Watsuji’s Account Of Trust: A Critical And Comparative Analysis
Samedi 4 juin 2016, 14h30-16h00
La salle 5.28
I.N.A.L.C.O. - Pôle des Langues et Civilisations 65, rue des Grands Moulins, 75013 Paris Métro 14 et RER C : Bibliothèque François Mitterrand Sortie : rue des Grands Moulins.
Résumé: My presentation will investigate three questions: How plausible and convincing is Watsuji Tetsurō’s account of trust in his Ethics? Is his notion of trust true to contemporary Japanese experiences of trust? Is an eidetic phenomenology of trust, or indeed any phenomenology, possible without cross-cultural analysis and translation? I hope that our discussion will continue the investigation, especially of the second question.
I have written before about Watsuji’s notion of trust, primarily to present his vision of trust sympathetically, in his own terms. On this occasion I will consider his philosophy of trust more critically, with the help of comparative, cross-cultural analysis. I will also consider the possibility of a phenomenology of trust informed by Japanese language and culture. The dual purpose of my paper reflects my vision of comparative philosophy, which has the power to expose unnoticed assumptions and thus to bring clarity to philosophical issues—by way of contrasts. I will be contrasting Watsuji’s philosophy of trust with that of some contemporary philosophers in North America, primarily with Anthony Steinbock’s eidetic phenomenology of trust in his stimulating book, Moral Emotions.
I will examine trust as a hermeneutical phenomenon, an emotion soaked in language as much as in bare feeling or affectivity. After a brief mention of some linguistic expressions related to trust, in English, German, and Japanese, I summarise a few key points about Watsuji’s method. (A summary of Steinbock’s phenomenology of trust will be available on a handout.) I then examine, comparatively and critically, the following seemingly essential characteristics of trust and shinrai 信頼: its prevalence in human life and its temporality, vulnerability and security in trust, trust as a form of unity versus trust as binding, trust as eliciting obligation versus trust as imposition, and the spatiality of trust in Watsuji. (For lack of time, I will have to omit a critique of Watsuji’s derivation of truthfulness or sincerity [makoto] from trust.) A conclusion will recapitulate the main issues and raise the further question of the political and social implications of Watsuji’s philosophy.
(Handout: 1) _____
Lorenzo MARINUCCI (University of Rome Tor Vergara)
Manifold, erotic and transcendent: a phenomenology of shiki/iro 色
From time immemorial has been dangerous to treat of colour;
so much so, that one of our predescessors ventured on a certain occasion to say,
“The ox becomes furious if a red cloth is shown to him; but the philosopher,
who speaks of colour only in a general way, begins to rave”
J. W. Goethe
Résumé:Aim of this analysis is clarifying through a genealogical reconstruction the cluster of concepts forming the notion of “colour” (色, iro/shiki) into the Sinojapanese cultural nexus, and attempting a phenomenological reflection on it along with the few Western examinations of “colour” as a philosophical concept.
Hinting at the possible relevance of such a study is the entwining of three wide cores of meaning in the 色 sinograph: the phenomenal 1) “colour”, the aesthetic 2) “erotic love” or “sensuous beauty”, and the buddhist 3) “phenomenon”, a variety that is curiously reflected in one more use of the same notion, as 4) “manifold” or “various” itself (色々).
The arbitrarity of this polisemic cluster is only apparent, and a fundamental unity of chromatic, erotic and the manifold/manifest as phenomenon can be ultimately recognized through sources both Western and Asian. As six stepping stones of this comparative endeavour, examining the colour-erotic-phenomenon cluster both as a cultural datum and as a universal part of lifeworld, the talk will bring up:
- Husserl's description of colour as example of pre-formal plenum in the Crisis,
- Merleau-Ponty's reflection on Lebenswelt's sexual aspect and its metaphysical meaning in the Phaenomenology of Perception,
- The qualitative, polar notion of colours in Goethe's Farbenlehre,
- Liu Xie's remarks on colour and sensibility in his Carving of Dragons,
- Bashō's school use of the notion of “colour” as the non-formal quality of expression,
- The Heart Sutra's key contention on the nonduality of colour/phenomenon and emptiness itself.
Most of these threads can be then retraced in Kuki Shūzō's most famous work, The Structure of Iki, a work that taps Eastasian sources and phenomenological thought (but Goethe's colour theory is also a relevant influence) to construct a philosophical inquiry on the erotic, wordly transcendence of iki. Colour and erotic are ultimately connected as pre-formal, irriducibly first-person (and yet open to transcendence) appreciations of the lifeworld – privileged paradigms of experience itself as desire and immersion, our “being-in-love-with” the world itself.