2001 年 1 巻 p. 129-154
This article aims to investigate the ways in which the ontological question, “Who am I?”, has been answered by civilizations in history in different regions, mainly focusing on examples from Japan, India and Europe. This article suggests that the “second axial breakthrough” took place between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries, when the question of how to link one’s existence in this world to the transcendental was answered in different ways in different regions of the world. Subsequently, however, the ontological problem remained the public concern only in some areas such as India. In Western Europe and Japan, it was by removing the ontological question from the public and by concentrating social resources to this-worldly instrumental activities that these areas succeeded in achieving a major increase in productivity. In the contemporary world, our task seems to be to find out how to recreate the space to seek ontological meaning to our life in civil society. Comparative ontology is suggested as a means to understand and consider various possibilities of human existence historically and globally in order to provide ideas for the future redesigning of our world.