An Outline Of A Theory Of Civilization

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Overview

Yukichi Fukuzawa rose from low samurai origins to become one of the finest intellectuals and social thinkers of modern Japan. Through his best-selling works, he helped transform an isolated feudal nation into a full-fledged international force.

In Outline of a Theory of Civilization, the author's most sustained philosophical text, Fukuzawa translates and adapts a range of Western works for a Japanese audience, establishing the social, cultural, and political avenues through which Japan could connect with other countries. Echoing the ideas of Western contemporaries such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, Fukuzawa encouraged a grassroots elevation of the individual and national spirit, as well as free initiative in the private domain. Fukuzawa's bold project articulated thoughts that, for him, bolstered the material evidence of Western civilization. He argued that the essential difference separating Western countries from Japan and Asia was the extent to which citizens acted like free and responsible individuals.

This careful new translation, accompanied by a comprehensive critical introduction, highlights the truly transnational aspects of Outline of a Theory of Civilization and its status as a foundational text of modern Japanese civilization. Approaching Fukuzawa's progressive thought with a fresh eye, these scholars elucidate the monumental and peerless quality of his work.

Columbia University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231150729
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2009
  • Pages: 310
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901) founded Keio University, the first private university in modern Japan, and was an engaged speaker and controversial journalist. His books include Conditions in the West (1866) and An Encouragement of Learning (1872-1876).

David A. Dilworth is professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

G. Cameron Hurst III is professor of Japanese and Korean studies at the University of Pennsylvania and director of its Center for East Asian Studies. He is the author of Insei: Abdicated Sovereigns in the Politics of Late Heian Japan, 1086-1185.

Takenori Inoki is director-general of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, Japan.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Translators' New Foreword And Acknowledgments vii

Introduction Inoki Takenori xiii

A Note on the Text xxvii

Preface 1

Chapter 1 Establishing a Basis of Argumentation 7

Chapter 2 Western Civilization as Our Goal 17

Chapter 3 The Essence of Civilization 45

Chapter 4 The Knowledge and Virtue of the People of a Country 59

Chapter 5 A Continuation of the Preceding Chapter 81

Chapter 6 The Distinction between Knowledge and Virtue 99

Chapter 7 The Proper Times and Places for Knowledge and Virtue 139

Chapter 8 The Origins of Western Civilization 161

Chapter 9 The Origins of Japanese Civilization 175

Chapter 10 A Discussion of Our National Independence 225

Appendix Chronology of Japanese history, with special reference to Fukuzawa Yukichi and An Outline of a Theory of Civilization 261

FukuzawaYukichi: Some Representative Writings 264

Further Reading 264

Index 267

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