The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Lecture: “The Power to Build the 21st Century―Learning from the Wisdom of Socrates and Kant”
Dr. Ishigami is a specialist in Philosophy and Ethics. He was the dean of the faculty of literature at Soka University, and from this year, has been serving as a senior research fellow at the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP). He has been leading a study on Arnold J. Toynbee and a comparative study of civilizations.
In his lecture, Dr. Ishigami presented his views on Socrates and Kant from a philosophical perspective to respond to the IOP’s general theme of the lecture series, “Creating a Global Civilization.”
Dr. Ishigami touched upon the issues of excessive science and technology and Japan’s aging society. He said that the question of “how human beings should live” is being asked in this chaotic 21st century and warned that human beings in this century have become slaves to technologies and a social system in which people are becoming more isolated.
He further remarked that Socrates and Kant were people who changed the way of seeing things and tried to seek the inner self. “They stressed the importance of thinking with an active attitude. The best ability human beings have is
‘thinking.’ The act of thinking, he said, is related to the dignity of humankind.
He went on to say that the act of thinking is soft power that nurtures mankind, but to suppress the act of thinking by violence is defined as hard power. Socrates connected people by the power of words, and Kant made human beings respect worthy as subjects of autonomy. Dr. Ishigami remarked that both Socrates and Kant perceived the eternity of life and sought the happiness of humanity based on this awareness. “Their views and thoughts on mankind provide many suggestions for solving myriad problems facing the contemporary society,” he said.