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March 31, 2005

Toothache and philosophy

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My toothache has finally gone away, but I have not had time to update this website last week. I will show you the photo of the cover of the Korean translation of Painless Civilization in the next entry, so please drop by.

Photo: Ten'nozu Isle station, Tokyo

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

March 21, 2005

Hyper dictionary

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I have found an interesting site, hyper dictionary. Jump to this page and click any word on the page, then you will jump to the explanation page of the word. Almost all the words of this site are linked to one another. This is a real hyper text. Great.

I don't know if I can make such a site, but in the future anyone might be able to create one using a special software. If so I would like to construct, for example, an encyclopedia of life studies on the web.

By the way, several book reviews of The Insensitive Man appeared in newspapers and magazines last week.

I have a toothache these days. I am receiving dental treatment but the pain does not go away quickly....

Photo: Almond, Roppongi, Tokyo

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

March 14, 2005

Feminist philosophy of abortion and bioethics

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I have posted some comments on a Japanese women's liberation activist, Mitsu Tanaka, and her philosophy of abortion. I published a very short essay in English, and a close examination of her works in my book written in Japanese. Now I am writing a new paper on feminist philosophies of abortion in women's lib movement in Japan in 1970s. I am thinking of adding some more translations of Mitsu Tanaka's words at that time.

I received an email from a woman who uploaded on her blog her own experience of abortion and her contemplation of the meaning of her experience. Her blog, Ambivablog, is here. Please visit and read it.

By the way, the following is an excerpt from the manuscript I am now writing:

Tanaka thinks that a woman who chooses abortion sways between two kinds of honest feelings, that is, the honest feeling that it is her right to abort a fetus, and the honest feeling that if she chooses abortion she becomes a fetus killer. She is thrown into the state of the swaying between these two honest feelings. Tanaka stresses that women should start from this "sway of the confused self" because this sway of the confused self leads us to encounter other people who are also swaying between other types of honest feelings in the midst of their lives. The real encounter is made possible, Tanaka thinks, only between people who are swaying and suffering between contradictory honest feelings. For Tanaka, the important thing is not to solve the dilemma but to live with it.

Tanaka rejects the dichotomy of pro-choice/pro-life, and persists in thinking just between them. She stresses that women must be able to choice abortion, but she also thinks that women do not have the "right" to abortion. Her philosophy is very fascinating and stimulating. Her thought created, in a sense, the foundation of Japanese bioethical thoughts in the 1970s together with disabled activists who were opposing a bill admitting selective abortion (See this paper).

I will submit the paper in progress to a journal, and when published I will upload it to the INLS website.

This topic is really interesting and important especially in the age of new eugenics which we are now entering.

Photo: Roppongi Hills

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

March 07, 2005

Vladimir Jankélévitch, La Mort (Death)

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As I wrote in the previous entry, I distinguished among three concepts in the book, Brain Dead Person, Chapter 5: namely, "my death", "the death of a person familiar to me", and "the death of a person unfamiliar to me." And I stressed that these three concepts have completely different meanings to us. Concerning the precise differences I would like you to read the translated text, here I want to add one thing. I am not the first philosopher who distinguished these concepts. Vladimir Jankélévitch, a French philosopher, talked about them in his book, La Mort (Death), 1966. His description of death is philosophical and poetic. I read his book in Japanese translation when I was a colloge student, and I was very impressed with his analysis. If you are interested in Chapter 5 of Brain Dead Preson, I would strongly advise you to read Jankélévitch.

By the way, a couple of book reviews of The Insensitive Man appeared in newspapers this week. I will add them to the above page soon.

Photo: The entrance of a hotel.

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org