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In the latter half of the paper, "Cross-cultural Approaches to the Philosophy of Life in the Contemporary World, which was uploaded a week ago, I discussed the outline of "life studies." This was the first paper in which the concept of "life studies" was discussed. I talked about the reason why I coined the term "life studies" in the late 1980s. One of the big reasons was the frustration I felt toward the discipline, "bioethics." I started my academic career as a researcher in bioethics, but I felt strong frustration with bioethics from the beginning. (The subtitle of my first book that was published in 1988, was "Beyond Bioethics".)

I would like to present “life studies” as a forum or project in which people who are frustrated with bioethics and other disciplines get together to discuss life, death, nature, scientific technology, and contemporary civilization, although life studies itself is still in an early stage of development. (p.192)

And concerning the aim of "life studies," I wrote as follows:

The ultimate goals of life studies would be: 1) to live and die our limited life “without regret,” and 2) to create a society in which everyone can live and die his/her limited life “without regret.” In order to come closer to these goals, we have to think about the meaning of life and the essence of our civilization seriously, and we have to communicate with each other to learn different ideas. (p.194)

This paper was written based on the paper I uploaded to our website in 2000. Since then, I have published two major books on life studies in 2001 and 2003, and my thoughts on life studies have been expanded and deepened. In this sense, the description of "life studies" in this paper is a little outdated. A new verison of the definition of life studies can be found on the page What is Life Studies, but I am afraid to say it is outdated as well. I plan to write a newest version within this year, and translate it next year and publish somewhere. This will become the most conprehensive and clear explanation of "life studies" I have ever written.

Life studies began as an alternative to bioethics, however, it is now growing into a more holistic & interdisciplinary study, in which bioethics plays an indispensable but not necessarily central roll among other disciplines and approaches.

Photo: Night at Kyoto

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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