual and physical capacity of humans, based on neuroscience and cell biology. The aim of Professor Gayon's presentation lay in an overall consideration of what results it brings to us humans, whilst examining research trends to date. In particular, discussion developed with attention to the three different perspectives of « human capacity », « human nature » and « self ».

The first enhancement, « human capacity » , is based on the premise that the human race evolves through hereditary and technological interventions. Characteristic examples were raised that in medicine involve the application of medical methods for non-medical enlargement. They include physical growth by the taking of growth hormones, and increasing of memory by drugs for Alzheimer's disease.

The second enhancement, « human nature » does not only originate in abstract theories ; it is also related to the various fields of philosophy and politics, ethics and religion etc. Examples explaining this can be found in the notion of progress of Condorcet (1743-1794), arguments in eugenics by Francis Galton (1822-1911), and, in recent years, George Annas, and work on applied ethics by John Harris.

The third enhancement, « self » depends mainly on the subjective interpretation of an individual, and the search for « self identity » can be said to lie at its foundation. In particular, in the context of human enhancement, we can consider the enhancement of self as based in the natural desire of humans to improve ones condition, by measuring change in personality through medication etc. On the other hand, however, self identity is brought to the verge of crisis by this, and such a paradoxical nuance is also contained in the problem.

Thus, human enhancement of worldwide notoriety over recent years is said to bring many benefits to humankind, but is also thought to cause many ethical problems. The notion is enveloped by pro and con arguments : during the question and answer time following the presentation, various opinions were exchanged that touched upon topics in the latest scientific technology such as IPS cells. It was a clear as well as precise presentation worthy of a leading scholar of French Epistemology.

Professor Gayon
Scene in the hall
Question time ; from right, Professors Abiko, Caeymaex and Ronchi
Professor Gayon and Chair, Professor Osamu Kanamori

Classes by Professor Rocco Ronchi (2013)

A series of 6 classes was given by Professor Rocco Ronchi of University of L'Aquila, Italy. Theme of the lectures was "About Absolute Immanence (Vers l'immanence absolue)". Professor Ronchi, who specialises in the philosophy of Bergson etc., is concerned with the reform of the concept of "creation (devenir)" from the perspective of "absolute immanence". Examples of his recent scholarship are as below : Filosofia della comunicazione (Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 2008), Filosofia teoretica. Un'introduzione (Utet, Torino, 2009)、Bergson. Una sintesi (Marinotti, Milano, 2011)、Come fare. Per una resistenza filosofica (Feltrinelli, Milano, 2012).

These classes provided a commentary on "metaphysics" chiefly in reference to An Introduction to Metaphysics (1903) by H. Bergson (1859-1941) and Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929) by M. Heidegger (1889-1976). Then, keywords were raised central to Bergson's arguments such as "absolute (absolu)" and "intuition", and explanation was given of the criticism of metaphysics by Bergson and also how Bergson redefined "sufficiency (plénitude)" and "continuity (continuité)". Second half of the lectures handled the various issues of "creation (devenir) ", "individuation", "act (acte) " and "life (vivant) ", referring also to Aristotle, and gave Professor Ronchi's interpretation of "absolute immanence". Modern French philosophy relevant to the content of these lectures include Cinéma 1 (1983) by G. Deleuze (1925-1995) and "auto-affection" of M. Henry (1922-2002).

The main fields within the philosophy of "metaphysics" were dealt with by these lectures. Despite mentioning a large number of philosophers, the lectures presented extremely clear arguments. Together with the lecture meeting held in the evening of the last day of classes, they provided an overall glimpse of Professor Ronchi's scholarship to date.

Professor Rocco Ronchi
Professor Ronchi answering question

Jean Gayon Lecture Meeting (Hosei University) (2013)

A lecture by Professor Jean Gayon was held on 5 April at Hosei University. The lecture was conducted in English (with an interpreter), and a Japanese translation was distributed to participants.

The title of the lecture was "Does oxygen have a function?". In biology the notion of "function" is applied to almost all research focuses. All things from organs (heart etc.) of living beings to cells and molecules are considered from the perspective of "what type of function do they carry out?" This function model is also used throughout bigger structures such as biological species and ecosystems. However, the method of ascribing to a certain unit a function that it might have is not necessarily self-evident, and is the important issue raised by this lecture.

Definition of the word "function" in biology splits largely into two. The first is according to what is called the "systemic theory", which defines the function of an organ by the role of cause and effect it has upon the larger system surrounding the living organism. The second, "etiological theory", points to the result of natural selection in the belief that the function of a certain organ is advantageous to survival. The lecture applied each of the two theories to the units of "atom and elementary molecule", "individual organism" and "species", and examined whether they could be said to hold a function.

To consider this on the level of basic elements, can oxygen be said to have a function? This cannot be stated in the case of etiological theory. No doubt the density of oxygen has an effect upon the survival of an organism, but the result of selection is the ability of the organism to make use of the oxygen in its environment, not the existence of oxygen itself. In contrast, in systemic theory, oxygen can be clearly said to have a function in its role as a structural component in the creation of a bigger system (for example the breathing process).

Results are similar in relation to individual organism and species. Characteristics commonly preserved by natural selection are limited to those advantageous to the survival of an individual organism. In other words, natural selection does not happen on a scale surpassing the individual organism. Accordingly, if etiological theory does not explain natural selection in extraordinary ways, it cannot propose that individuals or species have functions. On the other hand no such problem exists in systemic theory. It considers that each individual organism carries out a fixed role within its species, and that the species itself also holds some sort of function with the biosphere.

Rather than the inability of etiological theory to attribute function to very small units (atoms and molecules) or very big units (individuals or species) being a failing of the theory, Professor Gayon suggests it to be its strong point. Systemic theory may sound impressive, but this is simply because its lacks any materiality, and as a theory to justify the notion of function, systemic theory is insufficient. Etiological theory is the stricter theory, yet this also has many shortcomings.

The lecture concluded that if etiological theory were correct, it would mean that the notion of function itself would rely on the theory of natural selection. In other words, to declare that a certain thing has some function would have as its premise that the thing had origins according to evolutionary theory.

