ようこそ、Cirhcへ。学問研究の変化を意識しつつ,その困難に挑む。

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Our Mission Statement

1. Reading Classical Languages
We put all our effort in reading Japanese and Western classical languages (i.e., ancient Greek and Latin). In undergraduate liberal arts education here in Japan, it is the norm to elect one of the Western modern languages as a second foreign language (beside English required as a first foreign language, which we Japanese are already familiar with in elementary and secondary education), and it is unfortunately the case that there is little opportunity to learn Western classical languages in the classroom. The fact of the matter is, however, that one can deepen one’s understanding of modern languages by acquiring some knowledge of classical languages at the origin of the former. Also, since a language in its essence consists of both letters and sounds together, we produce our own tutorial videos demonstrating how to read classical texts such as ancient Greek texts of Plato and Aristotle. In addition, we will be hosting a classics reading group on a regular basis. Thus we make every attempt to approach the classics from not only letters but also sounds.

2. Reading Original Texts
As is concerned with the first point, reading original texts means here interpreting primary literatures in the languages in which they were written, including literatures in modern languages, aside from translations and commentaries on them. Since most of the important foreign literatures are already translated into Japanese and/or English, as it stands now, it appears to be sufficient to conduct academic research. An important key to historical and cultural studies is, however, an attitude of consulting original texts on one’s own. Not only is it interesting by itself but it also quite often gives one different impressions from secondary literatures. Furthermore, in some cases where it is difficult to exhaust what’s going on in translation, although it does not necessarily mean that there are problems with translation, one can clarify the real meaning of what is said there by getting back to the original.

3. Research in Logic, Philosophy of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science
We conduct research in theoretical philosophy with a focus on the areas of logic, philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science in general. The Löwenheim-Skolem Theorem of classical logic and the Skolem Paradox as its consequence philosophically imply the model-theoretic thought to the effect that a sentence depends for its truth-value upon a conceptual scheme in which it is placed, and this thought finally inclines one to hold that there is no unique complete description of the world independently of conceptual schemes. From this perspective, there come to light Quine’s thesis of the indeterminacy of translation and the underdetermination of scientific theory as well as Putnam’s turn from metaphysical realism to internal realism. The following question was at the heart of Quine’s philosophy: If there are multiple internally consistent but mutually inconsistent theories and they are all empirically equivalent, then which theory should one choose from them? Quine is skeptical of the possibility of the unique true scientific theory and goes in a direction where he claims that one can talk about the truth or falsity of sentences only relative to the background theory. By considering the possibilities and limits of this model-theoretic thought in contrast with Platonism and also paying attention to the relation between essence and existence, we could more clearly see the differences in nature between the objects of natural science and the mathematical objects. Among non-classical logics, modal logic is an interesting area, which contains applications to possible-world theory.

4. Investigation of Deontological Ethics
Our main research interest in practical philosophy is the investigation of deontological ethics. There are two major strains of debate concerning the foundations of morals. One is the debate over the epistemic status of moral judgments between descriptivism and non-descriptivism (or prescriptivism), i.e., the problem of whether or not a moral judgment can be reduced to a description of fact. This problem is related to the debate between cognitivism and non-cognitivism, i.e., the problem of whether or not a moral judgment has a truth-value. It is worth noting here non-descriptivist cognitivism holds that a moral judgment cannot be reduced to just a description of fact because of its prescriptive force such as commendation or condemnation (non-descriptivism) but it has a truth-value (cognitivism). The other is the debate over the adoption of substantial moral principles between consequentialism (utilitarianism) and non-consequentialism (deontology). The deontologists claim that in some cases utilitarianism, which is committed to maximizing the good, infringes upon the rights of the minority. While reflecting on the tradition of social contract theory from the ancient to the present and keeping the utilitarians’ objections in sight, we shall explore the possibility of deontological ethics. Moreover, as far as applied ethics is concerned, by citing familiar cases from, in particular, business ethics, environmental ethics and biomedical ethics, we shall undertake a challenge to bring a variety of contemporary ethical and moral issues into focus in the light of classical ethical theories.

5. Interdisciplinary and Comprehensive Research in History and Culture
Our mission is, based on all the above, to do research on the history and culture of Japanese and Western civilization from an interdisciplinary and comprehensive perspective. Also, with our intention of referring to mainly the temporal axis in terms of history and the spatial axis in terms of culture, we denominate ourselves “the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in History and Culture (CIRHC).” As is concerned with the model-theoretic thought aforementioned in the third point, an important element in historical and cultural studies is a notion of relativizing the history and culture where one oneself is placed. The idea is that there are no common values throughout all times and places but what is right or wrong is meaningful only in the time and place where it is located. As is concerned with the investigation of deontological ethics aforementioned in the fourth point, however, we should pursue universal values beyond historical and cultural differences, which mean the fundamental values that apply regardless of social structure. Nowadays the pursuit of this sort indeed gets much tougher and tougher as academic work becomes highly fragmented and specialized, and also increasingly strengthens the naturalistic tendency. On the other hand, however, we must continue to make tireless effort to organize highly fragmented and specialized scientific knowledge and construct an integrated and systematic image of the world as a whole.

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