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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Watsuji Tetsurō (1889–1960) was a contemporary of the Kyoto School of Japanese philosophy’s founder Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945). In his first major philosophical work, Fūdo or Climate and Culture, written partly in response to Heidegger’s Being and Time, Watsuji develops the idea of fūdo or milieu (often translated into English as “climate”). This lays the groundwork for his concept of ethics and self as ningen, the focus of his later work. Watsuji encourages us to think about our place in the network of relationships comprising our world. This chapter argues that this network of interdependence is stressed throughout Watsuji’s philosophy. It discusses his suggestion that we are all embedded in a network of relationships from the moment we are born—not just human relationships, but also relationships with our planet. It also demonstrates how Watsuji’s philosophy of what he calls “betweenness” (aidagara) is relevant today for thinking about environmental ethics.

Keywords: Watsuji, environmental ethics, ningen, milieu, climate, fūdo, betweenness, interdependence, philosophical anthropology, nondualism

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