Journal of Nishida Philosophy Association
Online ISSN : 2434-2270
Print ISSN : 2188-1995
“Eternal now” and the self-awareness of death
Nishida’s idea about the present which passes away as it stands still infinitely
[in Japanese]
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2020 Volume 16 Pages 22-41


  Kitaro Nishida declared, “The emotion which drives us to philosophical thinking must be not ‘surprise’ but profound sorrow for our life.” He had regarded “the self-awareness of death” as the most important subject of philosophy consistently. The death was not other people’s affairs but “the most concrete and individual event” for him. Whenever the past is recalled with regret in “the self-awareness of death”, the meaning of our life must become questionable. Since 1930, Nishida had searched after the meaning of our life by using the expression “the self-determination of eternal now”. According to Nishida, the self-awareness which must be thought ultimately as the self-awareness of absolute nothingness contains a contradiction. It means that present passes away as it stands still. Therefore, the self-awareness should be interpreted as “the self-determination of eternal now”. In my article, I would like to clarify the structure of “the self-awareness of death” from the viewpoint of Nishida’s theory of time.

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