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Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents

1. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
Shinji Hamauzu

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2. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
Jason M. Wirth

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This essay argues for the importance of Nishitani Keiji’s thought as a critical resource to confront what the unfolding ecological crisis reveals about who and what we are. The first part considers the importance of “nature” for Nishitani that accords with insights that both resonate with his Zen practice and heritage, and which open up tacit dimensions of the Jōdo Shin (True Pure Land) tradition. The second section turns to Nishitani’s highly original Zen “existentialization” of science in general, and by extension, contemporary climate science in particular, in order to highlight Nishitani’s Great Death as a response to the unfolding ecological catastrophe. In treating climate science as a kōan, we not only come to see who we are, but also come undone and awaken to a new relation to the Great Earth.

3. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
Richard Stone

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In this contribution, I seek to highlight two different understandings of the self that can be found in Nishida Kitarō’s An Inquiry into the Good and show how they relate to one another to form a novel view of selfhood. As several scholars are already aware, Nishida appears inconsistent about how he describes terms relating to our “true” self in his early work, discussing it both as a particular state of consciousness in which unity between subject and object has been achieved and the fundamental activity that generates meaning in otherwise mute experience. While most interpreters have tended to limit themselves to mentioning only one outlook on the self or the other (or otherwise to taking the apparent inconsistency in Nishida’s earliest thought as a sign that he had yet to reach philosophical maturity), I believe this is a mistake. Indeed, as I shall argue in this contribution, Nishida’s early philosophy can only be read fruitfully if these two seemingly different interpretations of the “true self” are reconciled with one another.

4. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
Itsuki Hayashi

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“Atsumori” is a Noh play composed by master playwright Zeami sometime before 1423, featuring characters from the Tales of the Heike. Although popular to this day, the philosophical significance of the play remains underdeveloped and underappreciated. Prima facie, it features a ghost who is liberated thanks to the sincere prayer of the priest who killed him. Simplistic reading would yield simplistic understanding of the characters and their dynamism, and would fail to appreciate, for instance, the agency of the ghost or the liberation of the priest. Accordingly, some regard the play as falling short of the highest aesthetic value, insofar as its protagonist fails to attain liberation through his own effort. Some even contend that the ulterior purpose of the play is to portray ghosts as powerless and desperate so that vanquishers need not fear vengeful ghosts. While it is possible that Zeami indeed held such ulterior intention and regarded it as second rank for the protagonist’s lack of agency, I shall present a different reading that would yield a richer appreciation of the characters and their dynamism. I do so by regarding the “friendship of dharma” that occurs at the culmination of the play as “existential communion” as presented in Tanabe Hajime’s later philosophy. That is, the play need not be read as a story about a living priest saving a dead warrior—it can be read as about two lost souls saving each other, through mutual acceptance, mutual sacrifice, and collaborative mediation of the Absolute. For this purpose, the paper first delineates Tanabe’s later philosophy with a focus on the idea of existential communion. Then it introduces “Atsumori” and discusses its philosophical significance. An impasse due to the scope of the play will be identified, which I call “the problem of epistemic authority,” and to fill the gap I will introduce and discuss another spin-off story featuring Atsumori. The paper intends to offer a philosophically richer reading of the play to invite readers to think deeply and creatively about Noh.

5. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
Yi Chen, Boris Steipe

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Confucian state doctrines have shaped Asian cultures for millennia as prescriptive codes of conduct with an emphasis on hierarchy and obligation. Yet a premise at the core of lǐ (禮)—understood as propriety, ritual, or generally a cultural grammar—is authenticity, and authentic respect cannot be commanded. What if the lǐ were to be elegant instead? Hans-Georg Gadamer analyzed play as a fusion of horizons that are absorbed into the same event, co-constituting subject and object in an aesthetic experience, and dissolving their dichotomy. We consider examples from Japanese aesthetics in this framework to give depth to key Confucian concepts: the values that enable a relationality that is not in conflict with autonomy; the points of reference for self-improvement through culture; a social organization that enacts reciprocity; and the essential posture this requires. The radical simplicity of the philosophy of tea, chanoyu, and the aesthetic refinement of the Katsura Rikyū palace illuminate the principle of emotional resonance in encounters, which underlies the fusion of cognitive, ethical, and aesthetic horizons. This view reveals how the relational premise of the Confucian philosophical system entails an ontological commitment to mutuality. This is indeed ethics, but neither particularism nor generalism; in its aesthetic dimension it is the mode of perception of a self fulfilled in play.

book review

6. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
Laÿna Droz

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7. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
John Krummel

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8. Journal of Japanese Philosophy: Volume > 8
Leah Kalmanson

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