mercredi 25 mai 2016

Subjecthood and Nature / Augustin BERQUE

Tournesols (Erich Heckel, 1913)
Mannheim. Kunsthalle.
CEEJA, Colmar, 21-23 November 2015. International symposium Japanese ecology and its conflicting edges

Subjecthood and Nature

by Augustin BERQUE


Starting from Descola’s question “To whom does nature belong?”, the present article shows that a same “Mount Horeb principle”, i.e. the absolutization of subjecthood as a subject-predicate of itself, is embodied in the Bible’s sum qui sum as well as in Descartes’ cogito ergo sum.
    This principle has entailed the modern objectification-mechanization of nature by a transcending human subject. Though, concerning matter, Heisenberg’s physics as well as, concerning life, Imanishi’s “natural science” (without an s) have stressed its inadequacy to the reality of nature, the same Mount Horeb principle still rules our natural sciences (with an s), and correlatively our whole civilization, with its side effects: Anthropocene, and the setting off of the Sixth Extinction of life on this planet; instead of which, a mesological conception of subjecthood is argued.

1. Who is that “whom”?

Anthropologist Philippe Descola’s expression “To whom does nature belong” (À qui appartient la nature ?), at first glance, seems indeed anthropological, since in its Japanese translation, Shizen wa dare no mono ka 自然は誰のものか, dare (whom?) cannot be but a human being. [1]  If such is the case, one immediately remembers Descartes’ famous expression in the Discourse on the Method, “comme maîtres et possesseurs de la nature”, as masters and owners of nature.[2] Could those “masters and owners” be anything else than human beings?
            Yet, this is only an illusion, proper to the world of the Japanese language. As a matter of fact, in Japanese, dare (who?) can only be human, and the etymology of the corresponding sinogram, too, supposes necessarily human existence, since it is composed with , speech – that unique attribute of the zôon logon echôn – and with , anciently a copula indicating an assertive modal value, coming from the sense of ornithomancy (auguring from birds), in Chinese niao bu 鳥卜. Dare , then, is without doubt a pronoun for some kind of human existence. On the other hand, in the initial French expression À qui appartient la nature ?, the pronoun qui (who) may represent a human, but also a non-human being. Then, asking “To whom does nature belong?” implies that the owner of nature may be any kind of being, perhaps nature itself. And effectively, Descola’s article reviews various possibilities in that respect.  
            However, in his conclusion, Descola proposes what he calls universalisme relatif, a relative universalism posing as its basic condition the relation of natural phenomena with human existence. This sounds quite close to that which Watsuji Tetsurô, in Fûdo (1935), conceptualized as “mediance as the structural moment of human existence” (ningen sonzai no kôzô keiki toshite no fûdosei 人間存在の構造契機としての風土性)[3], the basic condition of which is human subjecthood (ningen no shutaisei 人間の主体性). Though there is here obviously a similarity between the two thinkers, the fact is that, differing from philosopher Watsuji, anthropologist Descola does not propose such an ontological concept as mediance; yet one can surmise that his anthropologie de la nature (anthropology of nature) may have the same ontological grounds as Watsuji’s mesology (fûdoron 風土論). Indeed, just as I tried to do in Être humains sur la Terre (Being humans on the Earth, 1995), it seems that Descola also endeavours to found the possibility of an environmental ethics on the relationship of nature with the subjecthood of human existence, that is to say on mediance. 

2. Reconsidering dualism

I shall here understand subjecthood in a more general perspective than that which is at stake in human mediance (fûdosei), and examine the possibility of subjecthood and mediance (here kansekaisei 環世界性) in nature itself. This has been in fact the basso ostinato of my research for about thirty years, since, for instance, I ended Le sauvage et l’artifice (Wildness and artifice, 1986)[4] with a conclusion entitled “La Nature, ce sujet ultime” (Nature, that ultimate subject).
            Writing that book, dedicated to Japanese mediance, was indeed the first occasion I had to meditate upon the problem of subjecthood in the relation of the Japanese with their milieu (fûdo 風土). It is on that occasion that I decided to render the central concept of Watsuji’s mesology, fûdosei, with the neologism “médiance”, and correlatively to render with another neologism, that of “trajection”, the process which, in my own vision of mesology, produced that “structural moment of human existence” which Watsuji called fûdosei. For the Japanese translation of my book, Fûdo no Nihon (風土の日本, 1988), I also coined for that concept the neologism tsûtai通態. To put it simply, trajection is a temporal process, the result of which is the spatial structure of mediance. I shall delve later a little further into that question.
            If the occasion to conceive of such a problematics was my encounter with the Japanese milieu, as said above, the question in itself is of course a universal one. Yet, examining the peculiarity of the Japanese milieu is that which gave me the possibility to discover it, and it was also a continuous incentive to go deeper into the question. Indeed, I soon felt that I could not handle it within the sole frame of the modern classical Western paradigm, the two sacred pillars of which are nature as an objective machinery on the one hand, and on the other hand a transcendent cogito (the self-instituting “I think, therefore I am” of the modern subject), with the correlative dualism between subject and object. From thereon, I set about trying to conceive anew of the relation between nature and subjecthood from the point of view of mesology (環世界学, as the Japanese translation of Uexküll’s Umweltlehre)[5].
            There were two possible ways to do that. First, re-examining “nature”. Nature, at the same time, is the natural environment of a subject, but it is also at work within the subjecthood of that very subject, and thus cannot be dichotomized. Second, re-examining “subject”. A subject, while possessing self-identity, is also a continuous process of self-discovering (jiko hakken 自己発見) in the milieu – I had learnt that from Watsuji’s concept of jiko hakkensei 自己発見性 and Heidegger’s Dasein –; which makes that subjecthood  necessarily trespasses the boundary between the body and the environment. The place of subjecthood is not limited to the topicity of the physical body. In a process which I called chorésie (choresy),  it spreads out in some way and to a certain degree into the milieu as a set of eco-techno-symbolical relations. Moreover, inasmuch as nature is living, unlike a machine, it necessarily possesses a certain kind, a certain degree of subjecthood.

