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1st Unit : 2nd Study Group Session

1st Unit : 2nd Study Group Session

"Problem of 'reality' at the first period of the philosophy in Japan"

On July 27, at Special Meeting Room, Hakusan Campus, Toyo University, Sagara Tsutomu, IRCP Researcher, gave a talk titled "Problem of "reality" at the first period of the philosophy in Japan".

This talk traced the thought of Inoue Tetsujiro concerning the concept of "reality" as the first step in investigating the initial understanding of "philosophy" introduced into Japan by Nishi Amane. This is due to the fact that "reality" is a basic problem of Western philosophy, and the starting point of "Japanese philosophy" is considered to be shown in how it was grasped. It was attempted to extract the methodical core of the "Gensho-soku-Jitsuzairon [Phenomenal Realism]" of Inoue, who influenced his first students, including Inoue Enryo, Miyake Yujiro, Kiyozawa Manshi, at the Department of philosophy at the University of Tokyo, and, furthermore, even Nishida Kitaro.

The 1st Study Meeting, the 2nd Unit

In his article "Gensho-soku Jitsuzairon-no Yoryo [Outline of Phenomenal Realism]" (1897), Tetsujiro says that the problem of what "reality" is and how it should be investigated lies at the bottom of the tension between realism (realismus) and idealism (idealismus). He himself says that the "reality" is "what is behind a phenomenon" ("Rinri Shinsetsu [New Theory of Ethics]", 1883) and cannot be directly recognized, but "exists in our brain." Regarding investigation into reality, he notes that "one should perform thorough reflection on a phenomenon and reach reality at once from where the phenomenon is reduced to" (Outline, 381). Inoue analyzes (a) the process through which we intuit "mental reality", such as personality and spirit, through the analysis of such subjective phenomena as emotion or thought ; (b) the process through which we find the objective reality of nature in general that includes individual phenomena discovered by scientific research that regards mental phenomena as the brain's operations ; (c) the process which finds out that the interpretation of a particular phenomenon logically requires a universal law in the first place. In his later paper, "Ninshiki-to Jitsuzai-no Kankei [Relation between Recognition and Reality]" (1901), he attempts to demonstrate a "monistic reality which fuses and penetrates objectivity and subjectivity" by transcending subjective and objective analysis.

The 1st Study Meeting, the 2nd Unit

What is prominent in Tetsujiro's thought is that he kept critical criteria which do not admit direct knowledge of "reality" and are firmly committed to demonstrating it through the analysis of phenomenal experience. Such an overemphasis on persistence and transcendence of "reality," however, makes it difficult to understand its relationship with the phenomena, as "inside of phenomena." How should one meet the challenge, left to Tetsujiro himself, of "mapping (representing) reality of the world as activity?" This seemed to be the challenge left to "philosophy" after Tetsujiro and even to us today.