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International Symposium to Commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the Foundation of Toyo University

International Symposium to Commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the Foundation of Toyo University

Philosophy facing a globalized world

On September 16 the international symposium, "Philosophy facing a globalized world", sponsored by the International Research Center for Philosophy, was held at Sky Hall, Hakusan Campus, Toyo University. Together with the symposium on the 15th, this was held as a part of events commemorating the 125th anniversary of Toyo University. The symposium had quite an international flavor by inviting four speakers, three from abroad, each of whom gave a talk on the topic based on their area of specialization. Although talks were also given in French and English in addition to Japanese, the audience was able to listen via a simultaneous interpreter on a receiver. It ended successfully with about 100 participants. The summary of each speaker's talk is as follows.

Philosophy facing a globalized world

Dr. Jayandra Soni, Lecturer at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, gave a talk titled "Philosophical Justification of Nonviolence in Jainism." In Jainism, one of ancient Indian religions, nonviolence (nonkilling) was the fundamental concept in philosophy and was metaphysically justified. Consequently, as Mahatma Gandhi did under the strong influence of Jainism, Jainist practitioners and secular Jainists have tried to practice nonviolence (nonkilling) as much as possible. Dr. Soni's talk introduced arguments for philosophical justification of nonviolence in Jainism philosophy, especially in relation to "seven truths" which Jainism preaches, with some fables and allegories. By so doing, he attempted to obtain knowledge regarding the various aspects of human behavior and discussed what constitutes the virtues and values of human behavior.

Philosophy facing a globalized world

Wu Zhen, Professor at Fudan University, China, gave a talk titled "Chinese Elements in the moral philosophy in Tokugawa shogunate." He attempted to compare Xin Xue/Shingaku (study of mind) in China and Japan from the perspective of "globalization." Specifically, he took up "Sekimon Shingaku" started by Ishida Baigan in the Edo period and tried to find the influence of Chinese Confucianism in it. Baigan's faith certainly focused on Japanese Shintoism, and Sekimon Shingaku reflected the Japanese popular culture in its basis. In that respect, it differed considerably from Yanming Xin Xue of China and was not directly influenced by the latter. Sekimon Shingaku, however, incorporated not only knowledge of Chinese Confucianism but also tales of retributive justice circulated among Chinese people, where one could find Chinese elements. With such indications, Prof. Wu appealed for the importance of studying Japanese Shingaku from the perspective of the entire East Asian Confucianism.

Philosophy facing a globalized world

Etienne Tassin, Professor at University Paris VII in France, gave a talk titled "The Human Conditions in Times of Globalization." Prof. Tassin, who is renowned for his research in political philosophy, especially that of Hannah Arendt, has developed reflections on the actual situation of the "worldliness" on the basis of the concept of "cosmopolitics" he elaborates in recent years. In this talk, he first pointed out, from the perspective of this "cosmopolitics," the necessity to distinguish between "worldization (mondialisation)", concept elaborated in political philosophy, and economic "globalization." He then called for the necessity to consider the meaning of contemporary "cosmopolitics" by rigorously distinguishing among three dimensions ? economic ("oikos"), socio-cultural, and political dimensions ? in order to think about human relations to the world.

Philosophy facing a globalized world

Kenneth Tanaka, Professor at Musashino University, gave a talk titled "The Penetration of Buddhism in America: Its Reality and Significance." The talk pointed out the present state in the United States where an extremely large number of people are coming to be interested in Buddhism and tried to attribute it primarily to modernization and globalization. In recent years, people have been attracted to spirituality rather than to organizational religion. Spirituality means "individuals' experience of the sacred." This is a product of modernization and based on individualism. In the modernized, globalized world, an organization or company is no longer dependable, and one has no choice but to depend on oneself. In addition, people can no longer define themselves clearly in a changing society. This brought about a desire to think by oneself and explore the true self, resulting in a need for meditation. The key elements of Buddhism include spirituality and meditation, which emphasize individual experience. This is a major cause for the growth of Buddhism in the United States. He also argued that Buddhism in the United States would continue to grow in the future, since Buddhism exhibits tolerance and openness for the coexistence of various religions.

Philosophy facing a globalized world

After these talks, Murakami Katsuzo, director of IRCP, summarized arguments and raised some questions. In the general discussion that followed and was chaired by Yamaguchi Ichiro, IRCP Researcher, fertile discussions were made between the speakers and the audience.