Three Strands of Nothingness in Chinese Philosophy and the Kyoto School: A Summary and Evaluation

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (4):469-489 (2014)
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The concept of Nothingness—Japanese mu or Chinese wú 無—is central both to the Kyoto School and to important strands of Chinese philosophy. The Kyoto School, which has been active since the 1930s, is arguably modern Japan’s most philosophically sophisticated challenge to Western thought. Further, as contemporary East Asia continues to rise in importance, East Asians and Westerners alike are beginning to consider anew the contemporary philosophical relevance of Confucianism, Daoism, and East-Asian Buddhism. These originally Chinese traditions were certainly important influences directly and indirectly on Kyoto School philosophy itself. At the very least, Kyoto thought and Chinese thought share foundational structural resemblances, especially regarding the concept of Nothingness. This study summarizes the concept of Nothingness in the Kyoto School and in Chinese philosophy, and then offers an evaluation of the contemporary relevance and general coherence of this concept



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Curtis Rigsby
Hiroshima University

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