The writings of Nishida Kitar , whose name has become almost synonymous with Japanese philosophy, continue to attract attention around the world. Yet studies of his thought in Western languages have tended to overlook two key areas: first, the influence of the generation of Japanese philosophers who preceded Nishida; and second, the logic of basho (place), the cornerstone of Nishida's mature philosophical system. The Logic of Nothingness addresses both of these topics. Robert Wargo argues that the overriding (...) concern of Nishida's mature philosophy, the attempt to give a reasonable account of reality that includes the reasonableness of that account itself--or what Wargo calls the problem of completeness--has its origins in Inoue Enryo's (1858-1919) and Inoue Tetsujiro's (1855-1944) preoccupation with the problem of standpoints. A translation of one of Nishida's most demanding texts, included here as an appendix, demonstrates the value of Wargo's insightful analysis of the logic of basho as an aid to deciphering the philosopher's early work. (shrink)
This essay takes as its focus Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitar? (1870?1945) and his seminal first text, An Inquiry into the Good (or in Japanese zen no kenky?). Until now scholarship has taken for granted the predominantly Buddhist orientation of this text, centered around an analysis of the central concept of ?pure experience? (junsui keiken) as something Nishdia extrapolates from his early experience of Zen meditation. However, in this paper I will present an alternative and more accurate account of the (...) origins of this important work, a text often seen as marking the beginning of Modern Japanese philosophy. I will show that while Buddhism is an important part of Nishida's early intellectual development, there is ample biographical and textual evidence to suggest that zen no kenky? is at its core a text which attempts to solve key ethical problems via a modern interpretation of concepts drawn from the Confucian tradition. This analysis thus places the concept of ?Conduct? (koi), rather than ?pure experience?, at the center of the text, suggesting that ethics, rather than metaphysics, is the core theme of the book. (shrink)
Im Zentrum der Untersuchung steht die Philosophie des modernen japanischen Philosophen Kitar??o?? Nishida und ihr Bezug zur Frage nach der Interkulturalität. Nishidas Philosophie ist einerseits _interkulturell orientierte Philosophie_ - entstanden aus der interkulturellen Begegnung zwischen westlicher und japanischer Kultur im Rahmen des modernen Japans - und andererseits bietet sie einen Ansatz zu einer _Philosophie der Interkulturalität_. Der Ansatz gibt einen neuen Blick auf die globalen geschichtlichen Vorgänge frei - gesehen durch die Augen eines außereuropäischen Denkers. Mit Nishidas Philosophie und (...) ihrer geschichtlichen Stellung wird somit die Frage nach der Moderne im interkulturellen Kontext auf neue Weise virulent, so daß sich neue Fragehorizonte für das Denken der Gegenwart ergeben. (shrink)
: In his philosophy of nothingness, Kitar Nishida illuminates the matrix of transformation of the world ‘‘from the Created to the Creating’’ (tsukuru mono kara tsukurareta mono e) through shintai, or the body. In this matrix, shintai enters into the stage of an action-sensation continuum and emerges as the immaculate iconic tool of nothingness to create new figures as extended self. This idea of shintai has resonance with the development of postwar art in Japan. The ‘‘Space of Transparency’’ put (...) forth by Ufan Lee, the leader of Monoha, is the principal example. This essay investigates Nishida’s notion of shintai and its influence on Lee’s theory of art. (shrink)
In his philosophy of nothingness, Kitar Nishida illuminates the matrix of transformation of the world ''from the Created to the Creating'' through shintai, or the body. In this matrix, shintai enters into the stage of an action-sensation continuum and emerges as the immaculate iconic tool of nothingness to create new figures as extended self. This idea of shintai has resonance with the development of postwar art in Japan. The ''Space of Transparency'' put forth by Ufan Lee, the leader of (...) Monoha, is the principal example. This essay investigates Nishida's notion of shintai and its influence on Lee's theory of art. (shrink)
Introduction -- The historical foundations of Russian and Japanese philosophies -- Space in NOH : plays and icons -- Models of cultural space derived from Nishida Kitar and Semën L. Frank (Basho and Sobornost) -- Space and aesthetics : a dialogue between Nishida Kitar and Mikhail Bakhtin -- From community to time, space, development : Trubetzkoy, Nishida, Watsuji -- Conclusion -- Postface: Resistance and slave nations.
