p. 292 in Intractable Neurological Disorders, Human Genome Research and Society. Proceedings of the Third International Bioethics Seminar in Fukui, 19-21 November, 1993.

Editors: Norio Fujiki, M.D. & Darryl R.J. Macer, Ph.D.


Copyright 1994, Eubios Ethics Institute All commercial rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced for limited educational or academic use, however please enquire with Eubios Ethics Institute.

Towards ethics, rooted in philosophy*

Tutomu Kuwaki
Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, Chuoh University, Tokyo, JAPAN


When one digs at the base of the various sciences, eventually we reach a common water vein and can draw up fresh water from it. The common field of vision we call Learning (Gakumon), which forms a part of the spiritual activities of humankind will gradually reveal itself. This is the original source and is also a forum of philosophy.

Thus let us consider science in connection with philosophy (the former carried out on the basis of experience, while the latter comments on the former). In other words, philosophy takes it for granted that one of her important tasks lies in the making of inquiries about the premises from which the sciences start. I want to bring them together into a theory of learning (gakumon-ron) in the narrower sense, i.e. to join a theory of science (kagaku-ron) and of philosophy (tetsugaku-ron) under theoretical philosophy.

Upon this foundation, I erect ethics and political philosophy as pillars, and in the middle of them, a theory of technique (gijutsu-ron). When these are rooted over with art and religion, then those parts of this house above its base belong to practical philosophy, including the realm of both theoretical and practical philosophy as the theory of learning in a broader sense. So I can draft a rough sketch of my "house of philosophy" be it ever so humble. There is now much discussion of bioethics which is, from a standpoint of the theory of learning, including in the area of ethics as the practical philosophy.

While assuming some important points, let us consider the conclusion. Once Goethe described "a laboratory scene" in the second part of his Faust, where the faithful disciple Wagner created a tiny human being (Homunkulus) in a test tube by the combination of several materials. Now it may seem perhaps possible to create artificial life on earth or confirm the existence of extraterrestrial life. However, I value highly "humanism", which shouldn't be human-centrism, but take all life on this earth into its consideration. Hence I want to define humanism as follows: It is striving and effort, and spiritual tension of human beings as we should always be human-like and continue to be more and more human. Therefore, it is necessary, I think, to prepare an ideal plan for a future ideal society made by both individuals and groups, through the co-existence of human beings with natural and mechanical environments. This is the theme that humankind must come to grips with at the end of this century.

*eds. Prof. Kuwaki was unable to attend the Seminar due to Illness, this is an abstract of what he intended to discuss.


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