Academic Monthly 48 (3):13 - 20 (2016)

Tomomi Asakura
University of Tokyo
This paper tries to clarify the theory of difference in terms of ji or soku ("即") that is developed by Nishida Kitarō and Mou Zongsan, comparing it with contemporary occidental Metaphysics of difference. It is known that Nishida's argument for basho or place shows a kind of hesitation between identity and difference; several Kyoto philosophers, along with recent researchers, interpret Nishida's philosophy of "absolutely contradictory identity" in terms of soku as an ontology of not identity but of difference. A similar hesitation is seen in Mou Zongsan's metaphysical argument for the difference between the act- and being- strata, which leads him to affirm the "identical" completeness of yuanjiao in terms of ji. I argue that these arguments become fully intelligible only as the result of their ontology of difference that strikingly resembles Deleuze's post-Heideggerian metaphysical attempt. This interpretation also shows how far their ontological speculation in terms of ji/ soku owes to the heritage of East Asian Buddhism because the contradiction between identity and difference is most seriously explored in the Tiantai tradition.
Keywords Nishida Kitarō  Mou Zongsan
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