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Ethics and Aesthetics

After graduation, I was selected as a special research student in the university’s Graduate School.

This position came with working conditions equivalent to those of a research associate, so I was supplied with a monthly stipend. My area of study was “From Metaphysics to Ethics.”

I sought to establish a metaphysical basis for practical reasoning and then advance/transform metaphysics into ethics.

I was convinced that philosophers would finally start to examine this subject. It had to happen, I thought; it was only logical.

About that time, Professor Watsuji embarked on a history of ethics – not a normative study but an empirical study of fact.

Analytic philosophers with growing reputations prided themselves in ignoring ethics and aesthetics.

At a gathering of the International Institute of Philosophy (IIP), A. J. Ayer spat at me, “Ethics and aesthetics are not true branches of philosophy.”

What is the situation now, fifty years later?

Although Burton Dreben and a few others persist in Ayer’s view, during the past decade, ethics has frequently been discussed in philosophical journals and publications in every nation.

At the Twentieth Would Congress of Philosophy held in Boston in August 1998, I was elected president of the International Society for Metaphysics.