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Inter Faculty, vol. 8


University of Tsukuba

From observations of phenomena culminating in the Fragmentation and Divergence of the previous volume, Inter Faculty now turns to considerations of action, the first chapter of which is Engagement.

Perhaps it is somewhat singular to focus on engagement, as this is the very cornerstone of any research problem in human sciences. The research problems of the present volume speak for themselves: identity and rights; transfer and evolution of linguistic concepts from one culture to another; reconsiderations of ethical interpretation.

But the discussion of engagement here is even more fundamental and deep-rooted, because it is the engagement of the researcher himself that is at issue; it is in his profound engagement towards his chosen research topic, towards the wider scientific community and human society that his research has meaning. Engagement is fundamental to research in the human sciences, (issues of society, culture, philosophy, the passing of time and space), but with deep-rooted engagement in every sense of the term, at every turn, on every level, a new perspective and more dynamic approach to research can be envisaged.

Peer Review Paper

Maintaining Identity and Rights of National Minorities: Visibility, Linguistic Landscape of the Slovene Minority in Carinthia

In his article, Andrej BEKEŠ, University of Ljubljana, takes the case of the ethnic Slovene peoples of Carinthia in Austria to discuss identity and rights of national minorities. The paper deals with the visibility of the autochthonous Slovene minority as one of the crucial factors contributing towards maintaining its identity in the territory of its traditional settlement. The paper focuses on the international legal framework concerning national minorities to elucidate the controversial issue of the language of a subset of topographical signs erected by the Austrian regional government.

For the author, the issue here is not that of safeguarding immigrant peoples as posed in every region of the world, but that which goes to the heart of identity itself; identity which is of an extremely complex nature, built up over the passing of history, movements of politics, ideology, society, division, fragmentation, oppression and more. Questions of personal identity and identity of peoples are at the heart of the author's research, and it is in this sense that he focuses on the autochthonous Slovene peoples confronted with issues of linguistic rights in the face of Austrian authorities and movements of ideology.

Peer Review paper

L'invention du genre grammatical au Japon et en Grèce antique
Emergence of Grammatical Gender in Japan and Ancient Greece

In her paper, Irène Tamba, EHESS Paris, explores the translation in Japanese of grammatical gender stemming from the Dutch language. She details how it took almost a century (1750-1850) for Japanese specialists in Dutch studies to understand grammatical gender and how, once this grammatical category was understood, it was transferred to the Japanese language. Genders were assimilated to the cultural concepts of yin and yang. From this semantic classification emerged the grammatical gender category with the discovery of Dutch grammars and literal transposition of Dutch terminology. She argues these two stages can also be found in Ancient Greece during the slow emergence (from the fifth century BC to the second century AD) of grammatical gender in the Greek language. Indeed, the Sophists led the foundation of a semantic noun classification from which morphological category was invented by grammarians. According to Irène Tamba, this convergence may lead to the hypothesis of two ordered steps in other cases of emerging grammatical categories, i.e. a semantic step followed by a grammatical stage.

This could seem a rather surprising subject of research, as grammatical gender is a well-established, shared concept, supposedly posing no problems. Nevertheless, how and by what intellectual process could this concept be transferred into a linguistic system where the category of grammatical gender did not exist? Instead of looking to the universalism of language for the solution, the author has gone to the core of the conflicting reality of two heterogeneous languages being made to correspond. In engaging in a unique and singular path, Irène Tamba has, with this study, opened a hitherto unsuspected new avenue of research.

Peer Review paper

The Development of Confucian Ethics in the Teachings of Itô Jinsai

This Research Note by Marko Ogrizek, University of Ljubljana, examines the works of Itô Jinsai, an Edo-period Japanese scholar of Confucianism and more particularly of Confucian ethics. Most often considered as an intermediary between the ideas of the Zhu Xi School, of which he was a critic, and the Sorai School, which in many ways he helped inspire, Itô Jinsai was also a Confucian ethicist in his own right.

Marko Ogrizek, however, does not limit his study to commenting a philological interpretation of Jinsai's works, but also attempts to reinterpret the thinking and life of Itô Jinsai in terms of 'embodiment of knowledge', as, according to the author, Jinsai's teachings on Confucianism and the way he lived his life are inseparable one from the other. The theory of Embodiment of Knowledge, stemming from phenomenology, has greatly influenced current cognitive science, and could open the way to a new framework within which to reconsider, and perhaps give a truer insight into, the works of Jinsai on Confucian ethics.


Articles by Andrej BEKEŠ, Irène TAMBA; Research Note by Marko OGRIZEK; foreword by Saburo AOKI.

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