3. The variety and frailty of “subject”

The Greek hupokeimenon (that which is lying beneath, a basement) was translated with the Latin subjectum, same meaning, which begot subject, sujet, Subjekt, sujeto etc. in the main European tongues, an extremely ambiguous word, full of contradictions, and which caused a lot of trouble to its translators into Japanese, under Meiji. As a result, to the single “subject” correspond several Japanese words, some of them apparently without relation, or even antithetic: shugo 主語, shutai 主体, shukan 主観, shudai 主題, mondai 問題, riyu 理由, taishô 対象, kanja 患者, shinka 臣下, etc. Most intriguing is that the logician’s subject (shugo 主語) is the physicist’s object (taishô 対象 or kyakutai 客体). This is because it is, for both of them, the subject (shudai主題) they are concerned with.
            That is not all. Before Japan’s contact with Europe, the Japanese language did not possess an equivalent for “subject”. As linguists have made it clear (e.g. Yanabu Akira writing in his Kindai nihongo no shisô, Tokyo : Hôsei daigaku shuppankyoku, 2004, that “shugo – subject – was a produce of translation”, shugo wa hon’yaku de tsukurareta 主語は翻訳で作られた, title of the first chapter), most of the words cited above, which presently are of current use in Japanese, were created under Meiji, and the notions behind them were “imported goods” (hakuraihin 舶来品). For that reason, some linguists have reacted against these notions, arguing for instance that “in Japanese, no need of a subject” (Nihongo ni shugo wa iranai 日本語に主語は要らない, title of a book by Kanaya Takehiro, Tokyo : Kôdansha sensho mechie, 2002).  As a matter of fact, the grammatical triad S-V-O (subject-verb-object) which structures the main European languages and, thence, has sustained European thought and civilization, does not fit the Japanese language. For example, the famous sentence zô wa hana ga nagai 象は鼻が長い (literally “elephant nose is long”, i.e. “elephants have a long nose”) is impossible in English, since it seems to have two “subjects”; yet in Japanese, such sentences are quite common. In fact, the two particles wa and ga do not have the same function: zô wa is the theme (shudai), and the subject (shugo) is hana ga; but even so, such structures cannot ordinarily be met in European languages.
            Now, Chinese also belongs to another family than Japanese, but the fact is that, though it does not possess particles like wa or ga,  it can present the same structure as zô wa hana ga nagai, e.g. in neige ren zui dadade 那個人嘴大大的 (literally “this man mouth is big”, i.e. “this man has a big mouth”). Chinese grammarians call this structure “subject-predicate sentences”, zhuweiweiyu ju主謂謂語句, in Japanese shugojutsugo bunshô 主語述語文章. Here the subject becomes a predicate, and the predicate becomes a subject. This is not only impossible in the main European tongues, it seems also logically absurd; yet in Japanese, distinguishing wa and ga suffices to make it quite correct. For instance, Watakushi wa Beruku desu (I am Berque) is not Watakushi ga Beruku desu (Berque, it is me). The structure seems unchanged, but in fact, the subject and the predicate have been here interpolated, since the meaning of the second sentence is capsized into Beruku wa watakushi desu.
            Theses examples may seem mere quibblings, but they are not. The distinction between subject and predicate in logic, and its homology with the distinction between substance and accident in metaphysics, have structured European ways of thinking for more than two millenia, and eventually produced that civilization which has opened Anthropocene, a new geological era, and probably triggered the Sixth Extinction of life on our planet. Reconsidering such notions as “subject” is an urgent task.

