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The ethics in Japanese information society: Consideration on Francisco Varela’s The Embodied Mind from the perspective of fundamental informatics

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The ethics in an information society is discussed from the combined viewpoint of Eastern and Western thoughts. The breakdown of a coherent self threatens the Western ethics and causes nihilism. Francisco Varela, one of the founders of Autopoiesis Theory, tackled this problem and proposed Enactive Cognitive Science by introducing Buddhist middle-way philosophy. Fundamental Informatics gives further insights into the problem, by proposing the concept of a hierarchical autopoietic system. Here the ethics can be described in relation to a community rather than a coherent self. The philosophical bridge between East and West is expected to solve the ethical aporia in the 21st century.

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A previous version of this paper was presented at the international conference on “Information Ethics: Agents, Artifacts and New Cultural Perspectives” (Oxford University, UK, 8-9 December, 2005). I wish to thank the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education and the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs for sponsoring the conference. I also thank the staff of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics for their helpful arrangements.

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Correspondence to Toru Nishigaki.

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Nishigaki, T. The ethics in Japanese information society: Consideration on Francisco Varela’s The Embodied Mind from the perspective of fundamental informatics. Ethics Inf Technol 8, 237–242 (2006).

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