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Philosophy of post-Fukushima (Noburu Noutomi)

3rd conference of “A philosophy of post-Fukushima”, 2nd Unit

  noutomi The thirdin a series of congerences on the theme, “A Philosophy of Post-Fukushima” was held on October 5, 2013, at the Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building 8, Meeting Room 2).The lecturer was Notomi Noburu(Professor at Keio University)who talked under the title, “Philosophy Arguing the ‘Ideal’: What to Say Today in a Post-FukushimaPeriod.” The meeting was chaired by Murakami Katsuzo(IRCPDirector). There were over 20 participants from within and out of Toyouniversity.

   Notomi developed his argument, while discussingwith participants, concerning questions of how philosophy should/can talk,given the natural disaster which started on March 11, 2011 and the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima, what philosophy learns from themand how philosophy can change on their basis.

    What can be thought in philosophy is, first of all, the problem of “ways of description”or how to describe that event. The event is said to be “special” and “unexpected” indeed, but does such a description capture the situation properly? For describing the event by symbolizing it as “3.11”, for example, tends to lead to “fad” and “consumption” and can conceal problems. Notomi argued that one role of philosophy isnot to respond instantaneously but to discern the essential characteristics of matter by reforging “language” little by little even if it takes time.

noburu   In addition, what philosophy can do specifically includes analyzing and sorting out various discourse generally observed. A seemingly plausible assertion can be found to confound issues or include fallacy if it is logically analyzed. If the questions are sorted out in such a way, one may be led to the question whether human beings can utilize an extraordinary “natural power” called “nuclear power” to begin with. At this point, it is necessary to identify the root of problems by strictly distinguishing amonglogics of “economy,” “politics,” and “ethics.” Notomi suggested that what philosophy can do might be to play the role of a mediator who sets the stage for “dialogue” linking various different positions and areas without being influenced by emotion and interests in order to discuss those problems.

   The second thing philosophy can do is to identify the “reality” and to explore an “ideal.” The “reality” here does not refer to what it is generally said to refer to. Instead of taking what we actually see as “reality” without reflection, we need to identify the situation from a broad perspective that transcends time, space, environment, and conditions. Notomi concluded his talk by emphasizing the necessity to conceive the “reality” in relation with the “ideal” in the real sense by rethinking the term “ideal,” particularly from the viewpoint he has recently developed in Platonic studies, his area of specialization. Namely, the “reality” itself needs to be grasped in its relation with the “ideas”(what is absolute and incommensurable).

 In this study group session, problems were sorted out and discussion was deepened through a dialogue with participants. An active exchange of questions and answers was made. This study group session, which faces squarely with the event in question itself and reflectson the “reality” and “ideal” by carefully using “language,” along with its “interactive” style, can be said to have offered an opportunity to catch a glimpse of “what philosophizing is” to begin with.