Undergraduate Module Descriptor
PHL2126: Mind and World in Contemporary Japanese Philosophy
This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.
|Term(s) and duration|
This module will run during term 1 (11 weeks)
Dr Joel Krueger (Convenor)
|Available via distance learning|
TetsurÅ? Watsuji (1889-1960) is one of the most important and original Japanese philosophers of the twentieth century. His voluminous output spanned literature, the arts, philosophy, cultural theory, sociology, and anthropology, and encompassed Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Western traditions. Watsuji wrote on many Western philosophers, from Plato, Aristotle, and Descartes to Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger. And he elevated the work of the thirteenth-century Zen Buddhist philosopher DÅ?gen from near-total obscurity to the place he now enjoys as Japan’s first great philosopher. This module is a careful reading of Watsuji’s most influential book, Rinrigaku (Ethics). We will consider the critique of Western individualistic ethics Watsuji develops and explore the alternative model he proposes, one based on the rich network of interconnections and social relationships that make us human. Along the way, we will consider Watsuji’s discussion of topics like the nature of consciousness, self, embodiment, time, space, freedom, and Buddhist approaches to “nothingness”. We will also consider what it means to engage in cross-cultural comparative philosophy. No prior coursework or disciplinary training is necessary for taking this module.