Heidegger and East-Asian thought have traditionally been strongly correlated. However, although still largely unrecognized, significant differences between the political and metaphysical stance of Heidegger and his perceived counterparts in East-Asia most certainly exist. One of the most dramatic discontinuities between East-Asian thought and Heidegger is revealed through an investigation of Kitarō Nishida’s own vigorous criticism of Heidegger. Ironically, more than one study of Heidegger and East-Asian thought has submitted that Nishida is that representative of East-Asian thought whose philosophy (...) most closely resembles Heideggerian thought. In words that then and now resound discordantly within the enshrined, established view of Heidegger’s relationship to East-Asian thought, Nishida stated uninhibitedly his own view of Heidegger in the noteworthy statement: “Heidegger is not worth your time… He…does not recognize that which is indispensible and decisive, namely, God.” This present study lays out for the first time in English, the significant differences between the metaphysical and political stances of Nishida and Heidegger, Nishida’s own critique of Heidegger, and Heidegger’s own rather dismal assessment of non-Western philosophy, all of which demonstrate a remarkable, hitherto unrecognized discontinuity between Heidegger and East-Asian thought. (shrink)
This paper sets Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Nishida Kitarō in dialogue and explore the interpretations of artistic expression, which inform their similar phenomenological accounts of perception. I discuss how both philosophers look to artistic practice to reveal multi-perspectival aspects of vision. They do so, I argue, by going beyond a “positivist” representational under-standing of perception and by including negative aspects of visual experience as constitutive of vision. Following this account, I interpret artworks by Cézanne, Guo Xi, Rodin, and Hasegawa according (...) to the versions of multi-perspectival vision articulated by Nishida and Merleau-Ponty. I conclude by highlighting a difference between Merleau-Ponty’s “depth” and Nishida’s “seeing without a seer” regarding the extent to which each of their philosophies de-substantialize and de-localize human vision. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall discuss Nishida’s 西田 philosophy of body from the aspects of acting intuition, rhythm, and situatedness. Pure experience used to be the starting point of Nishida’s early philosophy. In his later philosophy, however, the keyword in Nishida’s philosophy is no longer “experience” but “acting.” It is neither “I think therefore I am” nor “I will therefore I am,” but “I act therefore I am.” As the organ of acting intuition, body is one of (...) the most important philosophical concepts in Nishida’s later philosophy. I shall interpret the philosophy of acting intuition as a phenomenology of rhythm. Also, I shall argue that acting intuition can be understood as a situated action. For Nishida, our body is historical: I am not a knowing body, but an acting body. (shrink)
Nishida Kitarō was the most significant and influential Japanese philosopher of the twentieth century. His work is pathbreaking in several respects: it established in Japan the creative discipline of philosophy as practiced in Europe and the Americas; it enriched that discipline by infusing Anglo European philosophy with Asian sources of thought; it provided a new basis for philosophical treatments of East Asian Buddhist thought; and it produced novel theories of self and world with rich implications for contemporary philosophizing. (...) class='Hi'>Nishida's work is also frustrating for its repetitive and often obscure style, exceedingly abstract formulations, and detailed but frequently dead end investigations. Nishida once said of his work, “I have always been a miner of ore; I have never managed to refine it” (Nishida 1958, Preface). A concise presentation of his achievements therefore will require extensive selection, interpretation and clarification. (shrink)
Nishida Kitarō is considered Japan's first and greatest modern philosopher. As founder of the Kyoto School, he began a rigorous philosophical engagement and dialogue with Western philosophical traditions, especially the work of G. W. F. Hegel. John W. M. Krummel explores the Buddhist roots of Nishida’s thought and places him in connection with Hegel and other philosophers of the Continental tradition. Krummel develops notions of self-awareness, will, being, place, the environment, religion, and politics in Nishida’s thought and (...) shows how his ethics of humility may best serve us in our complex world. (shrink)
Place and Dialectic presents two essays by Nishida Kitaro, translated into English for the first time by John W.M. Krummel and Shigenori Nagatomo. Nishida is widely regarded as one of the father figures of modern Japanese philosophy and as the founder of the first distinctly Japanese school of philosophy, the Kyoto school, known for its synthesis of western philosophy, Christian theology, and Buddhist thought. The two essays included here are ''Basho'' from 1926/27 and ''Logic and Life'' from 1936/37. (...) Each essay is divided into several sections and each section is preceded by a synopsis added by the translators.The first essay represents the first systematic articulation of Nishida's philosophy of basho, literally meaning ''place,'' a system of thought that came to be known as ''Nishida philosophy.'' In the second essay, Nishida inquires after the pre-logical origin of what we call logic, which he suggests is to be found within the dialectical unfoldings of world history and human society. A substantial introduction by John Krummel considers the significance of Nishida as a thinker, discusses the key components of Nishida's philosophy as a whole and its development throughout his life, and contextualizes the translated essays within his oeuvre. The Introduction also places Nishida and his work within the historical context of his time, and highlights the relevance of his ideas to the global circumstances of our day. The publication of these two essays by Nishida, a major figure in world philosophy and the most important philosopher of twentieth-century Japan, is of significant value to the fields not only of Asian philosophy and East-West comparative philosophy but also of philosophy in general as well as of theology and religious studies. (shrink)
: Two major philosophers of the twentieth century, the German existential phenomenologist Martin Heidegger and the seminal Japanese Kyoto School philosopher Nishida Kitarō are examined here in an attempt to discern to what extent their ideas may converge. Both are viewed as expressing, each through the lens of his own tradition, a world in transition with the rise of modernity in the West and its subsequent globalization. The popularity of Heidegger's thought among Japanese philosophers, despite its own admitted limitation (...) to the Western "history of being," is connected to Nishida's opening of a uniquely Japanese path in its confrontation with Western philosophy. The focus is primarily on their later works (the post-Kehre Heidegger and the works of Nishida that have been designated "Nishida philosophy"), in which each in his own way attempts to overcome the subject-object dichotomy inherited from the tradition of Western metaphysics by looking to a deeper structure from out of which both subjectivity and objectivity are derived and which embraces both. For Heidegger, the answer lies in being as the opening of unconcealment, from out of which beings emerge, and for Nishida, it is the place of nothingness within which beings are co-determined in their oppositions and relations. Concepts such as Nishida's "discontinuous continuity," "absolutely self-contradictory identity" (between one and many, whole and part, world and things), the mutual interdependence of individuals, and the self-determination of the world through the co-relative self-determination of individuals, and Heidegger's "simultaneity" (zugleich) and "within one another" (ineinander) (of unconcealment and concealment, presencing and absencing), and their "between" (Zwischen) and "jointure" (Fuge) are examined. Through a discussion of these ideas, the suggestion is made of a possible "transition" (Übergang) of both Western and Eastern thinking, in their mutual encounter, both in relation to each other and each in relation to its own past history, leading to both a self-discovery in the other and to a simultaneous self-reconstitution. (shrink)
Nishida Kitaro, originator of the Kyoto School and 'father of Japanese Philosophy' is usually viewed as an essentially apolitical thinker who underwent a 'turn' in the mid-1930s, becoming an ideologue of Japanese imperialism. Political Philosophy in Japan challenges the view that a neat distinction can be drawn between Nishida's apolitical 'pre-turn' writings and the apparently ideological tracts he produced during the war years. In the context of Japanese intellectual traditions, this book suggests that Nishida was a political (...) thinker form the very beginning of his career, and consequently, his later political works cannot be dismissed as peripheral to his philosophical project. Counter-intuitively however, Christopher Goto-Jones argues that a consistently political reading of his philosophy reveals a dissenting standpoint even during the height of the Pacific War. This book argues that the prevailing postwar tendency to dismiss interwar and wartime Japanese culture as fascist or ultra nationalist en total neglects a lively political discourse, which contained some serous and profound political insight and even dissent. By suggesting that Nishida tetsugaku was a voice of dissent during Japan's Great East Asia War, Goto-Jones presents a case for the rehabilitation of Nishida as a political thinker, and as an example of a Japanese resistance, able to make a valuable contribution to contemporary debates about international political, globalization , and inter-cultural relations. Offering a unique and potentially controversial view of the subject of Nishida and the Kyoto School, The Political Philosophy of Japan will be of huge interest to anyone studying Japanese History, Political Philosophy and comparative philosophy alike. (shrink)