4. Was 自然 nature?       

It seems nowadays that自然            (shizen) in Japanese corresponds to nature in the modern classic Western paradigm, that is a mechanical object opposed to the subject, but this is an illusion coming from the so-called hon’yaku shisô 翻訳思想 (translated thought) of Meiji times. Before that, the meaning of 自然 (jinen) was close to that which appears in the famous aphorism of the Laozi (XXV) Ren fa di, di fa tian, tian fa Dao, Dao fa ziran  人法地、地法天、天法道、道法自然, “humans follow earth, earth follows sky, sky follows Dao, Dao follows its own way”.  In Japanese, that 自然 was read onozukara shikari, “of itself that way”, which seems indeed an excellent translation.
            Surprisingly, this “of itself that way” may let one think of God’s answer to Moses on Mount Horeb, ehyeh asher ehyeh אהיה אשר אהיה, “I am that I am”, but there is in fact a radical difference. Whereas the God of monotheism transcends Creation, the Dao of Taoism is immanent to the natural phenomena of ziran. This means that the ultimate of subjecthood is in that very ziran (jinen, onozukara shikari).
            Now, Descartes’ assertion cogito, ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am”, which symbolized the self-institution of the modern subject, amounts substantially to that which I shall call “the Mount Horeb principle”: sum qui sum, “I am that I am” – or more logically (?) said, I am my own subject-predicate. And therefore, this self-instituted subject-predicate, the modern subject, transcends absolutely a from thereon objectified, mechanized nature. As Descartes writes in the Discourse on the Method, “I knew thereby that I was a substance, the essence or the nature of which is only to think, and which, in order to be, neither needs a place nor depends on any material thing” (Je connus de là que j’étais une substance dont toute l’essence ou la nature n’est que de penser, et qui, pour être, n’a besoin d’aucun lieu, ni ne dépend d’aucune chose matérielle, Discours de la méthode, Flammarion, 20081637, p. 38). Needless to say, the nature gazed upon by such a subject has little in common with jinen (onozukara shikari).
            Be it called dualism or mechanicism or utilitarianism or nominalism, etc., it is that same Mount Horeb principle which rules modern science, and consequently the modern world. It goes without saying that its ground is a mystic one, and does not result from any rational deduction.  Absolutizing subjecthood and making it the sole attribute of the human subject is by no means a rational, scientifically proved assertion. On the contrary, modern science has given us plenty of evidence that non-human living beings possess a certain kind, a certain degree of subjecthood. In physics itself, Heisenberg has clearly shown that, contrary to the modern classic paradigm, the object is not anymore nature in itself, but our relationship with it. Surprizing though it may be, that is ontologically nothing else than the principle of mesology, or that of Descola’s  relative universalism.
            Nevertheless, as if following the Law of the Ten Commandments, the mechanization of nature by science keeps going on, exemplarily so in molecular biology. As a case study, let us evoke the ostracization by the academe of Imanishi Kinji’s shizengaku 自然学 (“natural science”, without an s, not shizen kagaku 自然科学, the natural sciences with an s).

5. Locking out the subjecthood of nature

A few years ago, in a bookshop near Ebisu station, I found a book entitled Shinkaron wa naze tetsugaku no mondai ni naru no ka (What makes evolution a philosophical question?)[6], and immediately bought it. What an interesting question indeed! If one looks for that title on the web, one will read the following presentation: “In the philosophy of biology, the discussion develops beyond the frame of traditional humanities and philosophy. In this book, nine central researchers in the philosophy of biology, along the axis of evolution, deploy variegated questions encompassing philosophy of science, systems theory, mathematics, history, ethics etc.. They invite the reader to accompany them from matters of principle to particular questions”.  An enticing programme for sure! Now, reading that book or going over its index with a fine-tooth comb will show no trace of Imanishi Kinji’s theory of evolution, though it was hotly discussed in the second half of the XXth century. Quite strange, from the point of view of philosophy in the first place! Indeed, whether Imanishi’s theory was right or wrong, according to what criteria one can judge it one way or the other, and so on, ain’t these eminently philosophical, epistemological, ontological, methodological questions? Yet, far from it, what the said “nine central researchers in the philosophy of biology” do in fact is only locking Imanishi’s theory out of the problem. They exclude it “out” (foris) of their consciousness and “close” (claudere) its door – this is called foreclosure in psychoanalysis, and mura hachibu 村八分 in Japanese ethnography.
            Now, what commandment (okite ) did Imanishi infringe so as to deserve such an ostracism?
            Reading the title of one of his last books, Shutaisei no shinkaron (Subjecthood in the evolution of species, 1980)[7] suffices to give the answer: to the living which was supposed to  be a machine, he grants subjecthood, thus knocking down at the same time the two sacred pillars of the modern classical Western paradigm. Sure enough, he was murahachibu-ed out of the village (mura) of the so-called “philosophy of biology”...
            Yet, the said village comes under the judgment of King Ruo of the North Seas (Zhuangzi, Autumn flood): “there is no point speaking of the sea to the fish in the well” (jing yu bu ke yi yu hai zhe  井魚不可以語海者). From the point of view of an authentic philosophy of science,  the perspective differs. For example, in the December 2003 issue of the scientific journal Kagaku, under the title “Birth of a scientist of jinen” (‘Jinen’ kagakusha no tanjô 「自然」(じねん)科学者の誕生), Kawai Hayao, examining the basic character of Imanishi’s vision of nature, judges that what he endeavoured to grasp was not shizen  自然, the objectified-mechanized nature of the modern paradigm, but the “of-itself-that-way”, onozukara shikari of jinen自然 : “Imanishi talks about the natural phenomena of jinen (jinen no genshô 自然(じねん)の現象), he tries to perceive the shape of evolution in the in-itself-that-way changing power of existence (sonzai no onozukara shikaru henka no chikara ni 存在のオノズカラシカル変化の力に)” (p. 1). Going further, Kawai concludes that the natural sciences in the modern fashion, as an essential component of the régime which has brought forth a global sized environmental crisis, have come to jeopardize our very existence, and that, for that reason, exploring systematically the possibilities of the “natural science” which Imanishi delved into is an urgent task.
            I fully agree. By dint of systematically abstracting our existence from an objectified-mechanized nature, the contemporary régime of our civilization, maintained by science within the frame of the modern classical Western paradigm, sooner or later, may indeed erase humanity from the surface of this planet. We have the urgent task to re-examine thoroughly that régime and overcome it. However, did Imanishi’s “natural science” (without an s) really pave the way to such an overcoming?