In its intensity of content, the lecture brought together all that had been achieved in the classes held over the previous days. It provided a glimpse into the ambiguity of essence of biology as academic discipline, and its close relationship with the theory of evolution.

Scene in the hall
(from right) Professor Jean Gayon, Mr Taizo Kijima(interpreter)

Classes by Professor Jean Gayon (2013)

Professor Jean Gayon gave a series of lectures over the 3 days from 2-4 April.
Professor Gayon is a scholar of the philosophy of science specialising in biology, and these lectures took as their theme the philosophical issues encompassing various concepts used in biology.

The theme on the first day was "is it possible to apply the concept of law (loi) to biology?" Law began as a mathematical concept, which was later applied to physics and chemistry. However the laws of science were born from theoretical necessity (necéssité) rather than being founded on experience. For example, in the era when Galileo discovered the law of a falling body, no method existed that could accurately measure how an object fell. Therefore, this law had to be based on theoretical demands. The problem with applying the concept of law to biology lies in whether or not this "necessity" exists in biology. Australian philosopher John Jamieson Carswell Smart (1920-2012) responded to this in the negative. According to Smart, generalisation may exist in biology, but law does not. This is because the object in biology is type under specific classification, and there is no assurance that any regularity that can be identified has the potential to become universal. In fact, exceptions exist in the majority of events that occur in the domain of biology. Even if exceptions have not been discovered, we cannot know whether a certain living creature will bear the same characteristics in completely different conditions to its usual environment. In other words, what seems on the surface to be law in biology is actually no more than "universality of fact (universalité de facto)", and it is difficult to identify theoretical necessity therein. Therefore we can conclude that there is a high possibility of no laws existing in biology. Professor Gayon stated that even if something near to a law existed in biology, it should most probably be understood as dynamism in the process of natural selection.

The issue dealt with on the second day was that of "model (modèle) and methodology". "Model" is the method used in various fields - for example, using a model to research how an aeroplane works - however, its characteristics lie in the use of a system based on analogy to objects and phenomena in the natural world. In biology these include the "camera obscura" (a hole-in-a-box device to reconstruct optic mechanisms) used by Roger Bacon (1214-1294) in 13th century, and the helix model of DNA; these all involve the use of an analogous device to facilitate research through indirect means of something that cannot be known directly. Biologists propose a hypothesis based on such a model and attempt to construct a theory, but this is where the problem often arises of confusion between the model and actual hypothesis and theory. As a result, there are not a few hypotheses in biology based on models to an obscure extent.

The third day handled the concept of "function (fonction)" and issues surrounding it. Function is the authoritative concept in the realm of biology, and almost all things are considered from the point of view of function: that is to say, "what does that do?" The way of thinking that defines an object or phenomenon by the function it carries out is called "functional assignment (attribution fonctionnelle)". The problem with this way of thinking is that the function carried out by an object or phenomenon becomes the reason for existence of the object or phenomenon. For example, to state "the function of the heart is to pump blood around" implies at the same time that "the heart exists in order to pump blood around". In other sciences, however, for example in chemistry we cannot say things like "the role of electricity is to make possible the combination of atoms (= electricity exists in order to combine atoms)". In biology the result of a fact (pumping blood) is used to explain the phenomenon itself (the reason for existence of the heart).
These classes referred to Larry Wright's "etiological theory (théorie étiologique)" and Robert Cummins' "system theory (théorie systémique)" as theories to explain the concept of function. We shall avoid any detailed explanations of the 2 theories here; however, what can be understood from them is that the concept of function relies greatly on the theory explaining it, and that a universal definition of function does not exist to date. This suggests that the concept of function itself is a relative one.

Professor Gayon

Opening of "Europhilosophie" 2013 (2013)

The 2013 EU Erasmus Mundus Masters "Europhilosophie" Hosei Program commenced on 1 April.

Marked by the cherry blossom in full bloom, today began with an orientation session and library tour for teaching staff and students visiting from the EU. The orientation brought their attention to matters to consider during their stay in Japan, after which they moved on to the library where user rules were explained. They then went into the stacks to look at the collection of Western philosophy.

Scene at the orientation session
Teaching staff viewing books

In the afternoon a reception was held in the Boissonade Tower 26F lounge. With Professor Shin Abiko of the Faculty of Literature and Japan representative leading the proceedings, first there was a greeting from President Toshio Masuda. President Masuda spoke of the importance of the development of "Europhilosophie" at Hosei University in achieving its aim of internationalisation, and also expressed his deep gratitude to those from all universities involved in making it possible. Greetings next came from Mr Eric Hamelinck from the Delegation of the European Union to Japan and Ms Catherine Droszewski from the Cultural Section of the Embassy of France in Japan. They spoke of the great significance of how educational institutions in Japan are taking a global responsibility in providing fundamental education in philosophy - the heart of Western civilisation.

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Review Meeting and Closing Party (2012)

The 2012 "Europhilosophie" Program came to a close at the end of June having spanned over 3 months. Just before the end, a review meeting of this year's program and the last social event were held on Wednesday, 27 June at 25F of Boissonade Tower, Hosei University.

The review meeting involved not only students and program teachers from Japan, but also staff from Hosei University International Center and the Graduate School, as well as welcoming Professor Arnaud François via Skype from France. This was the first time to hold a 3-month program, and various points of reflection and practical suggestions as regards classes and life here were discussed with a view to next year.

Afterwards, the last social event of the program was held, at which Governor Yoshiro Fukuda of Hosei University was also in attendance. Relief and satisfaction could be read on the faces of the 4 students who had successfully come through lengthy classes and workshops, and become quite familiar with Japan's different culture and national character. They met with many words of well-wishing and encouragement. The party ended having confirmed the friendships nurtured over the 3 months, and hearing promises of reunion in the near future.

*This year's program came to a successful conclusion thanks to the cooperation of all those involved. This blog is the final one of this year. However, next year's program will commence next spring with further improvements. We look forward to everyone's continuing support and cooperation.