_An Inquiry into the Good_ represented the foundation of Nishida’s philosophy—reflecting both his deep study of Zen Buddhism and his thorough analysis of Western philosophy—and established its author as the foremost Japanese philosopher of this century. In this important new translation, two scholars—one Japanese and one American—have worked together to present a lucid and accurate rendition of Nishida’s ideas. "The translators do an admirable job of adhering to the cadence of the original while avoiding unidiomatic, verbatim constructions."—John C. (...) Maraldo, _Philosophy East and West_ __ __ "More accurate and critical than the first translation into English of Nishida's earliest book.... An important addition to library collections of twentieth-century philosophy, Japanese intellectual history, and contemporary Buddhist thought."—_Choice_ "A welcome new translation of a work by probably the most original and influential of modern Japanese philosophers."—Hidé Ishiguro, _Times Literary Supplement_ "Undoubtedly the most important work for anyone in the West interested in understanding modern Japanese thought. This work premiered Japanese philosophy as modern but has also shown unusual staying power. In the late twentieth century Japanese thinkers, both religious and secular, insist on its importance and relevance."—William R. La Fleur, University of Pennsylvania. (shrink)
The search for the backbone of the types of rationality inherent in different cultures keeps on to be an open problem, which remains relevant to the need of closer intercultural interaction in the global world. At the same time, the analysis of the logic of language as the basis for the study of rationality types continues to occupy an important place. Meanwhile, the studies of grammatical structures and language models from the point of view of their connection to a certain (...) type of thinking and inﬂuence on the method of philosophizing are still quantitatively inferior to the researches of lexical aspects. Expansion of this type of research with the involvement of a diverse cultural material over time will allow us to reach the level of establishing regularities of a more general nature. This article contributes to the development of this issue. The author deals with the approaches to the defnition of the paradigm of Japanese rationality proposed by researchers of grammatical features of the Japanese language, on the one hand, and the “logic of place” concept and the “absolutely contradictory identity” principle of prominent philosopher Nishida Kitaro, on the other hand. A special attention is drawn to the structural similarity of the grammatical form highlighted by linguists, in which the decisive role belongs to the predicate, and to Nishida’s logical model reﬂecting specifcs of subject-predicate relationship as well as perception of opposition in terms of “contradictory self-identity.” In the conclusion of the article, the author demonstrates the relationship of this model with the certain idea of subject, the type of epistemology overcoming dualism, the processual and cosmocentric comprehension of the world that can be traced in Nishida’s statements. (shrink)
This article will examine the phase of Nishida’s thought in which he turns to the historical world and present the benefits of this turn to his overall philosophical project. In “The Philosophy of History in the ‘Later’ Nishida,” Woo-Sung Huh claims that Nishida Kitaro’s attempt to integrate history into his earlier writings on self-consciousness is a “wrong turn.” I will demonstrate how Huh’s criticism of Nishida’s writings on history stems from Huh’s own ontological assumption that consciousness (...) and the historical world occupy distinct realms. Leveling this criticism against Nishida causes the reader to miss Nishida’s greatest insight, namely that there is no such distinction; there is only one reality of consciousness and materiality. Nishida’s emphasis on the historical world makes his earlier claim that consciousness is inseparable from things more robust. I will argue that by expanding his earlier focus on consciousness to include the formative power of created physical objects and human bodies on consciousness, Nishida’s philosophy is actually strengthened. (shrink)
In this essay, I investigate Kitarō Nishida's characterization of what he refers to as the 'self-contradictory' body. First, I clarify the conceptual relation between the self-contradictory body and Nishida's notion of 'acting-intuition'. I next look at Nishida's analysis of acting-intuition and the self-contradictory body as it pertains to our personal, sensorimotor engagement with the world and things in it, as well as to our bodily immersion within the intersubjective and social world. Along the way, I argue that (...)Nishida develops a rich and exceedingly current way of thinking through different facets of embodiment and interpersonal relatedness. I further argue that Nishida's work provides compelling reasons to foreground the mutually implicative, co-emergent nature of embodied self and world in our theorizing about the nature of self and experience. (shrink)
This essay by Nishida Kitarō from 1927, translated into English here for the first time, is from the initial period of what has come to be called “Nishida philosophy” (Nishida tetsugaku), when Nishida was first developing his conception of “place” (basho). Nishida here inquires into the relationship between logic and consciousness in terms of place and implacement in order to overcome the shortcomings of previous philosophical attempts—from the ancient Greeks to the moderns—to dualistically conceive the (...) relationship between being and knowing in terms of subject-object or form-matter. During the course of articulating his novel approach to consciousness and cognition, Nishida discusses what he takes to be the weaknesses of Greek hylomorphism, Kantian (and neo-Kantian) dualism, and Husserlian phenomenology. Dissatisfied with the attribution of mere passivity to placiality, and turning away from consciousness objectified as a subject of statement, Nishida imparts to consciousness qua place a certain logical independence as an active yet un-objectifiable “predicate.” This investigation of consciousness as the unobjectifiable place for objectification leads Nishida to the notion of what precedes consciousness itself, a “place of nothing” (mu no basho) that envelops the dichotomized structures of subject-predicate, being-nothing, subject-object, universal-particular, et cetera. (shrink)
Despite the central role that the concept of God played in Kitarō Nishida's philosophy—and more broadly, within the Kyoto School which formed around Nishida—Anglophone studies of the religious philosophy of modern Japan have not seriously considered the nature and role of God in Nishida's thought. Indeed, relevant Anglophone studies even strongly suggest that where the concept of God does appear in Nishida's writings, such a concept is to be dismissed as a 'subjective fiction', a 'penultimate designation', (...) or a peripheral Western intrusion with no genuine relationship to the core of Nishida's thought. However, a careful study of Nishida's own writings reveals that for Nishida, in his own words, God is 'that which is indispensable and decisive'. For the first time in English, this present study reveals Nishida's view of God, especially examining Nishida's debt to the theologian Karl Barth and Christianity. (shrink)
A comparison of the dialectical worldviews of Nishida and Hegel is made by developing the notion of dialectical ontology as concrete philosophy in which logic is understood to extend beyond the level of discourse to the point where knowledge and experience cease to be opposed. The differences between their dialectical methods are outlined, highlighting Hegel's emphasis on the actualization of self-consciousness and historical progress in contrast to Nishida's concepts of the dialectal universal "place," the external now, and the (...) self as expressive monad. It is argued that neither thinker is able to fulfill his own demand for a maximally concrete philosophy. However, by performing a dialectic of their dialectics, the pursuit of concrete philosophy is furthered. Takahashi Satomi's notion of "inclusive dialectics" is introduced to aid in articulating the comparative standpoint through which such a dialectic may be conceived. (shrink)
This essay places Nishida Kitarō in dialogue with Maurice Merleau-Ponty regarding motor-perceptual aspects underlying their theories of artistic expression. The analysis begins by comparing their interpretations of negation as articulated in their later works and seeks to understand their poetic renderings of artistic practice as proposing a mutual and reciprocal form of negation. By analyzing their conceptions of negation as implicit to their depictions of artistic expression, this essay looks to expand their concepts of negation from a perceptual to (...) a motor-perceptual form of negation. Just as perceptual negation results in a multi-perspectival form of perception, motor-perceptual negation renders motion as a multi-volitional event outside and beyond the individuated body, and diffused throughout the motor-perceptual fabric. The artist is an exemplar for both Nishida and Merleau-Ponty because of their ability to create works that express themselves within this form of motor-perceptual negation. Doing so, expressing oneself as a motor-perceptualy negated body entails a bodily form of faith. This study thus expands Merleau-Ponty’s concept of “perceptual faith” (foi perceptive) to disclose its implicit motor aspects, while demonstrating how the expanded conceptions of expression and negation resonate with the faithful form of expression put forth in Nishida’s concept “interexpression” (表現的関係). (shrink)
The word "experience" refers to at least four different concepts: empirical experience, lived experience, experience as Bildung, and the domain of pure consciousness prior to the division of subject and object. All these concepts of experience are at work in the thought of Nishida Kitarō, where they take on a specific historical and political character in response to the situation of Japan in the world system.
