International Research Collaboration Event:
Lecture by Prof. Dr. Raji C. Steineck "'Brain Death' as 'Dispositif'"
July 20, 2012 (Fri.) Ritsumeikan University (Kinugasa Campus)
◆Purpose of This Event
The Research Center for Ars Vivendi of Ritsumeikan University hosts a public lecture by Prof. Dr. Raji C. Steineck, who is famous for Japanology and Japanese bioethics. Moreover, two young researchers of our Center also conduct their research presentation and thus deepen international research collaboration.
*The language used at this event is Japanese.
◆Overview of the Lecture
"'Brain Death' as 'Dispositif'"
"Brain death" has been introduced into the world as new decision criterion of death since 1968. In this lecture, first of all, the lecturer reconfirms that "brain death" was not "standard" of death but "re-definition" of death while reflecting "the theory of brain death" upon introduction of "brain death criterion." Then, the lecturer will examine the nature of "brain death" through Foucault's thoughts of dispositif based on recent movements of "the theory of brain death."
Date: July 20, 2012（Fri.）15：00～18：30
Place: The 3rd Research Meeting Room, Gakujikan Hall, Kinugasa Campus, Ritsumeikan University
［Access Map（External Link）］／［Campus Map（External Link）］
Host: Research Center for Ars Vivendi of Ritsumeikan University
Participation: Free of Charge
15:00 Opening Remarks by ABE Akira（Special Invited Associate Professor, Research Center for
Ars Vivendi of Ritsumeikan University）
15:10-16:10 Lecture by Prof. Dr. Raji C. Steineck
16:10-16:30 Q & A
16:50-17:10 Research Presentation 1 KAWABATA Miki（Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Center for Ars
Vivendi of Ritsumeikan University）
17:10-17:30 Research Presentation 2 HOTTA Yoshitaro（Special Invited Associate Professor, Research
Center for Ars Vivendi of Ritsumeikan University）
17:30-18:30 Comment by Prof. Dr. Raji C. Steineck & General Discussion
◆Profile of Prof. Dr. Raji C. Steineck
Current Position: Professor of Japanology / Director, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Zurich
Research Interest: Japanese Intellectual History
Main Research Themes："Dogen and Zen's Thoughts," "Rhetorical Analysis of Japanese Buddhist Scriptures," "Concept and Image of Philosophy in Modern/Current Japan," "Trends of Ethics in Modern Japan (Bioethics, Engineering Ethics etc.)"
Main Works: Basic Structure of Mysticism（2000）, Dogen's Mind-body Problem（2003）, Thoughts on Body in Japanese Bioethics（2007）
◆Where to Contact：
Administrative Office, Research Center for Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University
56-1 Kitamachi Tojiin, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8577
*Since there is no parking space, please use public transportation when you come.
The Research Center for Ars Vivendi at Ritsumeikan University has turned a new page in its history this year with a mission to raise the quality of our research further. This international research exchange meeting was the first project to be hosted by the Center in this academic year.
The guest lecturer was Dr. Raji C. Steineck (University of Zurich), a prominent specialist in the history of Japanese philosophy and particularly the history of bioethics in Japan, and the project had two main aims.
One was to look into Dr. Steineck's approach to the disputatious theme of "brain death." The discipline of bioethics can be roughly subdivided into two major fields, interdisciplinary applied ethics on the one hand, and theoretical philosophical research on the other. Dr. Steineck's approach is in the latter field. And the value of his research lies in the fact that such a theoretic inquiry into the phenomena or concepts creates a powerful tool which can "liberate us from the problems", that is, by inducing changes in what we perceive as problems and how we perceive them, his research gives us profound hints about how we can better cope with actual ethical problems.
The second aim of the project was to cast a spotlight on the points of connection between Dr. Steineck's views on life and body and the views on the same held in Ars Vivendi. Attention to diversity, which is a point highly emphasized in Dr. Steineck's research, is also one of the main pillars of identity for Ars Vivendi, which has always strived to remain a motley assortment of things with research being a colorful even though not very consistent variety, rather than becoming a systematic science. Our lives and survival as well as the skills we employ to live and survive greatly differ according to the peculiarities of each individual and the environment he or she is surrounded with, and that is exactly why we hold to the idea that the scientific approaches required to grasp the diversified range of phenomena addressed should be just as diverse as the reality itself.
The announcement of the upcoming lecture was sent shortly before the scheduled day and the weather was not very pleasing, but nevertheless as many as twenty participants fortunately came to participate. Dr. Steineck's lecture gave a sweeping analysis of the current discussions on brain death in Japan from a meta-level standpoint, and pointed out that the concept of brain death serves as a ‘Dispositif ’ blurring the boundary lines between life and death. Representing Ars Vivendi’s young researchers, Miki Kawabata (Post Doctoral Fellow at the Research Center for Ars Vivendi at Ritsumeikan University) made a presentation entitled "Perception of purity and impurity in modern Japan ? the discourse on public bath in the Meiji and Taisho eras", while Yoshitaro Hotta, Special Invited Associate Professor of the Center, made a presentation on "Conditions for self-determination ? a few notes on their structural outline". Both invited a number of comments from Dr. Steineck, which resulted in a brisk exchange of opinions. In the end, Dr. Steineck kindly answered many questions from the floor with the discussion turning to issues of death with dignity and euthanasia. The research meeting has thus produced fruitful results even surpassing the initial aims.
Lastly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the audience and all those who offered their support for this project, helping Ars Vivendi to achieve great success on the first stage of new its journey.
UP：July 19, 2012 REV:July 24, 2012 October 11, 2012
Translation by KATAOKA Minoru