Professors Abiko and Kanamori in the review meeting
Foreign students giving their thoughts
Scene of the review meeting
A toast (from left: Governor Fukuda, Professors Kanamori, Suzuki and Abiko)
Governor Fukuda with students
Party scene
Students receiving commemorative gifts

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
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

Scene of Classes : Number 8 (2012)

Dr. Vincent GIRAUD, presently engaged in research as the University of Kyoto, gave a series of 3 lectures.

The lecture theme on this occasion was "Nishitani Keiji and Metaphysics". Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990) of the Kyoto School was introduced, centring on his work, What is Religion? (1961). Discussion led in particular to how Nishitani, whilst studying under Nishida Kitarô (1870-1945) and M. Heidegger (1889-1976), managed to surpass them both.

Of great interest in his relationship with Western thought was his plan to overcome "Nihilism". For this end, Nishitani ultimately fixed upon the standpoint of "emptiness" that is at the root of the tradition of Mahāyān Buddhism. In other words, Nishitani, in his Nihilism (1949), considered critically Heidegger's interpretation of F. Nietzsche (1844-1900) at the same time as handling the main topic of the connection between "nihilism" and "emptiness". Based on this, the concept repeatedly emphasised in What is Religion? is the turn from the standpoint of "nothingness" to that of "emptiness" that enables true conquest of nihilism.

Professor Giraud's original specialisation is the philosophy of Augustine, and his ability to attain insight from classical Western philosophy to contemporary east Asian thinking felt very much in tune with the ideals of the Erasmus Program.

Professor Vincent GIRAUD

Scene of Classes : Number 7 (2012)

Professor Shin ABIKO of Hosei University gave a series of 3 lectures.

Theme of the lectures was "The Taxonomy of the Sciences and Philosophy", and they began with an attempt at commentary on A. Comte (1798-1857) and his early-period thought, quoting extensively from his A Course in Positive Philosophy (1830-42).

Social conditions in post-revolutionary France were in spiralling confusion due to the rise and fall of Napoleon. Upon this backdrop, Comte saw the bad influence of "metaphysical philosophy" that could not rid itself of "negativism", and proposed in its place "positive philosophy". Comte brought "positive philosophy" to life in the form of "sociology".

Comte's sociology of "positivity" depended upon "observations" and "laws". Lectures explained "the law of the three stages", and in particular "the law of classification", and showed how these two laws in principle put an end to "metaphysical philosophy".

Lectures next introduced Nishi Amane (1829-1897), a representative of Japanese enlightenment who is also known for his coining of the word "tetsugaku" as the translation for "philosophy". In his early days he studied the Cheng-Zhu School, but turned to Western studies following the impact caused by the Black Ship invasion, learning Western philosophy during a stay of study in the Netherlands. Upon his return, Nishi incorporated Comte's "positive philosophy", in particular "the law of classification", in the making of an academic system.

This set of lectures thus reconfirmed how the work of Comte, that established a new relationship between "the sciences" and "philosophy" in the first half of the 19th century, reached as far as Japan, and also played a decisive role in the emergence of the human sciences from the second half of the 19th century.

Professor Shin ABIKO

Scene of Classes : Number 6 (2012)

A series of 3 lectures were given by Professor Izumi SUZUKI of the University of Tokyo.

The theme of the lectures was "Spinoza and Issues in Contemporary French Philosophy". The first lecture, subtitled "The Philosophy of Ritornello: Deleuze, Guattari and Pop music", discussed the concepts of "ritornello" and "territory" raised in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980) by Gilles Deleuze(1925-1995)and Pierre-Félix Guattari(1930-1992).

The second lecture presented a study entitled « 'Degree of Reality' and Potential : Remarks on Spinoza's Principia Philosophiae Cartesiana Part I Proposition 7 ». It discussed the significance of how the notion of « potentia », that is imbedded at the heart of Descartes philosophy, disappears in Principia Philosophiae Cartesiana (1663) by Spinoza (1632-1677) but reveals itself in Ethica ordine geometrico demonstrate (1677).

The third lecture then introduced thinkers renown in Spinoza research other than Deleuze, author of Spinoza and the Problem of Expression, namely: Martial Gueroult (1891-1976), Ada Negri (1870-1945) and Alexandre Matheron. This was followed by an attempt at discussion of the notions of "univocity", "immanence" and "individuation".

In this way, although revolving around Spinoza, these lectures had more to tell about contemporary French philosophy.

Professor Izumi SUZUKI

Scene of Classes : Number 5 (2012)

Professor Masato GODA of Meiji University gave a series of 3 lectures.

Title of the lectures was « Direction of Diaspora System Theory», and this perspective was used to reconsider « Japanese-ness » through a focus on « Okinawa studies », « Japanese psychiatry» and «Ideology of Yoshimoto Takaaki ».

Lectures began with a geographical commentary about « Ryukyu », and an introduction of the life and works of the folklore scholar known as the founder of « Okinawa studies », Iha Fuyu (1876-1947), with mention along the way of photographer, Higa Toyomitsu (1950-) as well as the artist, Okamato Taro (1911-1996) who left essays on the subject of Okinawa.

The second lecture handled the theme of "schizophrenia" in psychiatry, and introcuced Kimura Bin (1931-) and Nakai Hisao (1934). The third lecture then discussed Essay on Collective Fantasy (1968) by Yoshimoto Takaaki (1924-2012), who passed away just this year. (Professor Goda work on Yoshimoto Takaaki has been published as Yoshimoto Takaaki and Karatani Kojin, PHP Shinsho, 2011)

The lectures provided students on the Erasmus programme with a new and invaluable opportunity to tread unusual cultural territory through raising themes of great significance to Japan as well as to other countries.

Professor Masato GODA

Scene of Classes : Number 4 (2012)

Classes during April given by the 3 teachers from the EU came to a successful close, and after the May break, classes resumed centring on teachers from Japan. They began with a series of 3 lectures given by Professor Kazuyuki HARA of the University of Tokyo.

The title of the lectures was "Lacanian Elaboration of the Notion of 'Desire' and the Recasting of the Oedipus Complex". (Professor Hara's research upon which these lectures were based can be found in the following work: Kazuyuki HARA, Love and Knowledge: Lacanian Studies, Collection UTCP, 2011)

Lectures began with the notion of "desire", bringing attention to interest in it shown by S. Freud (1856-1939) and J. Lacan (1901-1981), and explaining Lacan's main keywords. Next, the relationship between G.W.F. Hegel and Lacan was observed in quotes chiefly from Introduction to Reading Hegel (1947) by A.Kojève (1902-1968).

