Philosophizing the Concept of “Wen (文)”: Beginning from Takeda Taijun’s Shiba Sen

Apr 5, 2016 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Ishii Tsuyoshi (Associate Professor, Area Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo; HYI Visiting Scholar)
Chair/discussant: David Wang (Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department, Harvard University)
Co-sponsored with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies

How can we imagine a community in which people co-exist with each other? Or, how can we co-exist with unknown others? If we could do so, what type of community would be possible? As Deleuze and Guattari interpret “philosophy” as the wisdom of friends, philosophy itself should be a possible community for co-existence. Is it then possible to find philosophical resources in the East Asian discourse in such a sense? Beginning from the interpretation of Takeda Taijun (1912-1976, 武田泰淳)’s Shiba Sen (司馬遷, 1943), particularly paying attention to the concepts of “文” and “史”, this talk will seek the possibility of liberating “文” from the modern disciplinary term of “文學”, or literature, so that we can enrich the East Asian discourse of philosophical interests. The talk will regard “文” as an ethical community which provides a sphere of philosophical praxis for individuals who desire to be responsible for others.