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“Thinking about multicultural harmonious co-existence” Symposium, 3rd Unit

Thinking about Multicultural Harmonious Co-existence “Attempting to Build a Society with Pluralistic Values and Revive Virtue Ethics”, 3rd Unit


On June 20, 2015, a symposium on the theme of thinking about multicultural harmonious co-existence was held, under the title “Attempting to build a society with pluralistic values and revive virtue ethics: Is it possible to think about shared virtue and ethical norms in a society based on pluralistic values?” at the Toyo University Hakusan Campus (Building 5, Room 5102).

First, MURAMATSU Akira (Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University, IRCP Visiting Researcher) spoke on “Issues that cannot be resolved through the tolerance (clementia) of liberalism,” outlining the purposes of the symposium by identifying the following issues: Contemporary society faces various challenges that cannot possibly be resolved merely through Mills’ harm principle alone. Even concerning an attempt to reach any consensus on current social matters to the minimum degree, there is a pressing need to think about not just tolerance based on the right to self-determination but also shared ethical norms and shared understandings of virtues. However, at the same time the ethical norms and understandings of virtues in past traditions include dogmatic norms and standards grounded in self-righteousness, certain metaphysical philosophies, and religious views, and many of these are hard to accept in their current form. Under such conditions, we should consider the possibilities for multicultural harmonious co-existence by seeking out the possibilities of shared ethical norms and understandings of virtues from the perspectives of Western and Eastern researchers.

Later in the symposium, the following four presenters spoke on the theme “Traditions and insights that still survive today.”

IWATA Keiichi (Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University) presented on the topic “The possibility of ethical knowledge: Socrates and Aristotle,” presenting a view from Greek philosophy. HORIUCHI Toshio (IRCP Research Associate) presented on the topic “A philosophy of co-existence based on selflessness: Co-existence with others and other religions as seen in early Buddhism,” proposing a view from Indian Buddhism. YOSHIMURA Hitoshi (Full-time Researcher, Nakamura Hajime Eastern Institute/Part-time Lecturer, Toyo University) presented on the topic “Understanding emptiness and dialogue: The spirit of ‘peace’ in Article XVII of the Constitution of Japan from the viewpoint of traditional Buddhism,” proposing a view from Japanese Buddhism. Visiting Researcher YAMAGUCHI Ichiro (Visiting Professor, Toyo University, IRCP Visiting Researcher) presented on the topic “A proposal from phenomenology: The concept of virtue as seen from Husserl’s phenomenology.” The debate in the general discussion addressed topics including clashes of virtue, making for a truly stimulating symposium.