Empirical Aesthetics in Japan
Entitled "Neuronal Humanities and Empirical Aesthetics", an international symposium (“Humboldt-Kolleg”) held at the University of Tokyo from 18 to 19 May 2019, was intended to spark off a German-Japanese dialogue on empirical aesthetics.
Dr. Yasuhiro Sakamoto from the Department of Language and Literature and his colleague Prof. Dr. Jun Tanaka from the University of Tokyo received a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. With this grant, they organized the international symposium in Japan, in which a total of 130 participants from more than 20 scientific disciplines took part. In addition to Sakamoto, Prof. Dr. Winfried Menninghaus and Dr. Eugen Wassiliwizky from the Department of Language and Literature and Dr. Alessandro Tavano from the Department of Neurosciences were also speakers at the Humboldt-Kolleg.
In Japan, there is great interest in the current interdisciplinary development of the German scientific tradition. Prior to this symposium, empirical aesthetics was little of an issue in Japan. Its presentation by researchers from our institute was met with great interest and sparked vivid discussions, including some controversies in which Japanese researchers specifically questioned limitations of the empirical approach when compared to philosophical and, specifically, phenomenological approaches. The fruitful discussions that arose in the two days between representatives of the natural sciences, the humanities and the history of science will be continued in future projects.