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Japanese Environmental Philosophy$
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J. Baird Callicott and James McRae

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456320.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Thinking the Ambient

Thinking the Ambient

On the Possibility of Shizengaku (Naturing Science)

(p.13) Chapter 1 Thinking the Ambient
Japanese Environmental Philosophy

Augustin Berque

Oxford University Press

The philosophical implications of shizen (nature). IMANISH Kinji (1902–1992) attained international acclaim as the initiator of a paradigm shift in primatology by recognizing the animal’s subjecthood, sociality, and capacity for cultural learning. Imanishi was also an entomologist, ecologist, anthropologist, and a great mountaineer; he was fundamentally a philosopher of nature, life, and biological evolution. He summarized his epistemological stance not in terms of shizen kagaku自‎然‎科‎学‎, the natural sciences, but rather as shizengaku自‎然‎学‎, a “naturing science” in which the scientist participates in the general subjecthood of nature, and thus is able to know it hermeneutically—that is, from the inside—making science itself a particular aspect of nature’s general dynamics. This way of thinking is opposed to the modern distinction between subject and object, and is grounded both in the Japanese language and in attitudes toward nature, which in fact imply an ambient rather than a subject.

Keywords:   nature, shizen, Imanishi Kinji, ecology, natural science

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