Th is paper is the second part of a general study on the relationship between Nishida and Chinese philosophy. In the fi rst, I explored the extent to which Nishida’s philosophy was infl uenced, directly and indirectly, explicitly and implicitly, historically and conceptually, by materials coming from the intellectual horizon of Chinese thought. I concentrate here on Nishida’s own position toward what he understood by “Chinese philosophy.” Is this philosophy, so suggestive for Nishida, promoted to a (...) central place in his work or not, and if so, in what sense might we take this idea of “centrality” as specifi cally Chinese? In setting forth several archetypes of Chinese thought present in Nishida’s philosophy, the focus of this article falls on the methodological, logical and metaphysical contrasts we can identify between the Japanese philosopher and Chinese philosophy as his underground intellectual sources. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis paper examines Nishida’s later work on the historical world and religious transformation in an effort to clarify his political writings during the Pacific War. It sheds new light on the debate over the interpretation of Nishida’s wartime actions through reflection on a brief interaction Nishida had with the student Kiyoshi Kato during World War II. Shinran’s influence on Nishida will also be analyzed to reveal that the moral and religious insufficiency of the practitioner is a (...) key aspect of his view of religious consciousness. Considering Nishida’s view of religious transformation together with his political writings and his interaction with Kato will lead to a deeper understanding of his view of history. (shrink)
In the near future, our life will normally be surrounded with fairly complicated artifacts, enabled by the autonomous robot and brain–machine interface technologies. In this paper, we argue that what we call the responsibility flaw problem and the inappropriate use problem need to be overcome in order for us to benefit from complicated artifacts. In order to solve these problems, we propose an approach to endowing artifacts with an ability of socially communicating with other agents based on the artifact-as-a-half-mirror metaphor. (...) The idea is to have future artifacts behave according to the hybrid intention composed of the owner’s intention and the social rules. We outline the approach and discuss its feasibility together with preliminary work. (shrink)
« L’autodétermination du maintenant éternel» est un essai central portant sur une question qui ne cessa de préoccuper Nishida tout au long de sa carrière, celle du temps et, corrélativement, celle du soi véritable. L’analyse de la temporalité à laquelle il procède constitue l’un des apports majeurs de sa philosophie sur la scène de la philosophie contemporaine. L’inspiration platonicienne et le rapport constant à Augustin sur ce sujet conduisirent Nishida à approfondir considérablement sa «logique du basho» ou du (...) lieu et à réinterpréter en retour de manière «englobante» la temporalité. Pour lui, tout ce qui est se situe dans le temps, forme fondamentale de la réalité. Or, le temps se situe dans le présent. À partir de cet acquis, Nishida élargit encore plus sa perspective en établissant que le présent lui-même se situe dans le soi. En réalité, le véritable soi n’est autre que le soi présent. Le stade suivant, le plus englobant de tous, est celui du maintenant éternel, dans lequel tourne le temps. Il résulte de la temporalité «englobante» de Nishida une conception du présent qui met l’accent sur le rapport à l’histoire, sur un soi plus fondamental et éthique, de même que sur le thème de l’altérité. (shrink)
Philosophical anthropologist Mircea Eliade once said that "the union of opposites" is a basic category of archaic ontology and comparative world religions. In this paper I develop the theory of contrariety or opposition as a prime focus for East/West comparative philosophy. The paper considers especially Nishida Kitaro's later works and the complex phrase "zettai mujuntekijikodbitsu," variously translated by Schinzinger as "absolute contradictory self-identity," "the self-identity of absolute contradictories," or more simply as "oneness" or "unity" of opposites.
