Infinite Mind or Absolute Nothing? On the Possibility of Knowing Facts Themselves (無限心或絕對無?論認知事實本身的可能性)

Chung Cheng Chinese Studies 38:1-30 (2021)
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Modern East Asian philosophy faced a difficulty in endowing objective knowledge with its adequate location in the traditional Eastern view of mind. This led some philosophers to reconsider intellectual intuition and the relevant question of things themselves from an Eastern perspective, and among them most notably are Nishida Kitarō and Mou Zongsan. Although these philosophers have recently been comparatively studied, their core concepts such as "absolute nothing" and "infinite mind" have not been sufficiently discussed from the perspective of objective knowledge. This paper examines the question of grasping things themselves or facts themselves by reconsidering two philosophers' middle works on the theory of knowledge. The result is the synthetic view of their seemingly divergent theories, based on the pursuit of self-awareness and the principle of bidirectional transcendence; according to this principle, the outward transcendence is correlated to the inward or immanent transcendence, so that the knowledge of facts themselves are epistemologically correlated to absolute nothing or infinite mind, which gives foundation to objective knowledge. This view not only explains the meaning of the "knowledge" of facts themselves, but also strongly implies the epistemic value of the two philosophers' seemingly esoteric concepts of mind and nothingness.



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Tomomi Asakura
University of Tokyo

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