«I taught at the seminar for “clinical philosophy” in Osaka University for ten years. This is a unique seminar titled “clinical philosophy” not only in Japan, but also probably all over the world. This seminar was renamed from the seminar for “ethics” in 1998, just 20 years ago. The purpose of this renaming was to philosophize with people, so to speak, at the “klinikos of society”. The original Greek word “klinikos (κλινικός)” meant a bed where patients are suffering. However, suffering people don’t lie always in bed, but work or study in daily life. The “clinical philosophy” in Osaka University intends to philosophize with such suffering people in daily life. We don’t therefore stay always in our workroom or in library, but visit various working places such as hospitals, schools, institutes for the elderly or persons with handicaps, or go to “agora” in the city, and discuss with people there. In this sense we can characterize our clinical philosophy also as “practical philosophy”, “philosophical praxis” or “field work philosophy”. This is one way of activities with the name “clinical philosophy” in Osaka University.
On the other hand, there is another way with the same name in Japan. It originates from the philosophical and phenomenological psychiatrist Bin Kimura. He had used the word “clinical philosophy” in 1993 before the seminar “clinical philosophy” was founded in Osaka in 1998. However, Kimura introduced the word just from his “psychiatric clinic”, because he thought that he had to philosophize in order to understand his psychiatric patients. Although his background was psychopathology which he studied with Binswanger, Blankenburg, etc. in Heidelberg, he decided to use the words “clinical philosophy” in order to characterize his activities. From such a background I would like to compare both ways of “clinical philosophy” in Japan and discuss the possibility of new style of co-philosophizing.»
On March 26 (Tuesday) at 18.00 a second lecture on the topic will be held at the CISR: “On Situation of End-of-Life Care in Japan”
At the Osaka University I taught Clinical Philosophy in the graduate school of letters, but Ethics in the undergraduate school of letters, and also Medical Ethics in the school of medicine. Contemporary European medicine is based on the objective natural science and has a tendency to forget the subjective life-world of patients and their families. The former must be however in my opinion supplemented by the latter, i.e. perspectives of patients and their familiy living in the life-world. This is my elementary idea to build a bridge between phenomenology of intersubjectivity and medical ethics.
In the prevailing Medical Ethics, e.g. Principles of Biomedical Ethics, by Beauchamp & Childress (1997), they discussed how the four principles, namely “Autonomy”, “Nonmaleficience”, “Beneficience” and “Justice” are applied to each concrete case. But most of problems in Medical Ethics arise in my opinion from the gap or passing each other of the three perspectives of patients, their family and medical-caring staffs. Here we can expect a role which “Phenomenology” can play in the field of “Medical Ethics”. From such a background I would like to introduce the situation of end-of-life care in Japan and discuss it with you.”