The relationship between F. Saussure (1857-1913) and Lacan over "signification" was then examined centring on Saussure's A Course in General Linguistics (1916). Although Lacan might initially appear to depend upon Saussure, commentary was given on ways in which he parted from Saussure.

Lastly came an outline of the "Oedipus complex" that is essential for understanding Lacan's thought, and an explanation of Lacan's "Graph".

In this way, the lectures provided a meticulous explanation using projected and quoted material, with clarity given to the meaning of the thinking left by Lacan, even for the French students on this programme.

Professor Kazuyuki HARA

Opportunity for Exchange on a Visit to the Foot of Mt. Fuji (2012)

From 21-22 April, 1st year students of the Philosophy Course of the Faculty of Literature, Hosei University attended an overnight study trip at the Fuji Seminar House of Hosei University. They were accompanied by the students from Europe, which provided an opportunity for exchange between them.


The weather unfortunately meant that we were unable to see Mt. Fuji, but we walked through the Aokigahara « Sea of Trees » that lies at the base of Mt Fuji, and viewed the Narusawa ice cave. Students spent their weekend in a rather different way to usual.

Looking out over the Sea of Trees
The Ice Cave

Scene of Classes : Number 3 (2012)

The 3rd member of teaching staff from the EU, Dr. Grégori Jean of the University of Louvain, Belgium, followed on from Dr. Alexander Schnell in giving a series of 6 classes.

The title of lectures was "Metaphysics of Presence, Affectivity, Rationality". (Of Dr. Jean's research, the following paper touches partly upon the content of these lectures: « Histoire et Être. Heidegger et l'esquive du présent », in Phénice, special number : « Le Présent », May 2009, pp. 55-70.)

As far as my limited understanding permitted, the lectures made the main points as below.

- Firstly, attention was brought to the "metaphysics of presence" that is criticized by J. Derrida (1930-2004) in Speech and Phenomena (1967).

- Having thereby become a focus for criticism, M. Heidegger(1889-1976), in Being and Time (1927), attempted discussion centring on the problem of "past" within "presence". Heidegger's discussion, from the aspect of "liberation of the past", shared common ground with M. Henry (1922-2002), and it is fair to say that Henry replaced Heidegger's "Sein-zum-Tode (being-toward-death)" with "phenomenology of birth".

- Henry would then seem to radicalise this further using the concept of "auto-affection". Henry's "auto-affection" differs from the "auto-affection" that concerns itself with "horizon (world)" and that Heidegger presents in Kant and the problem of metaphysics (1967), with what could be described as emphasis by Henry in more striking ways on the direct "affectivity" of "life".

- According to Dr. Jeans's interpretation, however, Henry's thinking reveals "affectivity" understood as the basic dimension within the "past", yet at the same time redefines it as "affectivement" in its link with "subjectivity" and "a priori". It is rather, then, "rationality" that is exposed here. In order to understand the connection between "affectivity" and "rationality" in such a case, Dr. Jean referred back to Kierkegaard (1813-1855).

The central theme handled in Dr. Jean's lectures, then, was Michel Henry. There are still very few research works and papers in Japan on the subject of Henry's thought, and I felt that this was a momentous occasion to have held comprehensive lectures by a specialist of Henry on Japanese soil.

Dr. Jean

Lecture Meeting Given by Grégori Jean (2012)

A lecture meeting was given by Dr. Grégori Jean of the University of Louvain, Belgium, who is a member of teaching staff from the EU on the Hosei program. It was held on 16 April from 3pm in the 2nd floor staff common room of Hobun Building 2 of the Faculty of Letters at the University of Tokyo (Hongo Campus).

The theme of the lecture meeting, that was overseen by Professor Izumi Suzuki of the University of Tokyo, was "Affectivity and the Metaphysics of Pastness of Michel Henry". (Dr. Grégori Jean is known for his editing of the work of M. Henry (1922-2002), and one example of his research can be found in the paper: « L'être-soi et l'être-seul: le problème de la solitude dans la phénoménologie de M. Henry », PhænEx. Revue de théorie et culture existentialistes et phénoménologiques, Vol. 6, n°2, « La solitude », 2011, pp. 109-130.)

The presentation was an attempt at commentary on the main concepts in Henry of «presence», «affectivity» and «pastness», in reference to his representative work, The Essence of Manifestation (1963) and from the standpoint of the controversialists such as E. Husserl (1859-1938), M. Heidegger (1889-1976), and J. Derrida (1930-2004).

As far as I could understand, the lecture made the following main points.

The question raised by Dr. Jean was whether Henry's philosophy fits into the «metaphysics of presence» criticised by Derrida in Speech and Phenomena (1967). In advocating «phenomenology of life», Henry considered intentionality as one with affectivity that is immanent in the self, but that was a result of his redefining self as "an eternal present". Dr. Jean, however, proposed that Henry's so-called "eternal present" does not abolish the past; on the contrary, it is "an absolute past". In other words, present in the affective self is not the present, but the past. Thus, according to Dr. Jean, it was not «metaphysics of presence», but «metaphysics of pastness» that was developed by Henry. Dr. Jean's presentation on this occasion focussed on the issue of time in his commentary of thought by Henry, and I found this of great interest.

A short break followed the hour-long presentation, and after that there was time for a lively question and answer session. There is no doubt that this lecture meeting created opportunity for a re-evaluation of the uniqueness of the thought of Michel Henry, and it greatly heightened interest in Dr. Jean's classes that will commence on 20 April.

Left: Dr. Jean; right: Professor Suzuki
Lecture room

Scene of Classes : Number 2 (2012)

Following on from Arnaud François, Alexander Schnell gave a series of 6 classes. Presently engaged in teaching at University of Paris IV, France, Dr. Schnell specializes in the classical German philosophy of E. Kant, J. Fichte, F.W.J. Schelling, and German and French Phenomenology centring on E. Husserl.

