Yuko Ishihara is a philosopher with a specialization in modern Japanese philosophy (especially the Kyoto School tradition) and classical phenomenology. She completed her PhD at the University of Copenhagen in 2017. Her dissertation was a comparative study on Martin Heidegger’s and Nishida Kitaro’s critical engagement with transcendental philosophy in the late 1920s. She is primarily interested in the question of how our various modes of being in the world can reveal different aspects of the world. Or more specifically, she is interested in exploring the transformative character of philosophical reflection as a way of raising awareness of one’s place in the world.
• Japanese Philosophy
• Transcendental Philosophy
• Zen Buddhist Tradition
Yuko is currently exploring the topic of the “epoché”, or suspension of judgment in ancient Greek. In the beginning of the last century, Edmund Husserl introduced the epoché as a specific method in phenomenological reflection. It is a method of putting out of action our basic belief in the existence of the world. While we usually take such belief for granted (in fact normally we are not even aware that this is a belief), the epoché is a reflective procedure of setting this belief aside by first acknowledging it as a belief. As a result, we come to adopt what Husserl calls the “phenomenological attitude”, which calls us to appreciate the rich appearance of the world. Although for Husserl the epoche was primarily a theoretical method for the purpose of securing a field proper to phenomenological philosophy, Yuko is exploring the practical significance of the epoché. Putting aside Husserl’s philosophical project, could we not understand suspension of judgment as a way of cultivating an openness towards the world and other people? Rather than a theoretical procedure for the purpose of founding philosophy, the epoché would then be a practical method of nurturing the well-being of us all. Such liberal interpretation of the epoché can further shed light on the affinities between the phenomenological attitude and the meditative modes of being practiced in the contemplative traditions. Although the aim of phenomenology may be foreign, the core of the phenomenological method may be home to the contemplatives.
Yuko also engages with comparative philosophy as an approach to better understand the nature of the self and reality. She has mainly worked on phenomenology and Japanese philosophy with a specific interest in the development of transcendental philosophy in these traditions. Having completed a comparative research project on Heidegger’s and Nishida’s transformations of transcendental philosophy in the late 1920s, she is now focusing on more general questions concerning foundational issues, as well as applications of philosophy in other areas within and outside academia.
Institute for Advanced Study https://www.ias.edu/scholars/yuko-ishihara