Ryosuke Ohashi, “The Deep Layers of Responsibility, or Anti-Nature in Nature”(CLUE+)

Date and Time: 12 November 2021, 5-7 pm.

Room: Agora 4, Main Building (3rd floor) Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

More information: https://vu.nl/en/events/2021/the-deep-layers-of-responsibility-or-anti-nature-in-nature

Responsibility is an enduring humanistic concept that has been well inculcated in the modern human consciousness. Although humanism itself has been criticised from a variety of viewpoints including the philosophical, religious, and social, the humanistic idea of responsibility has been taken up uncritically by modern society and embedded as a fundamental value. Nonetheless, the crises confronting the world today call for urgent reflection on the very notion of responsibility, not only to deepen our conceptual understanding but, crucially, to interrogate its status as a self-evident, ethical criterion. The reflection attempted here begins with concrete examples that suggest a problem of philosophical, as well as linguistic, dimensions. The English word ‘responsibility’ comes from the verb ‘to respond,’ and the responding subject is ‘I.’ In contrast, the Japanese translation of responsibility, sekinin, suggests that the primary subject of the responsibility is not my ‘I’ but Being-in-the-world. The voice of the world becomes the measure of my behaviour. This suggests that a deeper layer of meaning is hidden in the notion of responsibility as it is generally understood in everyday life. The layer suggested here can be explained by the notion, developed here and elsewhere by the author, of “itself.” 

Professor Ohashi is currently director of the German-Japanese Cultural Institute in Kyoto and the Nishida Kitaro Museum of Philosophy in Kahuho-shi. Before his retirement, he taught at the Ryūkoku-University in Kyoto, after having worked in several universities in Japan and Germany. Ohashi has published extensively on Japanese Philosophy, phenomenology, aesthetics, German idealism etc. He is considered to be one of the few living exponents of the Kyoto School.  

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