Faculty and research guide

Laboratory of Philosophy

Welcome to Laboratory of Philosophy!

Table of Contents:

1. Self-Introduction
2. Major Works
3. Short History of the Laboratory
4. The Image for the Research Themes
5. Some Examples of Graduation, Master, and Doctral Theses

1. Self-Introduction

Takenouchi Hirobumi:
Professor of Organization for Designing Future Society, Faculty of Agriculture, and Graduate School of Science and Technology

Area of Research:
Philosophy, Ethics and Death Studies

Short History of My Academic Life:

  Soon after enrolling in Tohoku University (Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science), I lost my father. His death confronted me with the mortal character of human life. I started visiting Self-reliant Home ‘Arinomama-sha’ (currently called as “Sendai Arinomama-sha”) of the severely disabled, where I met with the late Abe Yasutsugu who had been my friend for 20 years until he died in 2008.

  Inspired by Plato’s words “Practice for Death (Phaedo 64a3-4) (closely examining the way one lives)”, I decided to study philosophy. I transferred to Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Letters where under the supervision of Professor Iwata Yasuo, I specialized in the philosophy of Heidegger, Martin. In 1996-1997, I studied at Humboldt University, Berlin in Germany as a granted student. In July 2002, I obtained my PhD from Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University. My doctoral thesis is titled “The Philosophy of Heidegger and Christianity – On the Young Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Religious Life”.

  In the fall of that year, I attended the workshop for clinical ethics hosted by Professor Shimizu Tetsuro, and met the late Doctor Okabe Takeshi (died in 2012) for the first time there. In the spring of 2003, he and I built Thanatology Collegium. Since that time, I have been involved in end-of-life care activities and death studies.

  I began to visit patients’ homes with palliative care professionals such as doctors, nurses and other care workers. Through the experiences, I realized the value of dialogues with patients and their families. I also met some elderly patients engaged in farming practices. Having dialogue with them, I was led to the significance of “land” and “nature” for human life.

  Taking notice of an interrelation between ‘the view of death and life’, and ‘the perspective on nature’, I came close to agricultural and hunting and gathering lives in rural and mountain areas connected with the native land and surrounding settings.

  In April 2006, I moved into a new post as Associate Professor of Graduate School of Science and Technology and Faculty of Agriculture, Shizuoka University, and became a Professor in 2010.

  Invited as a guest Professor at University of Boras, I stayed in Sweden from 2011 to 2012. Deeply impressed by the everyday dialogue practices in Swedish society, I established some places for dialogue practices, such as Philosophy Cafe (2013-2019), Death and Life Cafe (2015-present) and School for Philosophy and Dialogue (2019-present).  
  Since January 2019, I have been a co-investigator of the International Joint Research (The Mitori Project) with University of Glasgow, whose principal investigator is Professor Clark, David. This project will continue until August 2020.


2. Major Works

● Takenouchi, H. (2019) Shitotomoni Ikiru Kotowo Manabu: Shisubeki Monotachino Tetsugaku [Philosophy of the Mortals]. Polano Publishing, pp.317.

● Akitsu, M, Sato, Y, and Takenouchi, H. (2018) Nou to Shoku no Atarashii Rinri [Ethics of Agriculture and Food]. Showado, pp. 310.

● Takenouchi, H. (2018) Dwelling in the World with Others as Moral Beings; “Well-being” in post-disaster Japanese society, Routledge Handbook of Well-Being. Routledge, pp.51-57.

● Takenouchi, H and Asahara, S. (2016) Soushitsu to tomoni Ikiru: Taiwa suru Shiseigaku [Thanatology in Dialogue with Grief Support]. Polano Publishing, pp.308.

● Abe, Y and Takenouchi, H. (2010) Nanakorobi Yaoki Netakiri Inochino Akasi: Kuchimausu de Tsuzutta Kinjisu: Jiritsu Seikatsu 20 nen [ Life with Muscular Dystrophy in Self-reliant Home, written out with Mouth Mouse]. Shinkyo Publishing, pp.328.

● Okabe, T and Takenouchi, H. (2009) Douiki Doushinuka: Genbakara Kangaeru Shiseigaku [How Do We Live? How Do We Die? : Thanatology at Bedside]. Kyusenshoin, pp. 279.

3. Short History of the Laboratory

The Establishment of “the Laboratory of Philosophy”, as integrating the concepts and spirits of “Environmental Philosophy” and “Environmental Bioethics”

  The department of Sciences for Human Environment was founded in 1996. It was the time when “the Laboratory of Environmental Philosophy” was established by Professor Haga Naoya. In 10 years I (Takenouchi Hirobumi) took over the laboratory, when I arrived in Shizuoka University in April 2006.
  In Tohoku University, I had been specialized in the issues of death and life, visiting and meeting with the terminal patients. Arriving at Shizuoka University, I started intensive study on Environmental Philosophy. Then I came up with the idea to establish the “Environmental Bioethics”, as integrating “Bioethics” and “Environmental ethics” on the basis of the interrelation between life and environment. With the ambition to integrate both fields, I renamed the laboratory as “Environmental Bioethics” in April 2010.  
  Thereafter, I expanded the range of research field into “agriculture” and “food”. And I also started hosting dialogue cafes, such as “Philosophy Cafe (since 2013)”, “Death and Life Cafe (since 2015)” and “Political Cafe (since 2018)”. I realized however, the more those approaches across various fields, the wider range of definition for the laboratory should be needed. I decided not to name the laboratory based on subdivided specific research field. I finally broke through the framework of Environmental Bioethics Studies, and went back to the spirit of “philosophy” as itself. Philosophy is an unremitting quest, starting with the “sense of wonder”. “Love for wisdom”, that is the concept of philosophy originated from Ancient Greek. In this sense, philosophy encourages you to pursue the questions you are faced with in your life. This is how our laboratory has been named as “the Laboratory of Philosophy” since April 2018.


4. The Image for the Research Themes

5. Some Examples of Graduation, Master, and Doctoral Theses

Graduation Theses
● What Does It Mean to Live with Others? – On Definition of ‘Weakness’ in the Moomins Story Book

● Considerations on “Inochi”, Referring to “Matagi” life way in the Shirakami Mountains

● ‘Monoculture of the Mind’ and its Consequences

● On Conviviality, reflecting on the Works and Practices of Kamiya Mieko for Hansen’s Disease Patients

● Reflections on ‘Eating’ Practices in Our Dairy Lives, Accompanied by Cooking Expert, Tatsumi Yoshiko

Master Theses
● The City as the Lived Place, Seeking Urban Design for Human Life

● Self-Realization in a rural village, in search for ‘Good Life’ in Modern Society

● On the Land Use in Ordos, the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China – The Methods to Prevent Desertification and Sandstorm

● The Elderly Care led by ‘Normalization’ – The Challenge of Social Welfare Corporation Kiraku-en

● Rural Development and Human Development, With Respect to the Exploration of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka

Doctoral Theses
● Effect of Entrepreneurial Orientation on Business Performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs)

● Developing Regionalistic Model for Cities in Depopulating Society, Municipal Management and Civil Service Reform in Kita-Kyushu City.