Dōgen and Wittgenstein: Transcending Language Through Ethical Practice

Asian Philosophy 23 (3):1-15 (2013)
Authors
Laura Specker Sullivan
University of Washington
Abstract
While there have been numerous claims of a resemblance between the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Zen Buddhism, few studies of the philosophy of Wittgenstein in detailed comparison with specific Zen thinkers have emerged. This paper attempts to fill this gap by considering Wittgenstein’s philosophy in relation to that of Eihei Dōgen, founder of the Sōtō school of Zen. Points of particular confluence are found in both thinkers’ approaches to language, experience, and practice. Through an elucidation of these points, this paper argues that both Dōgen and Wittgenstein can be understood as putting forth a philosophy of transcendent ethics.
Keywords Asian philosophy  Buddhist philosophy  Wittgenstein  Ethics
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DOI 10.1080/09552367.2013.807128
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