New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Kaibara Ekken and Virtue in Science

Maji Rhee, Waseda University (Japan)


This article analyses science education from a Japanese Neo-Confucian scholar, Kaibara Ekken (1630-1714)’s perspective. The purpose of this article is to introduce and focus on Kaibara’s philosophy based on virtue and practical learning.  Kaibara’s approach to Neo-Confucian thoughts is unique due to his emphasis on the “scientific learning” and “practical learning” which were marginalized by the orthodox Confucian scholars.  One of the cultural vocabulary words in Japanese, monozukuri or “the making of things” reflects Kaibara’s authentic notion of virtue different from Confucian principles.  The provenance of monozukuri spirit can be tracked from Kaibara’s discourse on science and learning: A keen and critical observation of life from plants, trees, and insects is the core humanity that supports the method of doing science. Kaibara’s concept of learning will serve as an ideal epistemological consilience between the natural science and understanding of the human virtue. 

Keywords: Japan, Science Education, Consilience

[1] Yosohachi Yokogawa, “Kaibara Ekken” The Pedagogical Seminary v. 24, 1917, 337-345
[2] Mary Tucker & Berthrong, John eds. Confucianism and Ecology, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998.


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