In this deeply learned work, Toshihiko Izutsu compares the metaphysical and mystical thought-systems of Sufism and Taoism and discovers that, although historically unrelated, the two share features and patterns which prove fruitful for a transhistorical dialogue. His original and suggestive approach opens new doors in the study of comparative philosophy and mysticism. Izutsu begins with Ibn 'Arabi, analyzing and isolating the major ontological concepts of this most challenging of Islamic thinkers. Then, in the second part of the book, Izutsu (...) turns his attention to an analysis of parallel concepts of two great Taoist thinkers, Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu. Only after laying bare the fundamental structure of each world view does Izutsu embark, in the final section of the book, upon a comparative analysis. Only thus, he argues, can he be sure to avoid easy and superficial comparisons. Izutsu maintains that both the Sufi and Taoist world views are based on two pivots--the Absolute Man and the Perfect Man--with a whole system of oncological thought being developed between these two pivots. Izutsu discusses similarities in these ontological systems and advances the hypothesis that certain patterns of mystical and metaphysical thought may be shared even by systems with no apparent historical connection. This second edition of Sufism and Taoism is the first published in the United States. The original edition, published in English and in Japan, was prized by the few English-speaking scholars who knew of it as a model in the field of comparative philosophy. Making available in English much new material on both sides of its comparison, Sufism and Taoism richly fulfills Izutsu's motivating desire "to open a new vista in the domain of comparative philosophy.". (shrink)
The true man without any rank.--Two dimensions of ego consciousness.--Sense and nonsense in Zen Buddhism.--The philosophical problem of articulation.--Thinking and a-thinking through kōan.--The interior and exterior in Zen.--The elimination of color in Far Eastern art and photography.
The commutativity of the 1-dimensional XY-h type Hamiltonian and the transfer matrix of a 2-dimensional spin-lattice model constructed from an R-matrix is studied by Sutherland's method. We generalize Krinsky's result to more general Hamiltonians and more general R matrices, and we obtain a generic condition on their parameters for the commutativity, which defines an irreducible algebraic manifold in the parameter space.
Some researchers on binary choice inference have argued that people make inferences based on simple heuristics, such as recognition, fluency, or familiarity. Others have argued that people make inferences based on available knowledge. To examine the boundary between heuristic and knowledge usage, we examine binary choice inference processes in terms of attribute substitution in heuristic use. In this framework, it is predicted that people will rely on heuristic or knowledge-based inference depending on the subjective difficulty of the inference task. We (...) conducted competitive tests of binary choice inference models representing simple heuristics and knowledge-based inference models. We found that a simple heuristic model explained inference patterns for subjectively difficult inference tasks, and that a knowledge-based inference model explained subjectively easy inference tasks. These results were consistent with the predictions of the attribute substitution framework. Issues on usage of simple heuristics and psychological processes are discussed. (shrink)
It is increasingly argued that polymathy—vocational and avocational pursuits in multiple domains—is deeply associated with creativity and innovation, and that its development enables the creation of important bridges between otherwise fragmented, dispersed sets of knowledge. Nevertheless, the dominant culture in both industry and academia is still that of narrow specialization. In this paper, we argue that in the context of COVID-19 crisis, with its wicked and transdisciplinary nature, the disciplinary approach of specialization is ill-suited to solve our increasingly complex problems, (...) and that polymathic thinking can be a crucial asset in this regard. Drawing on different literature strands, we first examine the interplay between polymathy and other well-developed constructs in personality and temperament research. We then advance theoretical predictions regarding the relationship between trait polymathy and resilience in the COVID-19 crisis. After that, we discuss learnable strategies that can be used in complex, uncertain and adverse situations, which are associated with development of a more polymathic set of knowledge. Later, we discuss how it may be possible to better capitalize on the key features of polymathic thinking at the societal level. Finally, we conclude with a reflection on the adequacy of our current institutions for dealing with complex problems, and we underscore the crucial role of polymathic thinking in an increasingly complex and interrelated world. (shrink)
In comparing humans and animals, we may use humans as the standard to measure animals, or conversely, animals as the standard to measure humans. While most philosophers have adopted the former approach, David Hume is among those few who use the comparison with animals as means to throw light on human nature. I focus on Hume’s treatment of human and animal reason. The cognitive processes and states that Hume holds to be common to humans and animals may be called situated, (...) that is, embedded in the process of guiding actions that is actually going on and consequently relative to the agent’s current position in space-time. Hume’s treatment of causal reasoning underlines the centrality of situated cognition in the workings of human, as well as animal minds. Taking situated reasoning and beliefs as the paradigm of human cognition enables us to look from an alternative point of view, at the features supposedly unique to human cognition, like the use of general words and concepts. Thus we can find a confirmation of the practical import of general words and concepts in Hume’s account of the obligation of promises, where words play an essential role in extending our control over objects and actions beyond what is present and particular into what is absent or not yet actualized. This is also a confirmation of how deeply our cognitive abilities in general are rooted in our practical needs. (shrink)