I have been working here as special invited associate professor of the Research Center for Ars Vivendi at Ritsumeikan University since this April. This is not the first time for me to work here, as I have once been granted a great opportunity to work for two years as post-doctoral fellow of the Global COE Program Ars Vivendi, which had been sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology (MEXT) in Japan from June 15, 2007 to March 31, 2012, and the feeling that I am coming back to the place that once was my home only strengthens my resolve to expand and enhance the discipline of ars vivendi, the art of living, devoting all of my energies to this important pursuit.
The question I am asking myself is what would be the best way to go forward with our studies. The research in this field has so far accumulated a large number of diverse studies on disability, aging, illness, and differences, conducted from all kinds of approaches. As a matter of course, we will need to continue and strengthen this research further. But as the initiative is entering its second term, I believe that what is really needed is to re-translate these results into the universal language, that is, into the language of theory, which shall enable us to make our achievements better known on the global scale. To do that, we will need to integrate and analyze the research that has been conducted individually so far (without attempts to find the connections to other parallel endeavors), and to find the general points of argument embodied there but not yet spelled.
And that is when ethics, which happens to be my field of study, and especially the enquiry into the question of "how are we to live our lives", which has been one of the cores of this discipline for a long time, shall prove to be of great help, driving forth the process of theorization of ars vivendi. At the same time, a vital counterpart for this endeavor shall be the in-depth pursuits in the discipline from the aspect of "reality", pursuits that shall examine ethics from a critical viewpoint. And the goal, which should entail more studies conducted by all of the researchers - who often are the objects as well as the subjects of our scientific inquiry - is to reconstruct ars vivendi as a sub discipline of core ethics.
Special Invited Associate Professor, Kinugasa Research Organization, Ritsumeikan University
Academic specialties: ethics, sociology
Works authored: Greeting of Solidarity: Rorty and Thoughts of Hope
Care and Emotional Labor
(co-edited, 2009, 8th Report of Research Center for Ars Vivendi)
Care and Ethics / Ethics of Care
(co edited, 2010, 11th Report of Research Center for Ars Vivendi)
Joint translations: Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms