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Essays on Japanese Philosophy

Essays on Japanese Philosophy Robert E. Carter ProfessorEmeritus(Philosophy),TrentUniversity Japanese Philosophy Abroad.EditedbyJamesW.Heisig.Nagoya:NanzanInstitute forReligionandCulture,2004.Pp.ix+304.Paper$10.49. Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy.EditedbyJamesW.Heisig.Nagoya:NanzanInstituteforReligionandCulture,2006.Pp.xii+313.Paper$10.49. Neglected Themes and Hidden Variations: Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy 2. Edited byVictorSgenHoriandMelissaAnne-MarieCurley.Nagoya:NanzanInstitutefor ReligionandCulture,2008.Pp.vi+261.Paper$10.49. Origins and Possibilities: Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy 3. Edited by James W. Heisig and Uehara Mayuko. Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, 2008.Pp.vi+304.Paper$10.49. Facing the 21st Century: Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy 4. Edited by LamWingkeungandCheungChing-yuen.Nagoya:NanzanInstituteforReligionandCulture, 2009.Pp.vii+304.Paper$10.49. Thisisanexcitingcollectivemilestone.Asrecentlyastwoorthreedecadesago,it wassomethingofaneventtodiscoveranessayonJapanesephilosophy,inPhilosophy East and West oranyothermajorphilosophicaljournal.Now,withthepublicationof fivenewvolumes(stemmingfromsymposiaandworkshopsinNagoya,HongKong, Berlin,andMontreal)bytheNanzanInstituteforReligionandCulture,seventy-three essayshaveappeared,moreorlessallatonce.TheseessaysaremostlyinEnglish, although several are written in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. In the first v lumebyitself,Japanese Philosophy Abroad,severalwritersprovideanaccountof o JapanesephilosophyfromFrench,Spanish,Italian,German,Chinese,andEnglishspeakingregionsoftheworld.Aswithallconferencegatherings,thequalityofthe essaysvariessomewhat,although,ingeneral,theyareofremarkablyhighcaliber. Even a cursory glance at the scope of these volumes reveals chapters dealing with central Kyoto School figures, including Nishida Kitar,Tanabe Hajime, Kuki Shz,WatsujiTetsur,NishitaniKeiji,andUedaShizuteru.Otherchaptersprovide background to the Kyoto School philosophers: Dgen, Motoori Norinaga, Nishi Amane,TakizawaKatsumi,andthelateYuasaYasuo.Inordertogivesomeimpressionofthenatureoftheessaysincluded,itmightprovehelpfultolistafewofthem bytitle:"TheIdeaoftheMirrorinDgenandNishida"(MichaelDalissier),"Getting backtoPremodernJapan:Tanabe'sReadingofDgen"(RalfMüller),"YuasaYasuo's TheoryoftheBody"(BrittaBoutry-Stadelmann),"NishidaKitarasPhilosopherof Science"(NoeKeiichi),"TheHumanandtheAbsoluteintheWritingsofKukiShz" (SaitTakako), "Transcendence of