mercredi 22 avril 2020


For the European Journal of Japanese Philosophy 

Review of David W. JOHNSON 

Watsuji on Nature 

Japanese philosophy in the wake of Heidegger 
Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2019, 242 p. 

The author is an assistant professor of philosophy at Boston College. The book consists in seven chapters, entitled 
  1. Fūdo: History, Language and Philosophy; 
  2. The Scientific Image of Nature: Dualism and Disenchantment; 
  3. Beyond Objectivism: Watsuji’s Path through Phenomenology; 
  4. The Relational Self: a New Conception; 
  5. The Hybrid Self: Oscillation and Dialectic; 
  6. The Space of the Self: Between Culture and Nature;
  7. Self, World and Fūdo: Continuity and Belonging; 
  8. Self in Nature, Nature in the Lifeworld. 

The last few lines of the conclusion aptly sum up the author’s judgment: “Watsuji’s theory of fūdo thus offers a novel, wide-ranging and complex view of how the self comes to be what it is – a view that moves beyond the problematic modern understanding of human beings as individual subjectivities ontologically decoupled from the natural and social environment that surrounds them. In this vision, we find instead that the self and its consciousness are rooted in a source far greater and more profound than the awareness of a single individual: not only are we immersed in, and emerge from, the depths of the historical and social world, but our lives both shape, and flow from, the vast life of nature” (p. 214).