2020 Volume 16 Pages 78-97
Tanabe Hajime （1885‒1962） started developing his philosophy of religion which he dubbed ‘philosophy as metanoetics’ since the autumn of 1944. In December of the same year, Nishida Kitaro （1870‒1945） criticized his understanding of the philosophy of religion, pointing out that its core concept of ‘repentance’ （zange） reduces to a mere ethical notion. Is this criticism justified? This paper aims to answer this question by indicating that Tanabe’s philosophy of religion is synthesis of ethics and religion, rather than a reduction of the latter to the prior. That is, I will clarify the relation between Tanabe’s notions of salvation （to which he referred to with the term ‘resurrection’） and existential communion （a term pertaining to social ontology that stands for the community of people who have been resurrected）. For Tanabe, resurrection occurs when our practical reason is faced with an antinomy of duties and fails to find a solution; we are thus ‘resurrected’ by the Absolute. Resurrection leads naturally to new antinomies, which bring about higher demands for salvation. In this continuous process, we can gradually come to mediate the antinomies between oneself, others and entire communities. On the one hand, we can only realize existential communion by continuing ethical practices in our community. On the other, our salvation is attested only by existential communion. In this way, ethics and religion are inseparable in Tanabe’s philosophy of religion.