6. Did the baby really “have to” stand up?    

As is well known, in the orthodox theory of evolution (Neo-Darwinism or the “modern synthesis”), the individual (by now the gene) is the basic unit of statistical populations, the changing percentage of which, under the effect of natural selection, entails the evolution of species. Needless to say, no subjecthood at all is at stake in this purely mechanical process, entirely ruled by chance (mutation) and necessity (statistical laws). Now, Imanishi rejected this ma            chinery, recognizing the subjecthood of living beings at several levels, mainly the individual, the species, and the “total biotic society” (seibutsu zentai shakai 生物全体社会).    That was not only obviously and consciously debasing one of the two sacred pillars of the modern classical Western paradigm, the non-subjectiveness of nature, it was also, unconsciously, to defy the mainstream of Western thought, successively illustrated by the disagreement between Plato and Aristotle, the debate over universals in the Middle Ages, the divergence between Spencer and Durkheim, up to Margaret Thatcher’s famous assertion, “There is no such thing as society”, sealing the victory of the (mainly Anglo-Saxon) armies of Nominalism (i.e. recognizing only the reality of the individual) over those of Realism (i.e. recognizing the reality of general terms). Indeed, Imanishi’s central concept of shushakai 種社会 (speciety, i.e. the socialness of species and of interspecic relations) frontally challenged Nominalism. It is not surprising that, consequently, a British geologist, Beverly Holstead, especially came to Kyoto in order to make him recognize his error and bring him to repentance. Holstead stayed several weeks in Kyoto and, though not reading a word of Japanese, wrote a book in which he demolished Imanishi’s conception of evolution: Kinji Imanishi, the view from the mountain top. This book was only published in its Japanese translation[8], but the author summarized his views in Nature 317, 17 Oct. 1985, 587-589.
            No wonder that, somewhat later, primatologist Frans de Waal, in his The Ape and the Sushi Master (New York : Basic Books, 2001, p. 111), wrote that Holstead’s impudence was a typically “colonial attitude”. Yet, though de Waal recognized Imanishi’s “enormous accomplishments” and “paradigm shift” in primatology (p. 119), he deemed as “murky ideas” (p. 115) the central point of his theory of evolution, which opposed to the natural selection of individuals a simultaneous change of the whole species. Indeed, one cannot say that Imanishi himself was clear on that point. In his late work, Subjecthood in the evolution of species, he gave up the idea of demonstrating rationally the said collective change, resorting to such images as “the baby stood up because it had to” (akanbô ga tatsu beku shite tatta 赤ん坊が立つべくして立った) in order to pose that evolution “changed because it had to” (kawaru beku shite kawatta 変わるべくして変わった). And, to explain that “beku” (an adverbial suffix expressing evidence or duty, corresponding to “of course” or “should” in English), he said no more (p. 202, 204) than he considered evolution not as a mechanism, but as a “course” (kôsu コース, a phonetic transcription of “course”). In a word, as the course of life.
            With such “explanations”, one may well understand that Imanishi’s theory of evolution was eventually ignored by the academe. Does’nt that “course” evoke some kind of mystical, anti-scientific teleology? Yet, the problem does not end here. Imanishi’s “course” seems indeed to be a sort of teleology, but if one examines it in the context of his “natural science” (without an s) and in relation with his problematics of subjecthood, one cannot so easily foreclose it.

7. Reconsidering beku  from a mesological point of view

In modern Japanese, the adverb beku (the continuative form of beshi 可し) expresses, as we have seen, evidence or duty, and also decision or will. All these terms imply subjecthood. Indeed, feeling an obligation, having a will, seeing as evident, taking a decision are all attributes of a subject.  As a matter of fact, the question of subjecthood pervades Imanishi’s works from beginning to end. Already in Seibutsu no sekai (The world of living beings, 1941), he refuses the idea of a univocal determination of the living by the environment, as implied by natural selection, and speaks instead of a “subjectivation of the environment, environmentalization of the subject” (kankyô no shutaika, shutai no kankyôka 環境の主体化、主体の環境化), an emblematic formula which he repeated until his last works.
            This is very close to Uexküll’s conception of Umweltlehre (mesology), but the fact is that Imanishi (1902-1992) does not refer to Uexküll (1864-1944). He does not refer either to Watsuji’s (1889-1960) fûdoron 風土論 (mesology), which, it must be said, is limited to human milieux, i.e. the ecumene (fûdo 風土). Imanishi, though, like Watsuji and Uexküll, poses as the founding condition of milieu the subjecthood of the concerned beings. Be it as it may, Imanishi’s “natural science”, like Uexküll’s Umweltlehre and Watsuji’s fûdoron, states that for the concerned being, what exists really is not the environment as such (the Umgebung in Uexküll’s terms, shizen kankyô 自然環境 in Watsuji’s terms), but a specific elaboration of that raw data, correlative to the concerned being (a species or a culture), which Uexküll calls Umwelt (ambient world, milieu), Watsuji fûdo (milieu), and Imanishi sometimes seikatsu no ba 生活の場, “place of life”, though he keeps on speaking more generally of environment (kankyô 環境).
            Accordingly, it could be said that Watsuji’s ontological concept of mediance as “the structural moment of human existence”, extended here to “the structural moment of living existence”, applies also to Imanishi’s “natural science”. “Moment” (keiki 契機), here, corresponds to the German Strukturmoment, a concept derived from mechanics, meaning the dynamic coupling of two terms (or forces), which are here the individual on the one hand, and on the other hand its milieu (which, in the case of the human, is eco-techno-symbolic). In mesology, this “moment” is the power which makes reality happen (ereignen, as Heidegger would have put it). Mediance, as such, i.e. as the dynamic coupling of individuals and their milieu, makes things move in a certain direction and evolve in a certain way. In other words, it generates a certain course in evolution – a “course” which, in its turn, may generate what Imanishi expresses as “beku, i.e. an “of-course”.
            Let us give a concrete example of this “of-course”, concerning the bipedalism peculiar to our gender Homo. For what follows, I rely on Christine Tardieu’s Comment nous sommes devenus bipèdes (How we became bipeds), Paris : Odile Jacob, 2012. Oddly enough, bipedalism is not inscribed in our genome. It is not biologically determined. That is why children who have accidentally been raised by animals, unless forced to stand up, keep on walking on four “legs”, like animals. Bipedalism requires that children live in a human context, i.e. a human family and society. That is not only to say that the child imitates adults and is encouraged by them. Scrutinizing the numerous films which she had taken, Tardieu remarked a curious fact. When standing up, the child takes a look at the faces of the adults around, just as if asking for their approbation.
            If one interprets this fact in mesological terms, a human child, for standing up, necessitates a set of human relationships (aidagara 間柄 in Watsuji’s terms); that is, a human (eco-techno-symbolic) milieu. That is not all. As Watsuji made it clear in his Ethics as the study of the human relationship (Ningen no gaku toshite no rinrigaku 人間の学としての倫理学, 1934), this relationship is the condition which founds the very possibility of ethics. Now, this leads to supposing that the motive which makes a baby stand up is the germ of that sense of duty which, in a grown up human, is the main ingredient of ethical behaviour. Would’nt the baby feel that, of course, it has to stand up? Which would correspond to Imanishi’s “beku”… Indeed, it is not facing a neutral environment (Descartes’ extensio), but immersed in a human milieu, that babies stand up; because, in such a milieu, they feel that they “have to”.
            But if such a motivation may be at work in the course of a person’s life, does that mean that one can apply it also to the course of evolution?

