TAGUCHI Shigeru Professor
Research Subject

E. Husserl’s phenomenology, philosophy of E. Levinas, K. Nishida, and H. Tanabe. Main research topics: Ego, subjectivity, intersubjectivity. Recent research topic: Rethinking “Reason” and “Reality” on the basis of a phenomenological theory of “evidence.”

Research Fields
German Philosophy, phenomenology and modern Japanese philosophy
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Research Group of Philosophy and Religious Studies / Laboratory of Philosophy and Ethics
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies / Laboratory of Philosophy and Ethics
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of Philosophy and Cultural Studies / Laboratory of Philosophy and Ethics

Office/Lab: 605
Email: tag(at)let.hokudai.ac.jp
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Laboratory of Philosophy and EthicsTAGUCHI Shigeru Professor

What is certainty? Phenomenological reconsideration of “reality”

Phenomenology refers to the science of re-examining “experiences” that are usually unrecognized, in order to identify the “logic” lurking in phenomena that mostly go unnoticed because they are taken for granted. Today, concepts of “what is certain” and “what is reasonable” waver. Facing this situation, I work on redefining “reality” by radically questioning anew the concepts of “certainty” and “reason”. In doing so, I also expect the “ethics” which underlies reality to become conspicuous. When pursuing this issue, it is helpful to know of the works of modern Japanese philosophers, especially those of Kitaro Nishida and Hajime Tanabe. Physicists, mathematicians and neuroscientists of our time are also facing the fundamental question of “What is reality?”. I am stimulated by dialogues with them, which I would like to develop further in order to advance the phenomenological reinterpretation of “reality” and “consciousness”.

Professor Taguchi’s book The Problem of ‘Primal I’ in Edmund Husserl: An Inquiry into the Obvious ‘Proximity’ of the Self (Hosei University Press: 2010) is highly regarded as a culmination of research on Edmund Husserl's phenomenology. It was first published in German (the right-hand book), and then in Japanese four years later.
At the Institute for Advanced Study in the State of New Jersey, U.S.A. This photo was taken in 2011, when I was staying there for joint research with Piet Hut, physics professor of that institute. The building with the clock tower is known as a symbol of the institute.

If you see things from an alien perspective, you will encounter an entirely different view.

Philosophy is an effort to disclose the preoccupied, seemingly obvious ideas that lurk in our daily lives. As in every field, epoch-making developments originate from new findings obtained by shifting everyone’s frame of reference or reexamining existing assumptions. This means that there is no one who has nothing to do with philosophy. Philosophical ideas definitely have the capability to change reality. I strongly believe that your experience gained through textual research, where you are drawn from your original standpoint into an unexpected world, is valuable not only in your research, but also in many aspects of your actual life.


Just living our day-to-day lives in modern times requires a wide range of complex knowledge and judgement. However, at the root of this complexity that causes us to bury our heads in our hands, there seems to be something relatively simple, a certain way of thinking that determines us. Philosophy helps us to re-discover simple things that are almost invisible in modern times and to re-examine the way we look at things that we unconsciously take for granted. While philosophical discourse may seem strange at first glance, this strangeness itself can sway our thoughts that ordinarily settle for obviousness, serving as a device to reveal our unnoticed preconceptions.

In my team, we assist each other in training ourselves how to read philosophical texts carefully and sharpen our own questions while closely relating them to the reality in which we live. When doing so, I place particular emphasis on the “phenomenological” perspective. I cordially welcome students who are interested in phenomenology, German philosophy, Japanese philosophy, and interdisciplinary research between philosophy, neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence. Reading philosophical texts and experiencing different fields and cultures can serve as clues to breaking through the framework of thought that unconsciously fetters you.

It is only through interaction with people who are different from you (at various levels) that you will come to realize the meaning of what you are doing. With additional opportunities to think about ways in which to effectively convey your ideas to researchers from different disciplines or to address various issues together with them, our philosophical thinking will be forced to change. I understand this change to be the process of one’s philosophy becoming more universal so that it can be conveyed to a wider audience.