The title of lectures on this occasion was "Introduction to Contemporary French Phenomenology (E. Levinas and M. Richir)". (Dr. Schnell's research to date on the subject of these lectures is presented in the following two works: En face de l'extériorité. Levinas et la question de la subjectivité, coll « Bibliothèque d'Histoire de la Philosophie - Poche », Paris, Vrin, 2010, and Le sens se faisant. Marc Richir et la refondation de la phénoménologie transcendantale, Préface de Guy van Kerckhoven, Bruxelles, Ousia, 2011.)

Below is a simple account of the main argument of the lectures, as far as my limited understanding permitted. (For some parts I received invaluable help from Mr. Kiyama from the University of Tokyo.)

- We might begin by saying that Phenomenology negates traditional ontology that considers primarily the substance lying behind attributes, and focusses solely on the connection, and differences, between attributes: that is, phenomena.

- However, modern French Phenomenology, as observed by H. Maldiney (1912-) and L. Tengelyi (1954-), has made further changes in the understanding of this concept of phenomena. Phenomena, hitherto described as emerging inside the plane of an expanded subjective view: that is, in contrast to the seeing and hearing functions of the subject, are now understood by modern French Phenomenology in the form of events appearing from outside that plane.

- Although not necessarily anything monolithic, several thinkers can be identified within this new current. The examples of E. Levinas (1906-1995) and M. Richir (1943-) in particular are raised here.

- Firstly, Levinas proposed concepts including « face », that describes the appearance of otherness as having absolutely transcended prediction, and « infinity » as transcending totality. In other words, the mutual conditions for existence and thought are described in such a way that existence is not merely a relation of thought, but even forms the basis of thought.

- Secondly, Richir attempted to understand our relationship with the world as « an anonymous and non-subjective process of generating sense ». That is to say, he suggested that « formation of sense » occurred when, out of chaos, fluid things and fixed things act with each other.

The above lectures conveyed in detail the movements in modern French Phenomenology that are hardly well known in Japan except among specialists, and therefore they offered an important experience. For that reason, I expect, each occasion attracted more and more auditors, including those from other universities.

Dr. Schnell
Dr. Schnell giving explanation

Scene of Classes : Number 1 (2012)

The first classes of the EuroPhilosophie Program, "Philosophy of Science" given by Professor Arnaud François (University of Toulouse II, France), were held from 3-11 April. Theme of the classes was "Sciences in Bergson's Creative Evolution".

The philosophy of Bergson (1859-1941), whose "philosophy of life" dominated the early 20th century, cannot be isolated from contemporary developments in the sciences such as psychology, physics and biology. In the book Bergson launches into his own philosophical themes whilst confronting the scientific issues relevant in each case.

The 6 days of lectures drew plan forms of Darwin's theory of evolution and the biological evolution theory of neo-Lamarckism that are referred to in Creative Evolution (1907), and indicated upon them the main points of Bergson's criticism. Issues raised also included the relationship of vitalism and mechanism, and the aspects of conventionalism present in science.

Having carried out the above analysis of science, lectures then focussed on Bergson's criticism of the evolution theory philosophy of British philosopher, Spencer (1820-1903) that inspired the central concept in Creative Evolution of "élan vital", and is even described as bringing about the birth of Bergson philosophy. Professor François' lectures came to a thrilling end with commentary on the keywords of Bergson philosophy such as time and duration, space and movement, and furthermore with a broad consideration of the relationship between science and philosophy. It should also be mentioned how enthusiastic were the question and answer sessions among the participants.

Class Scene
Class Scene

Shrine Visits and Cherry Blossom Viewing (2012)

With the cherries now in full bloom in Tokyo, the clear skies on 8th April made it an excellent day for a walk.
We, the EuroPhilosophie members set out to make a tour of some shrines and to see the cherry blossom.

Our first stop was Kanda-myojin.

At the front entrance of Kanda-myojin

This is a shrine with a history of nearly 1,300 years, and which serves as guardian of 108 communities including Nihonbashi, Akihabara and Tsukiji Market.
Japanese shrines are each dedicated to their own guardian deities called Uji-gami.
Kanda-myojin is dedicated to the gods of commerce, Daikoku-sama and Ebisu-sama, and it has long been an attraction for nearby residents and tourists alike.
A wedding ceremony was being held at the shrine on that day, and it was also bustling with tourists.

Kanda-myojin attracting visitors

It was then time to pay our respects.
Worshipping at a shrine involves a sequence of actions and accompanying rules which are familiar to Japanese people, but which seemed to prove very new to the overseas students.

First we cleanse ourselves (Misogi). This is an act of purification prior to worship.

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Change in Schedule of Professor Hara's Class

The first class by Professor Kazuyuki Hara scheduled for Friday, 11 May 14:00-16:00 has been postponed, and will now take place on Monday, 14 May 16:00-18:00. The classroom remains unchanged, Room 702 of the Graduate School Block. Please make a note of the new date and time.

Aurélie Névot Lecture Meeting (2012)

On the evening of 12th, the day that saw the start of second course classes by Professor Alexander Schnell, a lecture was given by cultural anthropologist, Ms Névot, researcher of Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France (CNRS) and also wife of Professor Schnell, having accompanied him to Japan. The lecture was sponsored by Hosei University Research Center for International Japanese Studies (HIJAS), and held in Research Center for International Japanese Studies seminar room.

The title of the lecture was "Shanghai as Centre of the New World: 'Crown of the East' China Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo", and those attending from Erasmus Mundus were, in addition to the Schnells, Chair for the evening, Professor Shin Abiko, Professor Arnaud François, and 4 students from Europe.

The lecture focussed on the "China Pavilion", or "Crown of the East" that was exhibited at the Shanghai International Exposition (Shanghai Expo) held in 2010, and that is also known as "the most expensive pavilion in expo history". The lecture commented on its cultural and symbolic significance.

According to Ms Névot's explanation, the structure and colours of the building - as well as the Confucian thought suggested by them - tell of the ambitious intentions surrounding the "China Pavilion", of Shanghai's 21st century global role as "centre of the new world". Furthermore, this gives confirmation to a concept that could be called "New Orientalism", by which the East itself decides its position in the world rather than having it imposed by the West.

