Meaning of life is incomparable

A new paper entitled “Is Meaning in Life Comparable?: From the Viewpoint of ‘The Heart of Meaning in Life’ ” has been uploaded. In recent analytic philosophy, many philosophers argue that one’s meaning in life can be compared with others, however, I believe it is wrong in a sense. In this paper, I propose the concept of “the heart of meaning in life” and this cannot be compared with anyone’s meaning in life. This is a logical conclusion.

The following is the abstract:

The aim of this paper is to propose a new approach to the question of meaning in life by criticizing Thaddeus Metz’s objectivist theory in his book Meaning in Life: An Analytic Study. I propose the concept of “the heart of meaning in life,” which alone can answer the question, “Alas, does my life like this have any meaning at all?” and I demonstrate that “the heart of meaning in life” cannot be compared, in principle, with other people’s meaning in life. The answer to the question of “the heart of meaning in life” ought to have two values, yes-or-no, and there is no ambiguous gray zone between them. I believe that this concept constitutes the very central content of meaning in life.

You can read the paper here:
http://www.lifestudies.org/meaninginlife01.html

- Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Manga and Philosophy

An English translation of my 2013 book “Manga Introduction to Philosophy” is finished. We are now looking for a publisher.

The text and original drawings were made by me, and professional cartoonist Nyancof Terada made final cartoons for me using his PC. This is not a book that illustrates the history of philosophy or great philosophers in the past. This is a book of philosophy the text and original drawings of which are made by the author, philosopher, himself.

The following is from the page 18 of Chapter 1 “What is Time?”.

manga and philosophy

You can see other cartoons here:
http://www.lifestudies.org/manga00.html

If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Masahiro Morioka – www.lifestudies.org

Frigid men and their sexuality

A complete translation of my book “Confessions of a Frigid Man: Miniskirts, Lolicon, and Male Sexuality” was finished. A provisional translation had been uploaded but this time it was renewed. A professional translator translated it for me. You can read part of the translation here:

http://www.lifestudies.org/insensitiveman00.html

I am going to add a preface and a new postscript for English readers. This translation will probably be published from a publisher in the USA or other countries (the publisher is undecided).

– Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Principle of wholeness

Today I went to Michigan State University to give a talk on “brain death, the concept of persona, and the principle of wholeness.” This seminar was broadcast live on the Internet, which was recorded and uploaded online on the website of MSU.

The recording of “Brain Death, the Concept of ‘Persona,’ and the Principle of Wholeness” (my talk and Q&A with the slides I used).

Before and after my talk I had discussions with professors at MSU. We talked about various issues surrounding brain death, which was very helpful for my future research. MSU has a huge campus, especially its field for agricultural research is tremendous. I have never seen such a big campus in Japan.

– Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Japan, Land of Herbivore Men?

On September 26, I went to Western Michigan University and gave a talk on “hervibore men” in English. I had expected ten to fifteen audience members, however, more than 100 people, almost all of them were students, came to hear my talk. I was very surprised to see a huge audience. After my talk, young students on the floor asked me several questions and we had a really good discussion there. It seemed that young students were really interested in the Japanese herbivore men phenomenon.

Concerning “herbivore men” visit:
Herbivore Men (Herbivorous Men)

After the talk some faculties and I went to a cozy restaurant and had a delicious dinner. Karamazoo is a beautiful small town with a number of traditional-style houses.

My lecture at Western Michigan University, “Japan, Land of Herbivore Men?”:

– Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Persona and herbivore men

On Sep.20th and 21th I gave talks at Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan: on brain death and the concept of persona and its relation to the philosophy of Tetsuro Watsuji on 20th, and on Japanese “herbivore men” on 21st.

The Concept of Persona in Bioethics and the Philosophy of Tetsuro Watsuji

On both days many people, not only university faculties and students but also local citizens, attended the seminars. On the first day I talked for an hour in English and had a discussion for 30 minites, and on the second day I talked for an hour in Japanese and had a discussion in Japanese and English for about an hour.

Both discussions were very interesting to me. On the first day about 50 people came. On the second day, surprisingly, more than 20 people came despite my oral presentation was made in Japanese. This was probably because many students who are studying Japanese culture have curiosity about gender and sexuality issues in current Japan.

There I met graduate students who are doing research on such as the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, Japanese sex trade shops customers, and homeless people in a Japanese city. I hope their fieldworks in Japan will be successful.

–Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

What is human dignity in the age of biotechnology?

The paper “Human Dignity and the Manipulation of the Sense of Happiness
: From the Viewpoint of Bioethics and Philosophy of Life”, Masahiro Morioka, Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.2, No.1 (March 2012):1-14, was uploaded. You can read the entire paper at:

http://www.philosophyoflife.org/201201.html

Abstract:

“If our sense of happiness is closely connected to brain functions, it might become possible to manipulate our brain in a much more refined and effective way than current methods allow. In this paper I will make some remarks on the manipulation of the sense of happiness and illuminate the relationship between human dignity and happiness. The President’s Council on Bioethics discusses this topic in the 2003 report Beyond Therapy, and concludes that the use of SSRIs might make us “feel happy for no good reason at all, or happy even when there remains much in one’s life to be truly unhappy about.” I will extend their line of thought through two thought experiments. In the first, a “perfect happiness” drug is given to a person, and in the second a happiness device with an on/off switch is placed inside a person. The first case leads us to conclude that a life with dignity means a life free from domination by the sense of happiness and the sense of unhappiness. The second case leads us to conclude that a life with dignity requires substantive freedom to choose unhappiness. At the end of this paper, I present a new interpretation of “human dignity,” that is, “a life with dignity means a life in which we are able to explore our own life, equipped with both happiness and unhappiness, without regret, through relationships with others, without being exploited by the desires of anyone, and without being dominated by our own desires.””

— Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

What is narrative responsibility?

A paper by Takanobu Kinjo and Masahiro Morioka entitled “Narrative Responsibility and Moral Dilemma: A Case Study of a Family’s Decision About a Brain-dead Daughter” was published in the journal Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 2011. You can read the entire paper at:

http://www.lifestudies.org/narrative.html

The following is an abstract:

“A brain death case is presented and reinterpreted using the narrative approach. In the case, two Japanese parents face a dilemma about whether to respect their daughter’s desire to donate organs even though, for them, it would mean literally killing their daughter. We argue that the ethical dilemma occurred because the parents were confronted with two conflicting narratives to which they felt a “narrative responsibility,” namely, the responsibility that drives us to tell, retell, and coauthor the (often unfinished) narratives of loved ones. We suggest that moral dilemmas arise not only from conflicts between moral justifications but also from conflicts between narratives and human relationships.”

In this paper we propose a new idea “narrative responsibility” by taking an example of the parents whose beloved daughter was diagnosed to be dead in the state of brain death. They believed their brain-dead daughter was alive even after the diagnosis and we can witness a kind of a family reunion made possible by their brain-dead daughter. This is a really moving story. In Japan many people do not accept brain death as human death and if they refuse brain death on the donor card they are considered alive until their heart stops. We would like to hear your comments and/or opinions on this topic.

— Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Human beings have the right to grow and die in the form of wholeness

My paper “Natural Right to Grow and Die in the Form of Wholeness: A Philosophical Interpretation of the Ontological Status of Brain-dead Children” has been published in the journal DIOGENES in 2011. You can read the entire text at:

http://www.lifestudies.org/naturalright.html

The following is an abstract:

“In this paper, I would like to argue that brain-dead small children have a natural right not to be invaded by other people even if their organs can save the lives of other suffering patients. My basic idea is that growing human beings have the right to grow in the form of wholeness, and dying human beings also have the right to die in the form of wholeness; in other words, they have the right to be protected from outside invasion, unless they have declared their wish to abandon that right beforehand. I call this the principle of wholeness. Natural rights, which were discussed by Hobbes and Locke in the 17th century, have to be extended to include the right to grow and die in the form of wholeness in the age of scientific civilization, where peripheral human lives are being threatened by aggressive biomedicine and other advanced technologies. ”

In this paper I argue that human beings have a natural right to grow and die in the form of wholeness, and I call this idea “the principle of wholeness.” According to this principle, organ removal from small brain-dead children is prohibited, and research on fertilized eggs is also prohibited, in order to protect unconsciouss human lives in the state of growing and dying. This idea shows a sharp contrast with the personhood argument in bioethics advocated by Michael Tooley and Peter Singer. And my argument is different from that of conservative bioethics. This is a new approach to bioethical issues. Of course I understand that this is a minority idea from a world point of view, but you can find a consistent logic that should be taken seriously if we are to pay respect for peripheral lives in the age of biotechnology.

This is a paper in the field of “philosophy of life” as well as bioethics. If you are interested in the philosophy of life as a discipline please visit the website of the Journal of Philosophy of Life:

http://www.philosophyoflife.org

— Masahiro Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Human dignity and happiness

This November I am going to NY and give a presentation on human dignity and the sense of happiness at a bioethics conference. The following is an abstract of the presentation.

_______________________

Some Preliminary Remarks on Human Dignity and the Manipulation of the Sense of Happiness

Masahiro Morioka, Osaka Prefecture University, Japan

 Abstract

If our sense of happiness is closely connected to brain functions, it might become possible to manipulate our brain in a much more refined and effective way than current methods allow. In this presentation I will make some remarks on the manipulation of the sense of happiness and illuminate the relationship between human dignity and happiness. The President’s Council on Bioethics discusses this topic in their report Beyond Therapy, and concludes that the use of SSRIs might make us “feel happy for no good reason at all, or happy even when there remains much in one’s life to be truly unhappy about.” I will extend their line of thought through two thought experiments. In the first, a perfect happiness drug is given to a miserable person, and in the second a happiness device with an on/off switch is placed inside a miserable person. The first case leads me to conclude that a life with dignity means a life free from domination by the sense of happiness and the sense of unhappiness. The second case leads me to conclude that “having a freedom to feel unhappiness” is not the same as “being free from the domination by a sense of happiness;” however, I am not confident about the second conclusion. In order to fully explore the philosophical and ethical issues on human dignity and happiness in the age of biotechnology, we have to establish a new discipline in the field of philosophy, the “philosophy of life”.

– M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Herbivore men (herbivorous men) phenomenon

I have moved to Wordpress. I am going to update this blog once or twice a month from now on.

I have completely reconstructed the layout of the main site, Lifestudies.org, and joined Twitter and Facebook. I will try to tweet once a day.

I have uploaded a page on the “herbivore men” phenomenon in recent Japan. This became a buzzword last year, and many international media reported about the concept and its cultural background. In Japan, herbivore men are generally considered to be young boys such as those illustrated in the below picture.

This is the front cover of my book, Lesson of Love for Herbivore Boys (2008).  Anyway, if you are interested in “herbivore men” in Japan please visit the page:

http://www.lifestudies.org/specialreport04.html

and let me hear your comment. This is a fairly interesting topic for gender studies and men’s studies. The above book was a byproduct of my gender studies and life studies. At the moment I am concentrating myself on a new book on philosophy of time and being. And I am now preparing for a new project on philosohy of life at our university. I will write about it soon here.

– M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

Former posts

Former posts before April 2010 can be found at:

http://www.lifestudies.org/weblog/

– M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org