8. Reconsidering “course” from a mesological point of view 

We should not confuse subjecthood (shutaisei 主体性) with subjectiveness (shukansei 主観性). Subjectiveness, to put it simply, is the way we feel and interpret things, whereas subjecthood is the fact of being a subject, not determined by mechanical laws like a mere object. In what Uexküll calls a Funktionkreis (functional circle), the animal’s capacity to feel and to act co-institute each other. In my own version of mesology, this is called trajection: a bijective process in which the individual and the milieu are both an imprint and a matrix to each other, bringing forth the structure of mediance. The general environment (Umgebung) is only the ground or the raw material of this creative process, which produces both the peculiar reality of a certain milieu, and that of the individual corresponding to that milieu. Needless to say, trajection presupposes the subjecthood of the concerned being, whichever its scale: an organism, a person, a society, a species…
            Trajection, in other words, is a co-suscitation between subject and milieu, neither a mere determination of the subject by the environment, nor a mere projection of the subject’s subjectiveness onto the environment.  A good example of this process can be found in André Leroi-Gourhan’s interpretation of the emergence of our species, in his Le Geste et la parole (Gesture and speech, 1964), which we can summarize in three words: anthropisation of the environment by technique, humanisation of the environment by symbol, and feedback of the techno-symbolic milieu (called “social body” by Leroi-Gourhan) thus created into the “animal body”, entailing hominization. This clearly amounts to what Imanishi called “subjectivation of the environment, environmentalization of the subject”.
            Now, changing the time scale, there is no reason that the same trajection would not have been at work in other instances of evolution. All living beings have their own functional circle, within which they act and react depending on their own degree of subjecthood, from the most primitive instances of life to the human cogito. Needless to say, such a view radically, ontologically differs from that of a mere determinism by natural selection. In natural selection, only the general environment (Umgebung) intervenes, not the peculiar milieu (Umwelt) which is, in fact, concrete reality for a certain species. As Uexküll’s experiments have shown, environment as such does not exist for an animal; then why would’nt a living being  adapt, rather, to the concrete reality of its milieu? That is, reacting creatively – as a subject – to that reality, rather than being blindly determined by the universal machinery of a purely material environment…
            A classical criticism addressed to the orthodox theory of evolution is indeed that, while it can explain the stability of species, it fails to explain the creativeness of nature, i.e. the infinite variety of species and their constant renewal. If creativeness there is, then it supposes some kind, some degree of subjecthood; which means, in its turn, that natural selection – i.e. environmental determinism – cannot be the main factor of evolution. This is, in a word, the reason why Imanishi rejected Darwinism.  
            However, even if one admits that evolution is a creative, not a mechanical process, is it for all that possible to say that species possess enough subjecthood for choosing their “course” and, accordingly, “change because they have to”?
            Now, a “course” is not necessarily determined by a goal, that is, teleologically. It does not necessarily imply the mysticism of a teleology. It suffices that a subject, looking back at the progress it has already made in a certain way – i.e. remembering in some way its own course –, takes it into account when choosing to go forward one way or the other, according to the circumstances. This is neither chance nor necessity, but historical contingency. As Machado wrote, “Caminante, no hay camino (…) Caminante, son tus huellas / El camino y nada mas”. For sure, mechanicism does not admit poetry, but creativeness is necessarily poetic in the strong sense, i.e. poietic, since it does nor repeat the same processes like a machine does. In that sense, life and its evolution have been poietic from the beginning, and have progressed along their way like Machado’s walker, without a goal but with a course, and remembering that course for going further.
            By now, this remembrance is called the genome, but the principle remains the same, and this principle is nothing else than the trajective combination of subjecthood and milieu into a certain mediance. Needless to say, the subjecthood of a bacteria is not so elaborate as that of Descartes’ cogito, but, be it at different ontological levels, both follow their course spontaneously (onozukara shikari 自然), just like Machado’s walker : forging ahead according to their history and to the circumstances, that is to their milieu[9].

Palaiseau, 18 November 2015.


第四章 Ph. デスコラの「自然は誰のものか」をふまえて
Augustin BERQUE

1. 「誰」とはどういうものか
ところが、そういう印象は日本語の世界特有の仕業にすぎない。日本語では確かに、「だれ」と言えば、必ず人のことであるし、漢字「誰」の成り立ちも人間存在を前提としているのである。と言うのも、その字が人間だけが話す言葉「言」(ごんべん)+音符「」(ふるとり)で出来ていて、その音符もまた人間特有の「古い鳥占(とりうら)の俗を示すもので、誰も不特定のものを推測するとき鳥占の俗を示す字であろう」(字通)。「誰」とは、やはり人間存在の代名詞なのだ。さて、それに反して、元文のフランス語題「À qui appartient la nature?」に出ている代名詞qui(誰)は、人間に限らず、一般の生物をも、無生物をも代名することができるのである。とすると、「自然はquiのものか」と聞けば、答えも、自然の(持ち)主は、自然自身をも含めて、人間に限らず、森羅万象のなかのどんなものでもありうるわけだ。題を読み過ぎて、デスコラの論文の内容を読みはじめるとすぐに気が付くように、彼は確かに、それら多様な可能性を考慮に入れているのである。
とはいえども、論文の結論に提案として出ているuniversalisme relatif (相対的普遍主義)もやはり森羅万象の人間存在との関係性を基本条件としていて、それは和辻哲郎が『風土』に書いたように、「人間存在の構造契機としての風土性」が人間の主体性を前提としていることとの共通性は明らかであろう。そういう意味では、デスコラの見方は和辻のそれと似ていて、人類学者デスコラが哲学者和辻と違って、風土性というような存在論的な基本概念を提唱してはいないのが事実だが、前者のanthropologie de la nature(自然の人類学)は後者の風土論と似たような存在論を基盤にしていると推測することができるかもしれない。実際、私もかつて『地球と存在の哲学』において試みたように、デスコラも環境倫理の可能性をそういう自然と人間存在の主体性との関係性(つまり風土性)を基盤に設立しようとしているように思われる。

2. 二元論の再検討
ここではしかし、風土性に係る人間存在の主体性よりも一般的な意味で、人間風土においてのそれには限らないような主体性、つまり自然そのものにおける主体性をも考慮に入れたいのである。この問題提起は三十数年も前から私の研究の通低音であって、それを初めて明確に表現したのはおそらく1984年の夏に書いた(あとで『風土の日本』という題をもって和訳された)本において、結論をLa nature, ce sujet ultime (自然という至極の主体)と題したときであったと思う。
したがって、そういう再構築には二つの道があった。一つは、「自然」の再検討であった。自然は同時に主体の自然環境でありながら、而して主体の主体性そのものの中に働くのであって、それを両断することができない。もう一つは、「主体」の再検討であった。主体は自己同一性を持ちながら、而して風土の中に「自己発見」(和辻の「自己発見性」やハイデッガーのDaseinから習った事実)していて、その主体性の場は絶対にその体の局所性(topicité)に限界づけることができない。やはり風土にもある風、ある程度に発散しているはずだ。それに、自然も生きているかぎり 、機戒と違ってある種、ある程度の主体性を持たねばならないのであった。

3. “Sujet”の多義性と危うさ
ギリシャ語hupokeimenon(下に横たわるもの、基底という意)の訳語であったラテン語のsubjectumから由来する欧州の主な言語におけるsujet, Subjekt, subject…という言葉は極めて多義的、一見して矛盾だらけの用語であって、明治になってそれを日本語に訳すには大変な苦労がかかった。その結果として、現代日本語においてたったひとつの単語であるsujetに相当する用語はいくつもあり、その中に一見して無関係で、場合によって相反するのもある:主語、主体、主観、主題、問題、理由、対象、患者、臣下等は皆あの唯一の単語に相当し、そこで一番不思議なのは、論理学者にとってのsujet(主語)とは、物理学者にとってのobjet(対象または客体)に他ならないということだ。なぜかというと、両者にとっての主題(sujet)であるからだ。

4. 「自然」はnatureであったのか
            こういうような「おのずからしかり」は案外に、聖書(『出エジプト記』 3, 14)に出ているヤーヴェのホレブ山の山頂でのモーゼへの返事「ehyeh ascher ehyeh」(わたしは有って有る者)を思わせるが、じつは根本的に違うのである。というのも、一神教のヤーヴェが森羅万象を絶対的に超越するのに対し、道教における道のおのずからしかることは森羅万象に内在的であり、森羅万象の自然(じねん)、自然の至極の主体性そのものである。
            ところが、近代主体の自己創立を表現したかの「われ思う、ゆえにわれ有り」が思=有という同一化を設定し、結局ホレブ山の山頂で発言されたかの「わたしは有って有る者」に相当するのである。われは有って有る者だというわけであって、私はそれを「ホレブ山の原理」と呼んでいる。なぜかというと、件の「者」(近代主体)の主体性は客体化された森羅万象(近代自然)の機械性を絶対的に超越するからである。『方法序説』に書いてあるように、「私はそこで知った、自分は存在するために何の場所もいらず、何の物体にもよらない実体であり、その本質または性質はただ思うことである、と」(“Je connus de là que j’ étais une substance dont toute l’essence ou la nature n’est que de penser, et qui, pour être, n’a besoin d’aucun lieu, ni ne dépend d’aucune chose matérielle”, Discours de la méthode, Flammarion, 2008 1637, p. 38).

