Ten years after Buber published his "I and Thou," the Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitarō published a book of the same title, knowing only Buber's name but nothing of his ideas. A comparison of these two works suggests certain fundamental differences between philosophies of being and philosophies of nothingness regarding the nature of human relationships. In particular, it points to the inherent tendency of the latter to remove moral responsibility and social consciousness to high but ineffective levels of abstraction.
The author takes a quick look back at his philosophical education and academic interests through the lens of »comparative philosophy« and uncovers a progression of cross-cultural and cross-historical patterns at work, many of them unfolding tacitly beneath the surface. He concludes with a brief listing of five such patterns, culminating in an appeal for a recovery of unified world views shaped within particular traditions but set against the universal backdrop of a common care for the earth.
The essay that follows is, in substance, a lecture delivered in Brussels on 7 December 2016 to the 2nd International Conference of the European Network of Japanese Philosophy. In it I argue that the strategy of qualifying nothingness as an “absolute,” which was adopted by Kyoto School thinkers as a way to come to grips with fundamental problems of Western philosophy, is inherently ambiguous and ultimately weakens the notion of nothingness itself. In its place, a proposal is made to define (...) nothingness in terms of “connectedness.” The discussion is bound on both ends by an apology for transgressing established academic boundaries. On one end, I open with a brief digression on a common ground for philosophies East and West as a mestizaje to which no tradition can claim dominance. On the other, I close with an appeal for restoring respect for the role of mythical narration as a way to bridge the connection between theory and practice without having to revert to moral absolutes, particularly as it relates to safeguarding this fragile planet of ours from the ongoing sepsis of economic “progress.”. (shrink)
The Japanese philosopher, Tanabe Hajime is taken up as an example of a thinker who, like the conference question, straddles intellectual histories East and West. Of all the Kyoto School philosophers, it was he who took history most seriously. He not only criticized Kantian, Hegelian, and Marxist notions of teleology and the modern scientific myth of "progress" on their own ground, but went on to counter these views of history with a logic of emptiness grounded in Buddhist philosophy. The essay (...) concludes with an attempt to uncover the tacit assumption that allows Tanabe to make his arguments. (shrink)
In December 2010 Kyoto University hosted a symposium honoring the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Nishida Kitarō’s An Inquiry into the Good. The following is an English version of a talk delivered on that occasion. In it I have tried to argue against the widely held view that this maiden work contains the germ of Nishida’s mature philosophy, and at the same time to suggest that an early strain of ambiguity regarding the notion of the will points to a (...) neglect of the natural world in his “logic of place.”. (shrink)
This article protests against the claim that philosophy as such is universal, because it often ambiguously speaks more of a universality of cultural dominance than of a properly philosophical universality including other philosophical modes of language and thought in the commitment to a universal search for truth. It stresses the need of a deliberate decision to de- Westernizing the philosophical forum, and illustrates how the Kyoto School does seriously take up this challenge facing, among others, the heavy iron bars of (...) language, translation intricacies, and Western traditional divide lines between philosophy and religion. (shrink)
Traduzione italiana a cura di Enrico Fongaro, Carlo Saviani e Tiziano Tosolini. Il volume presenta il pensiero delle tre principali figure della cosiddetta âscuola di Kyotoâ, Nishida Kitaro, Tanabe Hajime e Nishitani Keiji, mostrando come questa originale corrente del pensiero giapponese del Novecento costituisca per la filosofia tradizionale una sfida ad oltrepassare i suoi confini occidentali.
The twelfth bi-annual symposium of the Nanzan Institute took up the problem of the philosophical tradition of Japan and how it has fared abroad. There were two principal foci of the meetings: the history and future prospects of the study and teaching of Japanese philosophy outside of Japan, and the preparation of a Sourcebook of Japanese Philosophy aimed at providing a solid anthology of Japanese philospohical resources from the earliest times up to the present. To address these two questions, 16 (...) participants from six language-groups— Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish—were invited to Nanzan to deliver papers and discuss projects of common interest, including the Sourcebook. The final day of the conference included a discussion with selected Japanese philosophers and intellectual historians at Kyoto University. (shrink)
he fourteen essays gathered together in this, the third volume of Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy, represent one more step in ongoing efforts to bring the concerns of twentieth-century Japanese philosophy into closer contact with philosophical traditions around the world. As its title indicates, the aims are twofold: to reflect critically on the work of leading figures in the modern academic philosophy of Japan and to straddle the borderlands where they touch on the work of their counterparts in the West. -/- (...) A first group of essays deals with the modern Japanese philosophers Kuki Shūzō, Nishida Kitarō, Nishitani Keiji, and Takizawa Katsumi. These are followed by three essays on comparisons with classical Western thought and three with contemporary philosophy. The final three contributions offer reflections on the role of Japanese philosophy today. (shrink)
Much Ado About Nothingness brings together 14 essays on Nishida Kitaro and Tanabe Hajime by one of the leading scholars of twentieth-century Japanese philosophy. With Nishidaâs âlogic of placeâ and Tanabeâs âlogic of the specificâ providing a continuity to the whole, the author writes from a conviction that âthe overriding challenge for those doing philosophy in the key of the Kyoto School, with their sights set squarely on self-awareness like Nishida and Tanabe before them, is to turn its attention to (...) the wider worldâ¦.â. (shrink)
The list of publications having to do with Japanese intellectual history in general and Kyoto School philosophy in particular has grown steadily over the past years, both inside and outside of Japan. This is due in no small part to the important contributions made by those whose papers are included in this volume, the proceedings of an international conference held in June 2009 at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Although much remains to be done if Japanese philosophy is to (...) shed its esoteric and exotic image in order to take its rightful place in the curriculum as one of the many valuable sources of philosophical reflection, the ongoing dialogue among veterans in the field and younger scholars reflected in these pages is as promising as it has ever been. (shrink)
In recent years several books by major figures in Japan's modern philosophical tradition have appeared in English, exciting readers by their explorations of the borderlands between philosophy and religion. What has been wanting, however, is a book in a Western language to elucidate the life and thought of Nishida Kitaro, Japan's first philosopher of world stature and the originator of what has come to be called the Kyoto School. No one is more qualified to write such a book than Nishitani (...) Keiji, whose lifetime coincides with the rise and flowering of the Kyoto School and whose own critical contribution to Japanese thought has been so important. _Nishida Kitaro_ is a translation of essays Nishitani wrote about his teacher from 1936 to 1968 and published as a book in 1985. This series of meditations by one master on another provides a remarkable, living portrait of Nishida the person and conveys the enthusiasm he aroused in his students. Examining Nishida's most important work, _An Inquiry into the Good_, Nishitani penetrates to the core of his thought and presents it in language that is a marvel of clarity. (shrink)
A milestone in Japan's post-war philosophical thought and a dramatic turning point in Tanabe's own philosophy, _Philosophy as Metanoetics_ calls for nothing less than a complete and radical rethinking of the philosophical task itself. It is a powerful, original work, showing vast erudition in all areas of both Eastern and Western thought.
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