the State inWatsuji's Ethics" (Bernard Bernier), PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number1January2011216­220 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress and"LettingGoofGodforNothing:UedaShizuteru'sNon-MysticismandtheQuestionofEthicsinBuddhism"(BretW.Davis).Fromthisbriefselectionoutofatotalof seventy-threeessays,itbecomesevidentthatthesefivevolumespresentaremarkablebreadthofsubjectswhilemaintainingaclearfocusontheKyotoSchoolphilosophers. Ofthemanyimportanttopicsexploredinthesevolumes,theexaminationofthe relationshipbetweenphilosophyandreligionisonethatmaywellredefinephilosophyitself.1JamesHeisig'sessay"RedefiningDefiningPhilosophy"questionswhyitis thatnon-WesternphilosophyissoinfrequentlyincludedwithinthegazeofWestern philosophers.Hewritesthat"aslongasweacceptthatphilosophyisawesterndiscipline,andthattherefore,thewestholdsthecopyrightondefinitionsandredefinitions of it, philosophy's [alleged] universality remains radically unphilosophical." Thisis,inreality,a"parochialismmasqueradingasuniversality."Suchanentrenched exclusivityis,andwillcontinuetobe,slowtochange,butHeisig'srecollectionofa commentmadebyNishitaniKeijiataroundtablediscussion,heldjustafterthewar, ishelpfulhere:"lastingculturalchangestakeplacenotatthecorebutatthefringes." ThegrowingfamiliaritywithJapanesecuisine,interracialmarriages,Japanesesports figuresplayingintheWest,Japaneselandscapegardens,architecturalsimplicityand embeddednessinnature,etceteraallpavethewaytowardanunderlyingacceptance ofthingsforeign,makingthemasignificantpartofthe"fringe"acceptanceoftraditionsandinsightsthatarenotWestern.Changesatthefringewill,nodoubt,enhance thepossibilityofchangeinacademeandbeyond. Nevertheless,studentsandseasonedscholarsalikecontinuetostruggletomake non-Westernwaysofthinkingheard,letaloneincludedintheWesternphilosophic canon: "the process of redefining philosophy seems to be dragging its heels and, therefore...somekindofnewstimulusisinorder."AndHeisigisnodoubtrightin thatmakingavailablewell-translatedtextsmayhelpmarkedlyinthisprocess. Thissituationoftheoryatthe"core"coupledwithexperienceatthefringesof culturaldifferencehasregularlyaidedtheacceptanceofthenewandhashelpedto breakdownthebarriersofrigidityandexclusivity.Anexampleofthis,theessayby BretW.Davis,"ProvocativeAmbivalencesinJapanesePhilosophyofReligion,with aFocusonNishidaandZen,"isatantalizingandconstructiveattempttouseNishida and Nishitani to reconfigure the relationship between philosophy and religion, t erebyexposingmanyoftheweaknessesinWesternconceptionsoftheirrelationh http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Essays on Japanese Philosophy

Philosophy East and West , Volume 61 (1) – Jan 16, 2011

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Robert E. Carter ProfessorEmeritus(Philosophy),TrentUniversity Japanese Philosophy Abroad.EditedbyJamesW.Heisig.Nagoya:NanzanInstitute forReligionandCulture,2004.Pp.ix+304.Paper$10.49. Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy.EditedbyJamesW.Heisig.Nagoya:NanzanInstituteforReligionandCulture,2006.Pp.xii+313.Paper$10.49. Neglected Themes and Hidden Variations: Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy 2. Edited byVictorSgenHoriandMelissaAnne-MarieCurley.Nagoya:NanzanInstitutefor ReligionandCulture,2008.Pp.vi+261.Paper$10.49. Origins and Possibilities: Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy 3. Edited by James W. Heisig and Uehara Mayuko. Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture, 2008.Pp.vi+304.Paper$10.49. Facing the 21st Century: Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy 4. Edited by LamWingkeungandCheungChing-yuen.Nagoya:NanzanInstituteforReligionandCulture, 2009.Pp.vii+304.Paper$10.49. Thisisanexcitingcollectivemilestone.Asrecentlyastwoorthreedecadesago,it wassomethingofaneventtodiscoveranessayonJapanesephilosophy,inPhilosophy East and West oranyothermajorphilosophicaljournal.Now,withthepublicationof fivenewvolumes(stemmingfromsymposiaandworkshopsinNagoya,HongKong, Berlin,andMontreal)bytheNanzanInstituteforReligionandCulture,seventy-three essayshaveappeared,moreorlessallatonce.TheseessaysaremostlyinEnglish, although several are written in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. In the first v lumebyitself,Japanese Philosophy Abroad,severalwritersprovideanaccountof o JapanesephilosophyfromFrench,Spanish,Italian,German,Chinese,andEnglishspeakingregionsoftheworld.Aswithallconferencegatherings,thequalityofthe essaysvariessomewhat,although,ingeneral,theyareofremarkablyhighcaliber. Even a cursory glance at the scope of these volumes reveals chapters dealing with central Kyoto School figures, including Nishida Kitar,Tanabe Hajime, Kuki Shz,WatsujiTetsur,NishitaniKeiji,andUedaShizuteru.Otherchaptersprovide background to the Kyoto School philosophers: Dgen, Motoori Norinaga, Nishi Amane,TakizawaKatsumi,andthelateYuasaYasuo.Inordertogivesomeimpressionofthenatureoftheessaysincluded,itmightprovehelpfultolistafewofthem bytitle:"TheIdeaoftheMirrorinDgenandNishida"(MichaelDalissier),"Getting backtoPremodernJapan:Tanabe'sReadingofDgen"(RalfMüller),"YuasaYasuo's TheoryoftheBody"(BrittaBoutry-Stadelmann),"NishidaKitarasPhilosopherof Science"(NoeKeiichi),"TheHumanandtheAbsoluteintheWritingsofKukiShz" (SaitTakako), "Transcendence of the State inWatsuji's Ethics" (Bernard Bernier), PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number1January2011216­220 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress and"LettingGoofGodforNothing:UedaShizuteru'sNon-MysticismandtheQuestionofEthicsinBuddhism"(BretW.Davis).Fromthisbriefselectionoutofatotalof seventy-threeessays,itbecomesevidentthatthesefivevolumespresentaremarkablebreadthofsubjectswhilemaintainingaclearfocusontheKyotoSchoolphilosophers. Ofthemanyimportanttopicsexploredinthesevolumes,theexaminationofthe relationshipbetweenphilosophyandreligionisonethatmaywellredefinephilosophyitself.1JamesHeisig'sessay"RedefiningDefiningPhilosophy"questionswhyitis thatnon-WesternphilosophyissoinfrequentlyincludedwithinthegazeofWestern philosophers.Hewritesthat"aslongasweacceptthatphilosophyisawesterndiscipline,andthattherefore,thewestholdsthecopyrightondefinitionsandredefinitions of it, philosophy's [alleged] universality remains radically unphilosophical." Thisis,inreality,a"parochialismmasqueradingasuniversality."Suchanentrenched exclusivityis,andwillcontinuetobe,slowtochange,butHeisig'srecollectionofa commentmadebyNishitaniKeijiataroundtablediscussion,heldjustafterthewar, ishelpfulhere:"lastingculturalchangestakeplacenotatthecorebutatthefringes." ThegrowingfamiliaritywithJapanesecuisine,interracialmarriages,Japanesesports figuresplayingintheWest,Japaneselandscapegardens,architecturalsimplicityand embeddednessinnature,etceteraallpavethewaytowardanunderlyingacceptance ofthingsforeign,makingthemasignificantpartofthe"fringe"acceptanceoftraditionsandinsightsthatarenotWestern.Changesatthefringewill,nodoubt,enhance thepossibilityofchangeinacademeandbeyond. Nevertheless,studentsandseasonedscholarsalikecontinuetostruggletomake non-Westernwaysofthinkingheard,letaloneincludedintheWesternphilosophic canon: "the process of redefining philosophy seems to be dragging its heels and, therefore...somekindofnewstimulusisinorder."AndHeisigisnodoubtrightin thatmakingavailablewell-translatedtextsmayhelpmarkedlyinthisprocess. Thissituationoftheoryatthe"core"coupledwithexperienceatthefringesof culturaldifferencehasregularlyaidedtheacceptanceofthenewandhashelpedto breakdownthebarriersofrigidityandexclusivity.Anexampleofthis,theessayby BretW.Davis,"ProvocativeAmbivalencesinJapanesePhilosophyofReligion,with aFocusonNishidaandZen,"isatantalizingandconstructiveattempttouseNishida and Nishitani to reconfigure the relationship between philosophy and religion, t erebyexposingmanyoftheweaknessesinWesternconceptionsoftheirrelationh

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Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 16, 2011

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