Philosophy lunches with students

Education
I'm so excited! Today, I just got the final version of the poster for the philosophy lunches I will be doing with my students, and I think the Media Center at the university did a really god job with the design. It's finally happening! I actually came up with the idea for these "philosophy lunches" about half a year ago, but it was the middle of the semester so I decided it would be better to wait for the new academic year. In the mean time, I thought a lot about the format (they were not "lunches" in the beginning), about the texts we would read (Japanese? Western? modern? premodern?), about the topics we would discuss, about how to initiate and moderate the discussions,  etc. etc. etc. My idea was…
Read More

Presentation at ENOJP 2 (Brussels)

Conferences
Exactly one year ago, in December 2016, I was in Brussels for the 2nd Conference of the European Network of Japanese Philosophy, talking about Andō Shōeki and his vision of the human being in the shihōsei, the "world of the private law". The presentation was a sequel to the one I did in Barcelona in 2015, about the creative use of language and the coinage of new philosophical concepts. The ENOJP members behind the scenes did a great job and edited the video of the presentation, including the slides I used at the time. I really have a strange feeling when I see myself on video, and one year later (and wiser) I would change many things in the slides and in the way I present, but I think sharing…
Read More

ENOJP 3 in Paris

Conferences
The 3rd ENOJP conference in Paris just ended a few days ago, but I didn't get around to write about it until now. I am still a bit jet lagged after a week in Europe, and concentrating on teaching and on the interaction with the students when your body is telling you to go to sleep is no easy task... Plus, I wanted to let everything sink in, so I can ruminate on things quietly and thoroughly - the three days of the conference were full to the brim with intellectual stimuli and my brain needed a rest to absorb and process all the information. Not to mention that we were at the INALCO and at the Sorbonne! I listened to several insightful presentations, and I attended the best keynote…
Read More

A New Theory of the Earth

Philosophy
As I was working on my presentation on Yamagata Bantō's philosophical discourse for the ENOJP conference in Paris, I started to look more thoroughly into the various influences that informed his Yume no shiro 夢の代, the encyclopedic work he finished in 1820. And this is how I came across an extremely interesting text from 1696, William Whiston's A New Theory of the Earth - apparently, the text was translated in Japanese as 『西洋天話』 by Hashimoto Sōkichi, one of the most prominent rangaku scholars in early 19th century Osaka. Bantō read it, was fascinated with the model of the solar system that Whiston proposed (cometary catastrophism included) and then later used as a basis for his own model. But the most fascinating thing about Whiston's book is probably the full title: A New Theory…
Read More

3rd Conference of the European Network for Japanese Philosophy

Conferences
Only a couple of weeks left until the 3rd Annual Conference of the ENOJP, this time in Paris! I'm really excited about this, because the first two conferences (Barcelona 2015 and Brussels 2016) were excellent. And I am saying this for two reasons: first of all, for the quality of the presentations and keynote speeches and for the intensity of the debates; second of all, for the atmosphere of the conferences, with so much vibrant energy floating around and so many young people engaging with philosophical ideas. The ENOJP might be a nascent association, but I feel it has a lot of potential as it provides researchers in Japanese philosophy with a platform where they can share ideas, discuss projects and publications, form networks or simply become friends. I gained…
Read More