Olivier Ansart - Ogyū Sorai’s Political Theory Reconsidered: What, and Why?

Online, 16 novembre 2022   18:00 JST
This presentation intends to address the political theory of Ogyū Sorai (1666–1728), the speaker’s first topic of research some twenty-five years ago. What does his political theory express that is worth remembering? The question still deserves to be asked since there exist at least two possible readings of the theory: traditional and religious vs. secular and modern, both grounded on apparently explicit strong statements. For this reason, Sorai’s political theory presents us with the classic problem of the interpretation of the treatment of contradictions and incoherence. The reading that will emerge should prompt the question of “why?”: Why do these factors make such a bold theory conceivable? The argument will draw on Max Weber’s insights into “elective affinities,” as well as on Bourdieu’s notion of habitus. The answer to this “why” question is to be found in the role of conventions, pretenses, and self-deceit of the bushi society of the time.