Ms Névot's analysis can thus be described as using the cultural commentary of symbols as its method. The ideas presented were greatly stimulating, and a heated question and answer session followed the lecture that exceeded by far the scheduled time.

A mixture of Chinese, Japanese and French languages filled the hall during the lecture, and in just this respect it proved to be an event of the Research Center for International Japanese Studies of particular international character. However, Ms Névot's standpoint, which boldly challenged the cultural understanding of "other" - having herself crossed the East-West wall and entered Far East soil - reminded us strongly of the principle of transcending boundaries advocated by Erasmus Mundus.

Ms Névot and photograph of "China Pavilion"
Lecture Hall
From left: Professor Abiko, Professor Sugimoto (interpreter), Ms Névot
Questions and Answers (Professor Schnell, centre)

Orientation (2012)

The cherry blossom is in full bloom. The start of the 2012 "EuroPhilosophie" Hosei Program on 2 April also saw the arrival of spring. Preceding the main event of that day, the Opening Reception, an Orientation Meeting for the benefit of teachers and students from Europe was held in the Graduate School Block classroom that will serve as venue for classes over the next 3 months.

A staff member from the International Center gave a general outline of Hosei University and explained its history based on a handout, after which more real-life matters were raised, bringing attention to various issues in everyday life on university campus and off, and in society in general.

Following this, everyone left the building together, crossed Sotobori (the Outer Moat), and headed for the library. The library will hereon doubtless become an essential place for study for the students. Library staff gave an explanation about using and borrowing books, and also about how to access the database by computer.

Lastly, the tour of the library took us to the closed book stacks. We descended to the 4th floor of the basement, where both teachers and students paused in particular before the philosophy section, and spent a while perusing the collection.

Spare time between Orientation and Party was used by everyone to explore neighbouring Yasukuni Shrine. The issue of Yasukuni is known about in Europe too, and it seems that whilst there, some students reflected upon the relationship between war and nation.

Library Tour
Book Stacks
Yasukuni Shrine

Opening Reception (2012)

A year since its cancellation due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, the EU Erasmus Mundus Master Program "EuroPhilosophie" Hosei Program held its Opening Reception - 2 years' on - in the Boissonade Tower 26F lounge of Hosei University on 2 April, to a view of the cherries beginning to bloom.

Professor Shin Abiko, Faculty of Literature, and person responsible in Japan for this program, acted as host. President Toshio Masuda gave his greetings to mark the program commencement, expressing pride in Hosei University's internationalized educational strategy brought about by participation in this program, and gratitude for the gift of cooperation from all those involved, especially the teaching staff from Europe and other universities in Japan. This was followed by greetings by Mr. Richard Kelner of the EU Delegation in Japan, who complimented the university on its role in the field of Japan-Europe educational exchange.

Governor Yoshiro Fukuda proposed a toast, which led on to some lively chat. Then, teaching staff from France and Japan, who will run classes over the 3 months in 3 subjects (metaphysics, phenomenology, philosophy of science), introduced themselves and the gist of their classes. Students who have already arrived from Europe (who are not necessarily of European nationality) also introduced themselves and gave their greetings.

After chat reached its climax, guests of honour, Ambassador Dorahomir Stos, Slovakia's Ambassador in Japan, and Mr. Maxime Pierre, of Cultural Affairs Section of Embassy of France, both gave their greetings to end the reception. Ambassador Stos emphasized the importance in the world today of the Erasmus Mundus educational system in its transcending national borders for young people. Mr. Pierre stressed the significance of the use of French and German - not English - as the languages of "EuroPhilosophie ".

The 3-hour long enjoyable reception thus came to a close, with all those in attendance surely hoping very much for the success of this year's program.

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The Final Evening (2010)

On the final evening after the Farewell Party of 16th, on Professor Abiko's suggestion, a gathering of Professors Abiko and Montebello, the students from Europe, Professors Kono and Murakami, Messrs Hayashi and Tanaka from the International Center, and students from Japan made their way to a restaurant near to Hosei University frequented by Professor Abiko's seminar group, and there the festivities continued with more beer and shôchû.

Lecturers and students enjoy chatting (Restaurant near Hosei University)

☆ This marks the end of the Erasmus Mundus Hosei Program 2010. Thank you for having taken time to read these reports. We hope to see you back in a year's time for the Hosei Program 2011. Takahashi, student of Professor Abiko's Seminar Group

Farewell Party (2010)

After the Evaluation Meeting on 16th, a Farewell Party was held in the Hosei University Boissonade Tower 25F Conference Room B. The party signalled the close of the four week-long Erasmus Mundus « Euro Philosophy » Hosei Program 2010. The next day, 17th, the lecturers and students from Europe began their departure from Japan.

A toast by lecturers and students at the Farewell Party (left : Hosei University Boissonade Tower 25F Conference Room B), Students and lecturers attending the Farewell Party (right)

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Evaluation Meeting (2010)

The Erasmus Mundus Hosei Program 2010 reached its final day on 16th April, and an Evaluation Meeting was held in the Hosei University Boissonade Tower 25F Conference Room B. Participants were Coordinator of the Hosei Program, Professor Abiko, and from Erasmus Mundus, Professors Montebello and Rodrigo, lecturer from Japan, Professor Murakami, and the students from Europe. From Hosei University were philosophy specialist, Professor Okuda, International Center's Messrs Hayashi and Hirooka, and Graduate School Office's Mr Matsui.
During this meeting all of the students and lecturers from Europe and lecturers from Japan put forward their comments. They confirmed the success of this year's Program, and also provided clearly various feelings and opinions which will help improve even further the Hosei Program next year.

Evaluation Meeting led by Professor Abiko (above: Hosei University Boissonade Tower 25F Conference Room B), Participants at Evaluation Meeting (below)

Erasmus Mundus Lecture Meeting (2010)

A lecture was given on the 12th by Arnaud François (Lecturer, University of Toulouse II, France; Hosei Program Coordinator for EU) on the theme: 'Erasmus Mundus «Euro Philosophy» : A New Experiment in Education and Teaching', held in the Hosei University Boissonade Tower 26 F Conference Room A. At this lecture meeting, the lecturer, Professor François provided us with a detailed introduction to the aim and content of the «Euro Philosophy Program», part of the EU European Commission Erasmus Mundus Program. (This lecture meeting will be available for viewing in a few days time at http://erasmus.ws.hosei.ac.jp/en/video/ ).

