Philosophy of Nature I-E2

Numbering Code U-LAS00 10028 LE34 Year/Term 2021 ・ First semester
Number of Credits 2 Course Type Lecture
Target Year All students Target Student For all majors
Language English Day/Period Thu.3
Instructor name PASCA, Roman (Graduate School of Letters Assistant Professor)
Outline and Purpose of the Course What is the correct name for nature? Physis, natura, jinen, shizen? How do I, as an individual human being, fit into the world of nature? Am I a part of it, or do I control it? Do I have the right to cut a tree? What is my responsibility toward the environment? How do I respond to the current environmental crisis?
In this class, we will start from these questions and try to think together about the different understandings of “nature” and about the different ways in which we can engage with it. We will focus on views of nature in Japan, from premodern literary texts to contemporary philosophy.
Course Goals In this class, students will learn
1) to critically examine notions and concepts related to nature in Japan;
2) to apply ethical theories to some challenging question in our experience of nature;
3) to express their opinions, ideas and arguments in a clear manner.
Schedule and Contents For each meeting, we will read and discuss one (or more) short philosophical text(s). The course is structured as follows. (14 weeks of classes, 1 week for evaluation, 1 week for feedback)

1. Introduction. What is “nature”? How do we understand / define it? [1 week]

2. Module 1: Nature in literature [3-4 weeks]
Nature in waka and zuihitsu: "The Pillow book", "An Account of My Hut." The notion of secondary nature.

3. Module 2: Buddhism and ecology [3-4 weeks]
Evolution, main concepts and texts. Kukai, Dogen. The notion of buddhahood.

4. Module 3: Confucianism and nature [3-4 weeks]
Evolution, main concepts and thinkers. Miura Baien, Ninomiya Sontoku, Ando Shoeki.

5. Module 4: Nature in modern philosophy [2-3 weeks]
Edo Tekirei. Minakata Kumagusu. Watsuji Tetsuro's "Fudo".

6. Evaluation of learning achievement. [1 week]
7. Feedback (Students will be notified of feedback methods separately.) [1 week]
Evaluation Methods and Policy Class participation (30%), assignments (20%) and final paper (50%).
Course Requirements None
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) There will be several reading assignments - students will have to read a short text before class and prepare comments.
Textbooks Textbooks/References No textbook. There will be class handouts for each meeting.