BOOK REVIEW Tragic Beauty in Whitehead and Japanese Aesthetics. By Steve Odin. London: Lexington Books, 2016. Pp. xxii + 333. ISBN 978-1-4985-1477-4. Reviewed by Itsuki Hayashi Columbia University Ih2300@columbia.edu In the preface to his new monograph, Tragic Beauty in Whitehead and Japanese Aesthetics, Steve Odin proposes to do two things: better understand Alfred N. Whitehead’s “poetic vision of tragic beauty” through comparison with Japanese aesthetics, and thereby also suggest a “new religio-aesthetic vision of tragic beauty and its resolution in the supreme ecstasy of peace” (p. xvi). He does more than that, though. Besides thoroughly discussing Whitehead’s aesthetics throughout the latter’s works, from An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Natural Knowledge (1919) to Modes of Thought (1938), he enriches this aesthetics by discussing similar themes in American philosophy and literature, including Charles Peirce, John Dewey, Charles Hartshorne, Stephen Pepper, and Robert Pirsig (the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), just to mention a few. More importantly, following Onishi Yoshinori, Odin takes Japanese aesthetics, rooted in “overtones of feeling” (yojo), to consist in a combination of aware and yugen. Focusing exclusively on the Buddhist worldview, Odin associates aware with impermanence and sadness, and compares the notion with
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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