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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

The Future of Phenomenology, a Philosophy Starting from Yourself
School of International Liberal Studies Professor Seiji Takeda Seminar

Shotaro Iwauchi / 4th year student at the School of International Liberal Studies

In phenomenology, you must place the starting point in yourself. Professor Seiji Takeda says to his students that it is important to start from own experiences and then understand yourself and others to explore the possibilities of coexistence. Of the many students attending Professor Takeda's seminar who have suffered various setbacks in the past, many have been forced to face themselves front on. By placing family relations or failed love at the center, they take on a distorted view of the world. It is difficult to find out the structure behind this distorted view when thinking by yourself, so it needs to be recaptured by others.

In Professor Takeda's seminar, while reading from Edmund Husserl's basic text, "Ideen," we discuss the true essence (meaning) of various concepts. There we discuss by the method of epokhe, one of the essences Professor Takeda took from phenomenology. Basically speaking, epokhe is reflecting back on your own personal experiences relating to a certain concept, and then taking the central essence from that concept.

For example, when we touch upon the subject of the true nature of failed love, we all begin with simple statements such as "sadness" and "painful." As the discussion progress, we approach the structure that is common to failed love. The appeal in using the method of epokhe in a discussion is that it is like a language game where everyone can participate simply by reflecting on past experiences. Because, as its aspect, there lies your own experiences which are more important than anything you can learn from the outside world, epokhe makes you take a good look at yourself. And philosophy is reduced to your life.

There was a time when I personally felt philosophy was pointless, because whatever I learnt was useless in healing my pain and sadness. But Professor Takeda tells me to put my thoughts into my own words. Nervously, I try expressing my thoughts. Nobody criticizes me. When Professor Takeda told me that, in philosophy, like learning from a profound thinker, it is important to recapture yourself, I believed in the future of Takeda phenomenology.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)