5. 自然の主体性の外閉
数年前に、『進化論はなぜ哲学の問題になるのか』という題の本(松本俊吉編著、勁草書房、2010年)をある本屋で見つけて、すぐに買った。興味深い問題なのだから。今はこの本をウェブで探せば、次のように紹介されている:「生物学の哲学では、既存の人文系、哲学系という枠を超えて議論が繰り広げられている。本書は、日本における生物学の哲学の中心的研究者たち9人が進化論を軸に、科学哲学、システム理論、数学、心理学、歴史学、倫理学など様々な分野と接点をもって、バラエティある話題を展開。原理的な問題から個別的な問題へと読者を誘う」。魅力的な課題に違いない。だが、この本を読んでみても、索引を調べてみても、二十世紀後半に大いに討論された今西進化論は一回も出てこない。これはまず、哲学一般の立場ではおかしい。なぜならば、今西進化論が間違っていたかどうか、間違ったとすれば、何を標準にして間違っていたと判断できるかなど、優れて哲学的、認識論的、存在論的、方法論的な問題である。しかしそうではなく、件の「生物学の哲学の中心的研究者たち9人」がやっているのは、ただ今西進化論を問題提起から外閉(forclore, lock out)したにすぎない。意識の「外」に排除して、意識の門を「閉」じたというわけだ。典型的な村八分に他ならない。

6. 赤ん坊は本当に「立つべくして立った」のか
周知のように、政当進化論においては、固体(今は遺伝子)を単位にした統計学的な合計(population)を量り、自然淘汰によるその比率の変化によって生物は進化する、と考えられている。いうまでもなく、そこには何の主体性も働かず、偶然(突然変異)と必然(統計法)に支配されるただの機械的な過程であるのである。さて、今西はそういう機械性を否定し、生物に主体性を認め、それをいくつかの水準(個、種、全)で考慮した。それは自然の無主体性という西洋古典近代範例の一つの掟に違反しただけではなく、プラトンとアイストテレスの対立に溯り、中世の普遍論争querelle des universauxデュルケームとスペンサーの対立を経てマーガレット.サッチャー元首相の名発言「There is no such thing as society」に至るいわゆる実念論舎réalistes(類の実在を認める派)と唯名論者nominalistes(個の実在しか認めない)の対立に無意識的に引き込まれ、彼の基本的な概念である「種社会」や「生物全体社会」は近現代になって(特にアングロサクソン圏において)優勢を取った後者の支配を真っ正面に挑んだので、もう一つの神聖な掟を冒涜したのである。罰として、彼の間違いを認めさせ、悔悟させるためかのように英国からサッチャー級の唯名論者、B.ホルステッドBeverly Holsteadという地質学者がわざわざ来京し、数週間の短い滞在の間、今西進化論をくつがえす本まで書いた(『今西進化論の旅』、築地書館、1988年)。原文Kinji Imanishi : the view from the mountain topは未刊だが、著者はその内容をNature 317, 17 oct. 1985, p. 587-589 に要約した。
四半世紀が経った後、著名な霊長類学者フランス・ドゥバールFrans de Waalがホルステッドのずうずうしい態度はすこぶるcolonial attitudeであったときびしく批判したのは驚くこともない(The Ape and the Sushi Master, Basic Books, 2001, p. 111)。だがしかし、ドゥバールも、今西の霊長類学におけるenormous accomplishmentsparadigm shift (p. 119)を誉めながら、今西進化論の中心説である(個体の自然淘汰にたいして)種全体の同時変化については、難解な考え(murky ideas, p. 115)であると、控えめにしか評価しない。じつは、今西自身その説を積極的に証明しようとしたとはいいがたい。晩年の『主体性の進化論』において結局、そういう共動変化を合理的に証明しようとするのを諦めて、赤ん坊が「立つべくして立った」と同じように、進化も「変わるべくして変った」としかいわないのである。どうしてこのような「べく」になったかというと、進化を機械としてではなく、「コース」として観ているからだ、としか説明してくれない(p.202, 204)

7. 「べく」を環世界学の立場で再考する
            こういう考え方はユクスキュルJakob von Uexküll (1864-1944)の環世界学Umweltlehreの立場に非常に近いが、私が読んだ今西(1902-1992)の論文に限れば、彼は一回もユクスキュルとその環世界学に参考しないのである。また、環世界学とすっかり同じ前提(ただし、人間に限る)を持つ和辻(1889-1960)の風土論にも言及しない。ともかく、今西自然学も、環世界学も、風土論も、個であれ、社会や種や生物全体社会であれ、まず存在者の主体性を前提に置き、その主体にとっての現実を環境一般(ユクスキュルのいうUmgebung、和辻のいう「自然環境」)に還元することができないことを明らかにした。主体との特殊な関係において、環境一般から特殊な環世界(和辻の場合は風土)が生まれるわけだ。「生活の場」とかのようなはっきりしない表現にとどまって、今西は環世界や風土というような本格的な概念を使わないが、彼の「主体化された環境」がそれに明らかに相当するのである。
さて、この抽象的な原理を、まず二足歩行を具体的な例として調べてみよう。以下の論証は、その問題を専攻にししているC. タルデChristine Tardieuの著書『我々はどうやって二足歩行者になるのか』(Comment nous sommes devenus bipèdes, Odile Jacob, 2012)による。案外に、二足歩行は人間のゲノームに記入されていず、決定されていない。だから、偶然に動物(例えば狼)に育てられた人間の子、いわゆる「狼子供」は成長してもいつまでも四足歩行の状態にのこり、動物のように動き続けるのである。二足歩行者になるためには、やはり人間的な環世界(家族、世間)が必要である。赤ん坊は大人を真似て、大人に励まされて初めて立つだけのではない。そういう場面のフイルムを何本も撮って、分析したタルデウは妙なことに気が付いた。赤ん坊が立つ瞬間、周りの人々の顔をちらりと横目で見る。まるで彼らの意見や称賛を乞うかのように。