"Euro Philosophy" has the meaning of French and German Philosophy; more particularly, is defined by the three philosophical fields of (1) Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Marx, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche of German Classical Philosophy, (2) Biran, Bergson, Foucault and Deleuze of French Modern Philosophy, and (3) German and French Phenomenology. The program aims to create and develop an international community for education and research in French and German Philosophy. Students studying on this Master Course Program visit universities of several different countries, and learn these philosophies from specialists of French and German Philosophy at the various universities. Specialists are invited from universities in other countries in addition to those at each local university. As a result, classes for this Master Course held at universities in various countries form a gathering place for Erasmus Mundus students, students of the local university, teaching staff of the local university and teaching staff from other countries. By carrying out classes for the Master Course in an increasing number of different countries, it is hoped that the international community for education and research in French and German Philosophy will thus be created and developed within the «Euro Philosophy Program».

(1) Professor François' lecture (Hosei University Boissonade Tower 26 F Conference Room A).Greeting from the Chair, Professor Abiko; beside him, Interpreter, Professor Gohara.A participant asks Professor François a question.

The Japanese Lecturers (2010)

This year there were eight lecturers from Japan : five of whom were involved last year, and three being new to the program. Last year six Japanese lecturers each taught three courses, but this year one of the eight taught four courses, while the other seven each taught two courses.

Professor Suzuki's class discussing deleuzian spinozism (top left), Professor Hara's class which considered Lacan's concept of desire (top right), Professor Kono's class on Gibson's 'extended mind' and Neuroethics (below)

Japanese Philosophy (2010)

One characteristic feature of the 2010 Hosei Program is that several Japanese philosophies have been brought up alongside European Philosophy. For example, the philosophy of Omori Shozo, Nishi Amane, Tanabe Hajime, Tsurumi Shunsuke etc. The students from Europe show interest in all types of philosophy, but in particular had many questions and observations in relation to Tanabe Hajime's The Logic of Species raised in Professor Goda's class.

Professor Kanamori's class on the philosophy of Omori Shozo (Top left), Professor Goda on Tanabe Hajime (Top right), Professor Abiko on Nishi Amane (Below)

Out for a Drink (2010)

On the evening of the 9th, Professors Montebello, Abiko, Goda and Murakami, the students from Europe, students from Japan and their friends, all met up, and held a get-together at an Okinawan Sake bar in Iidabashi, Tokyo. (The gathering was organised by Matsui and Sonia from Professor Abiko's Seminar Group of the Hosei University Graduate School).

Get-together of lecturers and students (at Sake bar in Iidabashi)

Sightseeing (2010)

The first two weeks of life in Japan for the students from Europe has gone by. In Japan the cherry blossom is now fully out, and it is the most beautiful season. With the notion of "Work hard, play hard", they have been making the most of the chance for sightseeing during these two weeks. They have not just been to famous places within the capital such as Tsukiji, Ginza, Asakusa, Akihabara and Shibuya, but also as far as Yokohama, Kamakura etc. There was even a student who used the weekend to visit distant Hokkaido. Some set out by invitation, some by themselves, but all seem to have spent their time outside the classroom just as fruitfully.

The Outer Moat Park near to Hosei University (left), Graduate School Block seen from the Outer Moat Park (right)

Accommodation (2010)

During their stay in Japan, the students from Europe are each accommodated in one-room apartments in Shintomicho, Tokyo. They are equipped with bath, lavatory, bed, kitchen, refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioner etc., and constant internet access. The Tsukiji Wholesale Market is just 10 minutes' walk away. There are also cafes nearby. They travel into Hosei University everyday from here.

Entrance to the apartment block (left), View from 10th floor apartment (right).

Philosophical Interest (2010)

All the students from Europe are Master's course students majoring in philosophy. What kind of philosophers and philosophical issues are they interested in? Firstly it is clear that all students are widely concerned with philosophy in general. However, we can detect characteristics by the names of the philosophers featuring in their studies, which we heard include Plato, Fichte, Marx, Husserl, Michel Henry and Deleuze. They also told us about the issues that interested them. Namely, "What connection does the living phenomenon have with the physical phenomenon?", "What kind of cosmology lies behind works of literature?", "Can we not think of a better method of sovereignty?", "What is nothingness?" etc.

Students attending class (Class given by Professor Murakami)

Note-taking (2010)

In what ways do the students from Europe engage in their classes? A distinguishing characteristic when compared to Japanese students is that many of them type into their computers or write down in notebooks in a kind of shorthand almost everything the lecturer says. At the end of a class they then have in their possession a record of the lecture from that class.

Students taking notes (Above: Professor Fujita's class),
(Below left: Professor Rodrigo's class),
(Below right: Professor Miquel's class)

Montebello, Rodrigo, Miquel (2010)

Classes began from the 23rd in Room 303 of the Graduate School Block. The three professors, Pierre Montebello, Pierre Rodrigo and Paul-Antoine Miquel are visiting Japan from Europe to teach on the Hosei Program.

The theme of Professor Montebello's classes is Natural Philosophy. A metaphysical basis lies hidden behind explanations in Natural Science, however this is not always sufficiently questioned. We examine the Natural Philosophy of Simondon, Nietzsche and Deleuze for their responses to this problem. The aim is to achieve a new metaphysical understanding of Nature.

Professor Rodrigo is a specialist of Phenomenology. Classes focus on The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology by the advocator of Phenomenology, Husserl, and indicate how Husserl presents Phenomenology in this work, and in what ways and to what issues that Phenomenology seeks to respond. In so doing we aim at re-addressing our fundamental understanding of Husserl Phenomenology.

Professor Miquel's classes raise the question of the relationship between physical things and living things. We look at the philosophy of Bergson, Canguilhem and Simondon in search of their consciousness of this issue. Our aim through this task is to transcend the relationship of the physical and living, in order to gain new clarity in the relationship between science and philosophy.

Professor Montebello (left), Professor Rodrigo (centre), Professor Miquel (right)

Class in progress in Room 303

A Walk Nearby (2010)

Making the most of some time between the Orientation and Opening Ceremony, the students from Europe set out on a walk to Yasukuni Shrine which is located near to Hosei University. They enjoyed the special Japanese atmosphere of the shrine, but also showed awareness of the historical and political issues that surround this particular shrine.

Students walking in the Sacred Pond Garden, Yasukuni Shrine

Students buying takoyaki (octopus dumplings) at a stall in the Yasukuni Shrine grounds (left). In front of the Main Hall, Yasukuni Shrine (right).

Orientation (2010)

Preceding the Opening Ceremony, an Orientation Session was held on the 22nd in Room 303 of the Graduate School Block. The seven students and three lecturers from Europe heard an explanation in English from Mr Tanaka of the International Exchange Center about Hosei University, life in Japan, and procedures in emergencies such as earthquakes. After the Orientation they toured around the university, and in the library, were shown how to use the facilities there.

Students and lecturers listening to Mr Tanaka's explanation (Room 303) (left), (Library) (right)

Students and lecturers visiting the campus (Main gate square)

Opening Ceremony (2010)

The 22nd saw the cherries on the outer moat beginning to blossom, in time for the Opening Ceremony of the Erasmus Mundus "Euro Philosophy" 2010 Hosei Program, to welcome the seven students and three lecturers from Europe. It was held on the 26th floor of Boissonade Tower, and they were joined by members of EU and French Embassies. There were also many who attended from Hosei University, including President Masuda, Governor Tokuyasu, and program organiser in Japan, Professor Abiko of the Faculty of Letters.

Classes will commence from tomorrow, the 23rd.

Greeting from President Masuda. Left: Governor Tokuyasu.

Greeting from Mr Aitchison, European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture (left). Ms Vareille, Attache, Deputy Head, Press, Public & Cultural Affaires, Delegation of European Commission to Japan (centre). Mr Decreux, University Exchange Attaché, Cultural Affairs Department of the Embassy of France (right).

The Lecturers (left). Professor Abiko and the Students (right).

Opening Ceremony Commemorative Photograph.

Saki Kogure to enter the Erasmus Mundus Master Course

Hosei University Faculty of Letters 4th-year Philosophy Major to graduate this March, Saki Kogure, has won a place on the Erasmus Mundus Master Course "Euro Philosophy", and has departed for Europe to study philosophy for two years, 2010-2012. This was a remarkable achievement considering that there were 60 applications to fill the 10 places for non-European students. Among the 10 there are one from each of Canada, Russia, Argentina, Japan, Iran and Korea, and two from each of Brazil and China. See below for further details.



Erasmus Mundus 2010 classes will soon begin.

It is still a little early for the cherry blossom, however on Tuesday, 23 March we will make a start on classes for the 2010 Hosei Program of Erasmus Mundus "Euro Philosophy".


Members of the public are free to listen to the classes. Come directly to Room 303 of  the Hosei University Graduate School Block on Sotobori (outer moat). (24 March only will be Room A501 of Hosei University School of Policy Sciences (Anshin Building).


Please see the syllabus for details of dates, times, locations and content of classes.


Syllabus: http://erasmus.ws.hosei.ac.jp/en/syllabus/


Exam, Evaluation Meeting and Farewell Party (2009)

The "Euro Philosophy" Hosei Program, which has been held over the course of one month, had its final day on 29th April. The report this time will focus on the exam, evaluation meeting and farewell party held on that day.

0902_photo.jpgScene from the evaluation meeting(left); The photo of farewell party(right)

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Life in Japan for the European students (2009)

We will take a look at one aspect of life in Japan for the students, based on a report and photographs of the apartment building sent in by one of the European students, Jérôme Paulucci.

0801_photo.jpg View from the entrance of the apartment

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Glimpse at Classes, Part 3 (2009)

The local scenery has turned from the pink of cherry blossom to the light green of young leaves. Four weeks since the program began, classes came to a successful conclusion on 24th April, 2009. This report will centre on the classes given by Japanese professors later on in the schedule.

0701-scene.jpgGraduate School Block

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Lecture by Professor François (2009)

We will continue to take a look at lectures: this time by Professor Arnaud François, held under the cooperation of the Hosei University Graduate School Philosophy Major and the IT Research Center at the Kudan Schoolrooms on 18th April, 2009. (see previous report)

0601_photo.jpgA photo of the lecture by Professor Arnaud François

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The Lecture by Professor Caeymaex (2009)

As proposed last time, this report and the next will look at the main lectures held at Hosei University. First is the lecture by Professor Florence Caeymaex held on 17 April 2009 in the Boissonade Tower, Hosei University, sponsored by the Faculty of Intercultural Communication.

0501_photo.jpgProfessor Caeymaex

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Cocktail Party (2009)

Councellor for Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of France in Japan, Mr Alexis Lamek, kindly held a social gathering for us at his official residence on 15th April 2009, to commemorate the Erasmus Mundus Master Program "Euro Philosophy" at Hosei University.

0401-photo.jpgCocktail party at the official residence of Mr. Alexis Lamek, Councellor for Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of France in Japan

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Glimpse at Classes Part 2 (2009)

This continues on from last time in relating scenes from the class environment. We will look chiefly at the content of classes.

0301-photo.jpgA scenes of Class(left); and Professor Abiko's plan for classes(right): sketch of whole lecture series. Photos: text copies being distributed etc.

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Glimpse at Classes Part 1 (2009)

With the temperature increasingly exceeding 25 degrees centigrade, we would do better to call it early summer than spring.Ten days have now passed since classes commenced, and five professors have already given classes. We are taking this opportunity to provide a picture of actual classes in progress.

0202-photo.jpgThe scenes of Class

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An orientation & a reception (2009)

The Erasmus Mundus Master Program, "Euro Philosophy" Hosei University Program made its start amidst the cherry blossom in full bloom. This blog intends to report on the actual events of the program.

This report describes scenes at the Orientation and Reception held prior to the start of classes on April 1st.

0101_photo.jpgA commemorative photograph of everyone

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