Life Studies Blog (Old)

May 13, 2005

Never thinking of oneself as an exception

We are going to have the first meeting on life studies at Kanazawa city, on May 14 and 15. This is the first gathering of this kind. This is a closed meeting because we prefer to talk about issues of life, death, and nature, frankly and in a relaxed atmosphere. Many of the members are graduate students who are interested in life studies. Today I was writing the handouts of my presentation.

Life studies is a very new research field. I coined the word in 1988, and I have published several books on it in Japanese. Hence, people who are interested in the topics of bioethics and contemporary philosphy sometimes know the word "life studies," but they usually don't know what life studies is at all. This is because I was not able to give a clear definition of "life studies" until recently, so I presume many readers of my books would have been frustrated so far.

I wrote the article, "
What is life studies?" on INLS website some years ago and revised a year and half ago. However, I will have to rewrite it completely based on my presentations tomorrow at Kanazawa. And I am planning to write a paper on the outline of life studies in a Japanese journal, and translate it to English by the end of this year. Then, you will be able to know "what life studies is" more clearly. I hope this translated paper will attract international readers and more people are going to join our life studies movement.

Tomorrow I will talk about the outline of the life studies approach, and go on to talk about "what is 'unregretable life'? ", "the importance of never thinking of oneself as an exception in research" , "the defference of life studies and religion" and so on, which are some of the most important topics of life studies.

By the way, my paper written almost three years ago, "
Cross-cultural Approaches to the Philosophy of Life in the Comtemporary World: From Bioethics to Life Studies" was published in the book, Genomics in Asia: A Clash of Bioethical Interests?, edited by Margaret Sleeboom, Kegan Paul, 2004. In this paper I talked about life studies, but it should be updated now. I will upload this paper soon.

Photo: Kenzo Tange's Building, from another angle.

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