HPhil Seminar: February 2, 2022

February 2, 2023

The HPhil (History of Philosophy) Research Group of the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon announces the 2022/23 edition of its permanent seminar on the history of philosophy, devoted to the presentation of conferences by renowned specialists while also creating opportunities to emerging scholars, aiming to promote advanced studies in groundbreaking debates and the permanent training of its academic community.

In this session of the seminar, Eddy Dufourmont (Université Bordeaux-Montaigne) will present a paper entitled “Rethinking the role of translation in intellectual history of East Asia: the case of Rousseau and Nakae Chômin (Japan, 1870-1890)”.

The session will take place on February 2, 2023, at 5PM, in the Room C201.J (Room Mattos Romão, Department of Philosophy). The entrance is free.



In the first decades of Meiji Era, characterized by the revolts of the
warriors and  the Movement for the liberty and rights of the people,
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the object of a deep interest because he was
considered as the main inspiration of French Revolution. Few people were
able to read French and able to know what really were his ideas. Nakae
Chômin (1847-1901) played a major role in the history of the Movement,
not only as journalist and political man, and also as the translator of
On Social Contract, in Japanese in 1874 and in classic Chinese in
1882-3. This translation had a major impact in Japan and China. But
previous researches neglected the fact that translation played a much
more important role for Chômin, since he and his disciples of the French
Studies School (Futsugaku juku) translated as well the two discourses of
Rousseau and many French authors, through books and the translation
reviews Ôbei Seiri sôdan and Ôbei seiten sushi. We will demonstrate that
all these translations had a common point: the French authors translated
(Emile Acollas, Jules Barni, Charles Renouvier, Etienne Vacherot, Alfred
Naquet, Alfred Fouillée etc.), were main figures of French Republicanism
and fathers of Third Republic. Their fight for democracy was deeply
based on Rousseau as well as Immanuel Kant. Recent researches
rediscovered them and characterized their philosophy as
Liberal-Socialism. Nakae Chômin was aware of this and we can say that
his work was a Japanese version of French Liberal-Socialism, which gave
birth later to Socialism Anarchism through his main disciple, Kôtoku


About Eddy Dufourmont

Eddy Dufourmont is Professor of Japanese studies at University Bordeaux
Montaigne. His researches on intellectual history of Japan focus on the
translation of European political philosophy. His recent works include
Rousseau et la première philosophie de la liberté en Asie (1874-1890).
Nakae Chômin (Le Bord de l’eau, 2021) and Rousseau au Japon. Nakae
Chômin et le républicanisme français (Presses Universitaires de
Bordeaux, 2018).