Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

A work of this kind is never entirely one’s own; it draws upon the suggestions and support of others. As this book took shape, many people offered their expertise and assistance and I wish to express to them my gratitude. Above all, I am sincerely grateful to Tetsuo Najita and Jim Ketelaar at the University of Chicago ...

read more

Introduction: Ethics and the Universal in Meiji Japan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xvi

Moral universalism is a contentious idea. The theory of “moral universals”—the idea that all humanity or all those of a particular national or cultural community share certain common moral sensibilities, or that one’s own moral perspective is in fact a timeless moral truth—has in some form long been a central feature of moral discourse. ...

read more

Chapter 1. Civilization and Foolishness: Contextualizing Ethics in Early Meiji Japan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-21

During the first decade of the Meiji period (1868–1912), Japan was plagued by intense social turmoil. In the years immediately following the 1868 revolution that toppled the Tokugawa regime, the new Meiji government contended with riots, rebellions, and civil war, while perceptions of the very real threat of colonization, ...

read more

Chapter 2. The Epistemology of Rinrigaku

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 22-56

In the first two decades of the Meiji period, a number of texts appeared that took up the question of ethics. Some of the most important of these works included Nishi Amane’s “The Three Human Treasures”; Inoue Tetsujirō’s A New Theory of Ethics; Katō Hiroyuki’s A Reconsideration of Human Rights ...

read more

Chapter 3. Rinrigaku and Religion: The Formation and Fluidity of Moral Subjectivity

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 57-80

As the new discipline of ethics began to emerge out of the social disruption and moral disorientation of early Meiji, it contended with religion for the authority to speak for “the good.” At stake in this contest between ethics and religion was the human interiority. To what extent, if at all, should the state play a role in shaping the individual’s moral conscience? ...

read more

Chapter 4. Resisting Civilizational Hierarchies: The Ethics of Spirit and the Spirit of the People

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 81-113

In the 1890s, moral philosophers in Japan began to reconfigure the discipline of ethics. The utilitarianism and evolutionary naturalism that dominated the moral discourse of early Meiji gave way to a moral philosophy of spirit. This shift was part of an effort to resist the civilizational hierarchies imposed by the West and internalized ...

read more

Chapter 5. Approaching the Moral Ideal: National Morality, the State, and “Dangerous Thought”

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 114-152

The Taoist classic Tao te ching observes, “[W]hen the state is in confusion, it is then that there are faithful subjects.”1 Such a statement might well be describing turn-of-the-century moral discourse in Japan. At this time, while the “dangerous thought” of anarchism, socialism, and individualism threatened to undermine the foundation of the state, ...

read more

Epilogue: The Ethics of Humanism and Moral Particularism in Twentieth-Century Japan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 153-166

The discipline of ethics (rinrigaku) emerged in Japan not as an objective and value-neutral form of academic inquiry, but as one among many competing normative views on how society ought to be ordered. From the early Meiji period, when Inoue Tetsujirō and others established this discipline, ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 167-204

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 205-218

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 219-230

read more

About the Author, Production Notes, Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Richard Reitan received his doctorate in history from the University of Chicago in 2002. His research centers on issues of ethics, gender, and identity in modern Japanese intellectual history. He has published a number of articles on related topics, among them “National Morality, the State, and ‘Dangerous Thought’: Approaching the Moral Ideal in Late Meiji Japan” ...