GIP Lecture 25: Daisuke Kamei

-Tuesday 31 January, 12 pm CET (UTC+1)

Prof. Dr. Daisuke Kamei, Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan: "Jacques Derrida and Shūzō Kuki: On Contingency and Event"



 I would like to do an attempt of comparative consideration between Japanese philosopher Shūzō Kuki (1888-1941) and French philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004). In his essay titled "Metaphysical Time"(1931), Kuki says that "the once-only and infinite life is worth living". In my view, this apparently paradoxical term "the once-only and infinite" expresses the core of the time theory of Kuki. On the other hand, Derrida uses a similar expression. For example, he says, "the event cannot appear to be an event, when it appears, unless it is already repeatable in its very uniqueness", that is, he proposes the "idea of uniqueness as immediately iterable" (in his essay in 1997, "A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event"). It seems that these two formulations share something in common in the fact that both have the same philosophical task to think at the same time the singular uniqueness and the infinite iterability.

 How can we bring these two formulations together? Although both have different shades of meaning, couldn't we argue that the two correspond to one another very profoundly? I would like to make clear the measurable proximity between the philosophy of Kuki and the thinking of Derrida. For this purpose, I would like to make a correlation between Kuki's contingency theory in his book The Problem of Contingency (1935) and Derrida's thinking of the event, which is also no other than the thinking of contingency.

GIP LECTURE 26: Mathias Obert

-Thursday, 23 Feb 2023, 12:00 CET (=UCT+1)

Prof. Dr. Mathias Obert, National Sun Yat-Sen University Taiwan: „Als Phänomenologe unterwegs in japanischen Gärten“

The Lecture will be given in GERMAN

GIP Lecture 27: Eric Nelson

-Tuesday, 18 April, 12 pm CEST (=UTC+2)

Professor Dr. Eric Nelson (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology): "Daoist wuwei in the Anthropocene"


Wei wu wei 為無為 has been interpreted as indifference and inaction, minimalism and adaptability, and responsive resonance and releasement. Despite the depoliticization of wuwei as a mystical state, a flexible knack, or a reflexive flow, its early meaning was ethical, political, and social. In the Daodejing 道德經, wuwei concerns the art of rulership and the ways in which peoples and things “anarchically” organize and nourish themselves. “Nature” (ziran 自然) consists of the interactive self-patterning and participatory self-ordering of the myriad things (wanwu 萬物) correlated with wuwei and the shared nourishing of life (yangsheng 養生). Daoism has been criticized as opposing action vs. inaction, complexity vs. simplicity, culture vs. naturalness, hierarchical society vs. “primitive” freedom and equality. Its point is participatory relationality: it fosters simplicity in complexity, naturalness in culture, responsive attunement in activity, and reciprocal self-ordering. Daoist wuwei concerns the appropriate uses of things and technologies, indicating an alternative response to the Anthropocene.

Eric S. Nelson is Professor of Philosophy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has published on Chinese, German, Jewish, and intercultural philosophy. He is the author of “Heidegger and Dao: Things, Nothingness, Freedom” (Bloomsbury, 2023), “Daoism and Environmental Philosophy” (Routledge, 2020), “Levinas, Adorno, and the Ethics of the Material Other” (SUNY Press, 2020), and “Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought” (Bloomsbury, 2017).