Continental Philosophy Review 43 (2):193-206 (2010)

Leah Kalmanson
University of North Texas
Does the Buddhist doctrine of no-self imply, simply put, no-other? Does this doctrine necessarily come into conflict with an ethics premised on the alterity of the other? This article explores these questions by situating Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics in the context of contemporary Japanese philosophy. The work of twentieth-century Japanese philosopher Watsuji Tetsurō provides a starting point from which to consider the ethics of the self-other relation in light of the Buddhist notion of emptiness. The philosophy of thirteenth-century Zen Master Dōgen casts doubt on Watsuji’s commitment to reciprocal self-other relationality, showing that the idea of self-emptiness disrupts any conventional understanding of reciprocity and promotes instead other-oriented compassion. Despite interesting similarities between the ethics of alterity and Buddhist compassion, a Buddhist-influenced understanding of alterity differs from Levinas on important points, by making possible the claim that all others—human, animal, plant, and mineral—are ethical others
Keywords Alterity  Buddhism  Comparative philosophy  Ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11007-010-9143-8
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 72,577
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Totality and Infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen.Kazuaki Tanahashi - 1987 - Philosophy East and West 37 (3):331-332.
Facing Nature: Levinas Beyond the Human.Christian Diehm - 2000 - Philosophy Today 44 (1):51-59.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Watsuji's Phenomenology of Embodiment and Social Space.Joel Krueger - 2013 - Philosophy East and West 63 (2):127-152.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Ethics of Alterity and the Teaching of Otherness.Ming Lim - 2007 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 16 (3):251–263.
Theoretical Paradox and Practical Dilemma.Alphonso Lingis - 2004 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (1):21 – 28.
The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas.Diane Perpich - 2008 - Stanford University Press.
The Primacy of Disruption in Levinas Account of Transcendence.Kris Sealey - 2010 - Research in Phenomenology 40 (3):363-377.


Added to PP index

Total views
122 ( #98,370 of 2,533,585 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #199,858 of 2,533,585 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes