mardi 22 avril 2008

Lost in place

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One of these days, I often read books and articles for mini-mémoires. Since I came here in Paris, I have been amazed to find out reading philosophical articles is very difficult such that no matter how many times you read, you cannot reach to the point of understanding. In some sense, scientific articles are much easier to understand. I feel like I am now in the process of learning how to read for the first time in my life. In fact, I experienced the same feeling when I lived in New York City long time ago. This is sort of déjà-vu feeling. At that time I realized for the first time that I learned how to write while I looked at the way my British professor corrected my draft for scientific articles.

Today, after a few hours of reading, I felt a little tired and went out for walking in my quartier. During this refreshing time, I felt like being lost in place. I was unable to tell where I was walking. I like this kind of "sense of nowhere".

vendredi 18 avril 2008

Finalement, les vacances de printemps commencent

Marc Riboud (24 juin 1923 à Lyon - )

Deux semaines de vanaces commencent dès ce week-end. Je suis heureux parce que j'aurai le temps de me concentrer sur les sujets de mini-mémoires et de me préparer pour l'examen oral. Après avoir fini tout cela, je commencerai à écrire mon M1 mémoire. Les vacances d'été seront très intéressantes. Lire, penser, écrire, voyager, relire, réfléchir, récrire et voyager, si possible ....

En même temps, je me sens un peu triste, peut-être parce qu'on ne peut que regarder le temps passer. A la place de la Sorbonne, l'exposition de Marc Riboud, "MAI 68", se déroule maintenant. On peut y regarder ce qui s'est passé il y a 40 ans au même endroit. Pendant 40 ans, qu'est ce que j'ai fait ? J'en suis satisfait ? Tout ce que je peux dire maintenant, c'est que toutes mes activités pendant 40 dernières années m'ont guidé sur le chemin de la philosophie à Paris.

Two weeks of the spring vacation has started from this weekend. I feel relieved for the first time since I came here in Paris. However, there are many things to do during this vacation. For example, two mini-mémoires of 15 pages each, and one dissertation. For mini-mémoires, I am planning to write about the biopolitique of Michel Foucault and about the concepts of disease and health of Georges Canguilhem. Furthermore, I'll have to prepare for two oral examinations on 150 pages of extracts from about 10 philosophers of sciences. This will the first time to take oral exams. Naturally, I am a little nervous. All these things are too much for a person who wants to learn French by studying philosophy here in Paris. Probably because of this, all of the French scientists who I met here said to me "You are courageous". This is in strong contrast to the Japanese counterparts who said "I envy you".

Regardless of this hard student life, I am satisfied to be able to lead a life free of sense of obligation. If I want to read, I can read as much as I want without thinking of time and place. I can spend time as I want. This is something precious, de luxe. Being in a situation without obligation, you can think about very basic things in life in such a way that you don't think for something but think for think sake. Look directly into things without thinking of its significance or its applications, for example. The first thing I noticed in French philosophy when I came here is this non-utilitariste attitude and honestly I was impressed by that. To do this, however, you have to have time. As Pascal once mentioned, people don't use time for this type of activity but use it for divertissement. I am beginning to understand what Pascal intended to say.

dimanche 6 avril 2008

Le premier examen écrit a fini !

En semestre 1, la validation a été basée sur le mini-mémoire dans tous les cours. Donc j'ai eu beaucoup de temps de réfléchir sur la sélection des mots et sur le style. Mais cette fois-ci, je devais passer un examen écrit de 2 heures jeudi dernier. J'étais donc sous pression constante jusqu'à ce moment-là. Et cet examen a finalement fini. Je suis soulagé pour l'instant. Devant moi, il y a encore un mémoire et quelques mini-mémoires. La date limite est mi-mai. Une autre torture commencera bientôt.

jeudi 3 avril 2008

Philosopher of science named Philip Kitcher

The other day I went to the seminar by Philip Kitcher, John Dewey professor of philosophy at Columbia University. I knew his name from the course of Semestre 1 but never read his papers or books seriously.

  Philip Kitcher (born in 1947)

The title of his seminar was "Ethics after Darwin". He has been thinking and writing on this topics for the last 20 years. That is because he agrees with John Dewey. He thinks the problems around ethics have to be considered all way through one's life. I happen to think being alive is nothing but philosophizing and keeping asking questions is the key to this life.

First of all, he is opposed to the sociobiology based on the hard-core evolutionism. According to him, the problem of ethics is understood only in the light of history. This thesis can be applied to every aspects of human activities. In any case, he talked about his analysis on the development of ethics in the 50,000 years of "experiments of living" (words of John Stuart Mill). During this process, altruism was born as a way for the group of people to survive. Technologies including means of transportation, collaborative efforts, and a new value of humane living were also developed by the workings of ethics. His approach to the ethics is not like "you should do this or do that under such and such conditions" but the ethics is an object that one should think about throughout his or her life. His attitude toward ethics is to continue to think about the problems by looking through historical glasses. I found his tolerant but tenacious approach very attractive. You can hear some of his thoughts in this interview.

  Living with Darwin (July 13, 2007)