The first of 3 volumes of essays on Japanese philosophy, this work brings together essays that clarify its heritage and its practice, above all in the dynamic thought of Nishida Kitaro. Showing how philosophy takes shape through the translation of language and culture, the author examines the frameworks that have defined and confined Nishidaâs thought and then charts new avenues of questioning Nishida and letting him question us. How should we envision the world at a time of environmental (...) crisis, how might we rethink our conceptions of history, religion and God; how is bodily awareness a way that the world knows itself, and just what can we make of Nishida's famous notion of nothingnessâthese are some of the questions that guide the meticulous explorations in this collection. (shrink)
le destin singulier de l’aventure philosophique japonaise du XXème siècle nous invite, avec son premier grand représentant, Nishida Kitarô (1870-1945), à un geste d’ « unification » spirituelle, s’illustrant tout d’abord par une lecture stupéfiante de l’histoire de la philosophie occidentale, méditant et critiquant tout à la fois la pensée orientale au sein de laquelle elle s’enracine. Mais ensuite, ces recherches singulières ont pour enjeu plus souterrain de s’enquêter du « lieu » même, au sein duquel une acception plus (...) profonde de la métaphysique pourrait se déployer en ce début de troisième millénaire. Il semble bien que pour Nishida, l’ampleur d’un tel projet en appelle à une appréhension plus subtile de la notion de « néant », irréductible aux ontologies occidentales tout comme auxspéculations confucianistes, taoïste, et bouddhiques. (shrink)
This is the definitive work on the first and greatest of Japan's twentieth-century philosophers, Nishida Kitaro. Interspersed throughout the narrative of Nishida's life and thought is a generous selection of the philosopher's own essays, letters, and short presentations, newly translated into English.
Nishida analyses the relations of the ethical and aesthetic areas of life not in terms of types of concept or object but in terms of two types of consciousness. He holds that aesthetic and moral consciousness are radically different in kind, and both different from religious consciousness. Moral consciousness is the most superficial of the three, since it presupposes a duality not present in reality itself. Aesthetic consciousness has a tendency to unity, but is intermittent.
The image of the “mirror” (鏡kagami) appears frequently in the philosophical texts of Nishida Kitaro (西田幾多郎1870-1945), where it assumes various functions. Mirror references first occur in meditations on the philosophies of Josiah Royce (1855-1916) and Henri Bergson (1859-1941). The most fascinating evocation here corresponds to the idea of a “self-enlightening mirror”, used to probe the philosophical ground for self-illumination. This idea seems to point back to Buddhist meaning that intervenes in Japanese intellectual history. We take this as our warrant (...) for establishing here, firstly, how Nishidean philosophical speculation can be critically related to the thought of Dogen (道元1200-1253); and, secondly, in what sense it has stimulated some contemporary approaches in Japanese philosophy (for example, those of Nitta, Ohashi, and Sakabe). (shrink)
When Nishida Kitarô wrote Studies of the Good, he was a high school teacher in Kanazawa far from Tokyo, the center of Japanese scholarship. While he was praised for his intellectual effort, there was no substantive agreement about the content of his ideas. Critics disagreed with the way he conceived of reality and of truth as contained in reality. Taken together, I believe that the responses to Nishida's early work give us a window on the state of Japanese (...) philosophy in the early twentieth century. In what follows, I give evidence for the existence of such a debate about the nature of truth and reality. After a sketch of Nishida's position, I outline the positions of two other contemporary thinkers: Katô Hiroyuki and Takahashi Satomi. With respect to Nishida, they offer markedly different takes on the question of universal truth: Katô favors an antireligious, scientific positivism while Takahashi accepts an existentialist notion of radical human finitude, in which human access to any certainty is denied. I conclude that one is confronted with a lively debate by Japanese philosophers inside Japan about the definition of truth and consequently about the nature of reality. (shrink)