8. 「コース」を環世界学の立場で再考する
            この通態という相起こし(co-suscitation)は、ただの主観性の投影ではなく、新しい実体としての主体とその環世界を同時に産み続けるのである。例えば、人類学者アンドレ.ルルワグランAndré Leroi-Gourhan (1911-1986) の解釈(Le Geste et la parole1964)によると、人類の出現(ヒト化)は三重の過程であって、それにおいては同時に技術体系による環境の人工化(anthropisation)と、象徴体系による環境の人間化(humanisation)と、その帰還作用(フィードバック)によってヒト化(hominisation)が起こった、と。それは明らかに、今西が主張した環境の主体化、主体の環境化という過程に相当するのである。
じつは、われわれがホレブ山の原理の狂信者ではない限り、そういう可能性を探らなければならない。なぜかというと、もし進化はただの偶然(突然変異)の結果だったとしたら、たんぱく質の可能な組み合わせの数(およそ10130乗)を考慮にいれば、元状態の生物を作るためには、宇宙の年齢をはるか(いわば無限)に超える時間がかかったはずであるからである。とすると、必ず或る種のコースがあったはずなのだ。この数学的な必然性の神秘的な解釈(例えばかの「知性ある何か」intelligent designの仮定)を排除するならば、生命全体の各水準(個、種、全)において、自分のコースを有る風、ある程度に決めるほどの主体性を前提しなければならない。
さて、「コース」といえば、必ずしも目的によって決められているのではない。必ずしも目的論の神秘性を必要としない。ただ顧みて、主体が自分の足跡を見れば歴史世界において「自己発見」さえすれば、そこにある方向性、ある趣が自然に、おのずからしかり発生するはずだ。まるでマチャードのあの有名な詩かのように、Caminante, no hay camino (…) Caminante, son tus huellas / El camino y nada más (旅人よ、道がない 旅人よ、道とは君の足跡にすぎない)、生命やそれを肉体化する生物皆が生きている限り、自己存在意識、つまり主体性を持たなければならないのである。そうでなければ、自己と環境とを区別し、その区別を保つことが出来ず、環境に解散され死ぬしかない。それで、その自己意識を持つためには、自存在の記憶が必要である。その記憶を今はゲノムと呼んでいるのだが、原理には変わりがない。その原理とは、主体性に他ならない。言うまでもなく、バクテリアの主体性はデカルトのコギトのそれほど発達してはいないが、そこにまた、原理には変わりがない。それを「マチャードの原理」と呼んだら、すぐにわかる。訳してみればこうなる:「生物よ、コースがない 生物よ、コースは君の歩んだ道(進化)そのものであって、おのずからしかりに法ったにすぎない」。


[1] The present paper is a free translation of my contribution, Shizen to shutaisei 自然と主体性, to a collective book edited by AKIMICHI Tomoya, Kôsaku suru sekai – shizen to bunka no datsukôchiku (Intertwined worlds – deconstructing nature and culture), forthcoming at Kyoto University Press, associating the Japanese translation of an anthology of Ph. Descola’s essays with related Japanese essays. The original Japanese version of my text can be found at the end of the present translation.
[2] In Japanese : shizen no nushi to shoyûsha kanoyô ni  自然の主と所有者かのように.
[3] First line of the book, Tokyo : Iwanami, 1979 (1935). I have translated and commented this book in French : WATSUJI Tetsurô, Fûdo, le milieu humain, Paris : CNRS, 2011.
[4] English title Japan. Nature, artifice and Japanese culture, Yelvertoft Manor : Pilkington Press, 1997.
[5] On this point, see my La Mésologie, pourquoi et pour quoi faire (Mesology, why and what for), Paris-La Défense : Presses universitaires de Paris-Ouest, 2014.
[6] MATSUMOTO Shunkichi (ed.) Shinkaron wa naze tetsugaku no mondai ni naru no ka, Tokyo : Keisô shobô, 2010.
[7] Which I recently translated into French : IMANISHI Kinji, La Liberté dans l’évolution. Le vivant comme sujet, suivi de La mésologie d’Imanishi, par Augustin Berque (Freedom in evolution. The living as a subject, followed by Imanishi’s mesology), Marseilles : Wildproject, 2015. As for justifying this title, one may refer to Peter KOSLOWSKI, Philipp KREUZER, Reinhard LÖW (hrsg), Evolution und Freiheit: zum Spannungsfeld von Naturgeschichte und Mensch, Stuttgart : Hirzel, 1984.
[8] Imanishi shinkaron no tabi (A journey to Imanishi’s theory of evolution), Tokyo : Keisô shobô, 1988.
[9] The main ideas here briefly alluded to are developed and argued in my Poétique de la Terre. Histoire naturelle et histoire humaine, essai de mésologie (Poetics of the Earth. Natural history and human history, an essay in mesology), Paris : Belin, 2014.