A salient doctrine of Neo-Confucianism is the unification of li (reason / principle). This doctrine must be taken into account in order to properly research many areas within the history of Japanese Philosophy. Nishi Amane himself, who coined the Japanese world tetsugaku in order to translate the conventional Western term Philosophy, started his career as a Neo-Confucian scholar.
Although Nishi coined the world tetsugaku, he still was not necessarily released from a Neo-Confucian view of the world. There is no doubt that Nishi intended the term tetsugaku to refer to methodologies and doctrines different than Neo-Confucianism.
However, Nishi's endeavors began as, and continued to be strongly informed by, the unification of li in the Neo-Confucian manner. To the extent that Nishi's understanding of tetsugaku did not sufficiently grasp the methods and doctrines of the Western Philosophy which he laboriously translated, he remained a Neo-Confucian scholar and did not fully attain to the title philosopher as that term came to be understood in the context of Modern Japanese Philosophy. On the other hand, Nishida Kitaro was clearly a philosopher in this sense. Nishida rejected the Neo-Confucian monism. Nishida's own tetsugaku fully maintains the autonomy of human reason. Nishida's tetsugaku further rigorously analyzes subjectivity, an analysis never really pursued by orthodox Neo-Confucianism. Nishida adheres to the action of subjective composition, which to the end constitutes the world. Nishida also distinguishes a subjective dimension and a transcendental dimension. The origin of these unique doctrines in Nishida can be located in Kant's philosophy and Buddhism.
Although the problem of history is no doubt one of the most important problems in the later philosophy of Nishida Kitarô, few scholars have paid attention to Nishida's philosophy from the viewpoint of the philosophy of history. In this paper I try to examine the possibility of reevaluating Nishida's philosophy as philosophy of history.
When Nishida speaks of history, he does not necessarily refer to each of the historical facts. His concern was rather to clarify the fundamental structure of the historical world itself, in which each historical event occurs. This attitude of Nishida can be put in the context of the philosophies of history at the beginning of twentieth century. At that time, some existential philosophers like Heidegger were also engaged in the problem of history, and prior to the scientific analysis of each historical fact, tried to analyze the historicity of human beings. Nishida analyzed the historicity of the real world in terms of poiesis. Because this notion includes both historical and super-historical perspective, Nishida's philosophy has a possibility to provide a significant contribution to the philosophy of history, which is confronted with the task of overcoming both superhistorical absolutism and historical relativism.
Der Zweck dieser Abhandlung besteht darin, Gesichter Ich und Du.
Ich begegne Du unter der geschichtlic-sozialen Bestimung. Aber Ich begegne Du auch in der originär-absoluten Dimension. Zwar bin Ich werde durch die geschichtliche Welt bestimmt. Aber Ich bestimme zugleich auch sie durch die Herstellung der Dinge. Wenn wir die Dinge herstellen, wird die geschichtliche Welt gestalte. Die geschichtliche Welt gestaltet sich durch unsere Herstellung der Dinge. Ich und Du geschehen in dieser Herstellung der Dinge. Denn wir begegnen uns in der geschichtliche Welt.
Diese hergestellten Dinge ist refende Dinge. Wenn das Andere ruft, werden die Dinge hergestellt. Deshalb das Rufen des Anderen ist der Ort, in der Ich und Du geschehen zumal der Ruf die Herstellung ermöglicht, in der Ich und Du geschehen.
Dieser Ruf ist der des absolut Anderen. Denn es allein erschließ das relativ ANdere, das auf der relativen Unterscheidung von Ich und Du beruht. Das absolut Andere ist die Wirkung, die die vergangene Welt vernichtet. Die geschichtliche Welt gestaltet sich immer schon erneut, durch die Vernichtung der vergangenen Welt. So können wir schöpferisch handeln.
Dieses absolute Andere, absolute Vernichtung ist die religiöse Dimmension. Das ist eine absolute Macht.
Die Gesichter Ich und Du sind è 1. geschichtlich-sozialer Gesicht. 2. schöpfersher (in der Herstellung der Dinge) Gesicht, 3. religiöser (in der absolute andere Mach) Gesicht.
This concept pure experience used in Kitaro Nishida's philosophy is interpreted in two ways. One is that pure experiences mean primitive perceptions or senses yet to be reflected, the other is that they cover all experiences including sentiment, reflections and wills. Not a few scholars insist that only primitive perceptions are true pure experience. Based on the following reasons, however, Nishida's pure experience should be considered all experiences in our daily lives.
(1) In Nishida's idea, which is a kind of pantheism, all entities are phenomena taking place in God's consciousness. Everything is in God, so there is nothing outside of God. That means God's consciousness is a pure experience, because His experience doesn't have the dichotomic structure of inner subjects and outer objects. Every personal experience is a limited area in the pure experience of God, therefore, all experiences are, without exception, pure experiences. (2) A primitive perception or sense is a pure experience, because it is not yet reflected. Then a reflection itself is a pure experience, too, because it is not yet reflected. Therefore every experience, so long as it is grasped as a whole. Parts in the content within a consciousness, which are objects of reflections, can be considered not pure experience.