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Dutch Political Economy and Nishi Amane’s Philosophical Encounter with Utilitarianism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines Simon Vissering's lectures on political economy to Nishi Amane and Tsuda Mamichi, who, having acquired a foundation in statistical methods, moved on to study the structures of social life, the relationship between state and society, and the mechanisms supporting wealth and prosperity. Nishi refers to the published work of Vissering's Handboek van praktische staathuishoudkunde. With the publication of this work, Vissering established his reputation as one of the leading Dutch political economists of the nineteenth century. Nishi translated the work of the English critic and philosopher George Henry Lewes on Comte, and also the American moral philosopher Joseph Haven's Mental Philosophy (1857). Rigaku (1877), his translation of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, pioneered the introduction of this philosophy in modern Japan. In addition, Nishi wrote several articles on philosophy articles for Meiroku zasshi, such as "Chi setsu" (On Intellect) and "Jinsei sanpōsetsu" (The Three Human Treasures).

Keywords: Dutch; Japan; John Stuart Mill; Nishi Amane; Simon Vissering; Tsuda Mamichi



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