Animated Persona: The Ontological Status of a Deceased Person Who Continues to Appear in This World

European Journal of Japanese Philosophy 6:115-131 (2021)
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Abstract

In this paper, I propose the concept of the “animated persona,” a soundless voice that says, “I am here” and appears on the surface of someone or something. This concept can bring clarity to the experience of perceiving a kind of personhood on a corpse, a wooden mask, or even a tree. In the first half of this paper, I will examine some Japanese literature and a work of Viktor Frankl’s that discuss these phenomena. In the second half, I will analyze the concept of animated persona from five perspectives: (1) a compelling power, (2) surface-ness, (3) religious experience, (4) universality, and (5) the meaning of “I.” Lastly, I will discuss the relationship among the three layers of biological object, animated persona, and self-conscious being. My aim is to shed new light on the meaning of the encounter between the living and the dead.

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Masahiro Morioka
Waseda University

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