One of the causes of the difficulty of understanding Nishida’s essay “I and thou” is the ambiguity of his use of the word“thou”. This word means not only a human other to whom I can call, but also means the I of the past, because the I of yesterday, for example, is qualitatively different from the I of now, this moment. The “thou” of Nishida’s philosophical construct extends to the full expanse of the universe. It is not easy to clearly decipher his definition of the term “thou,” used as it is in various contexts, but in the aggregate, it is possible to infer that Nishida intends the term “thou” to refer to the being whose presence gives an individual his true existence, despite that individual’s independence.
Nishida emphasizes the fact that all things have their existence only in a transient instant and that in the next moment all things transmute. The thing that is now should not, indeed cannot, be considered as the same thing that it just was. What bridges the thing that was and thing that is? Nishida asserts that what bridges each independent thing is true love which he terms Absolute-nothingness. This love finds new life through its own death.
In dieser Abhandlung wird versucht, zwei gleichnamige Texte, Martin Bubers Ich und Du(1923)und Kitarō Nishidas Watashi to Nanji[Ich und Du](1932), die sehr zeitnah zwischen den Weltkriegen in Deutschland und Japan, jedoch unter sehr verschiedenen Umständen und in unterschiedlichen Kontexten verfaßt wurden, miteinander vergleichend zu analysieren und dadurch die Spuren der ≫Logik der Vermittlung≪ bei diesen zwei Denkern zu verfolgen. Wenn hier von ≫Vermittlung≪ die Rede sein soll, soll der Begriff der ≫Grenzen≪ zur Sprache kommen. Die beiden Ich und Du Texte lassen sich als Antworten auf die Problematik der ≫Grenzen≪ lesen, die sich in beiden Gedanken verwirklichen, und daher kommt es darauf an, wie die beiden Denker über das dialektisch zwischen diesen ≫Grenzen≪ generierte „und“ philosophierten. Sie sollen in der Mitte des Strebens nach Entwicklung und Radikalisierung dieses „und“, nämlich in der gespannten Dynamik dieses „Interfaces“ gelesen werden, in dem die Konstellation einer Gruppe von verschiedenen Begriffe wie Vermittlung, Begegnung, Zwiefältigkeit, Dilemma, Widerspruch, Paradox, Antinomie und Dialektik konstituiert wird. Es ist nicht nur ins Auge zu fassen, dass Buber und Nishida gleichnamige Texte schrieben, sondern auch, dass sie beide aus ähnlichen Gründen kritisiert wurden. Ihnen wurde vorgeworfen, ihre Philosophien basierten nicht auf philosophischer Reflexion, sondern auf Mystik, deren Moment auf eine unlogisch-religiöse Unmittelbarkeit reduziert würde, wobei schließlich die dialektische Denkbewegung verlorenginge. Dagegen finden wir in ihren Philosophien vielmehr die Entwicklung des höchst dialektisch-mittelbaren Denkens, bzw. den Radikalismus der ≫Grenzen≪. Unser Interesse liegt aber nicht darin, zu beweisen, ob ihre Philosophien wirklich auf Dialektik beruhen, sondern wonach die beiden Philosophen in der angeblich- dialektischen Gedanken untersuchten. Während die Begegnung des Ich mit dem ewigen Du durch das konkrete Du bei Buber mit dem Begriff vom ≫Ort- Worin als Umgebung≪ bzw. vom ≫Ort des absoluten Nichts≪ bei Nishida verglichen wird, wird Bezug auf die verschiedenen, sich überlagernden Kontexte wie z.B. Meister Eckharts Gedanken von der Vollendung der Zeit, Mystische Schriften von Gustav Landauer, den Begriff des Kairos von Paul Tillich, die Gestaltspsychologie usw. genommen. Durch die Fokussierung auf ihre zeitliche Struktur, zeichnet sich deutlich die dialektische Logik beider Philosophien von Zeit ab. Unsere Untersuchung wird folgendermaßen vorgenommen:
1.Kitarō Nishida ≫und≪ Martin Buber.
2.Das Thema der Vermittlung: die Gründe der Kritik.
3.≫Grund≪ und ≫Grundwort≪.
4.Saum und Gestalt: Gegenwart und Ewigkeit.
5.Gegenwart und antinomisches Leben.
6.≫Selbstbestimmung des ewigen Jetzt≪ und ≫das ewige, das im Jetzt
und Hier gegenwärtige Urphänomen ≪.
Many scholars such as Shizuteru Ueda and Ryousuke Ōhashi have insisted that Nishida’s philosophy has a close affinity with the work of Heidegger. However, there have been few comparisons drawn between them. The reason for this is that Nishida’s criticism of Heidegger is rather obscure and difficult to understand. In this paper, therefore, I want to explain his criticism of Heidegger and examine its validity, which will in turn make clear the essence of Nishida’s philosophy.
The most important issue is the affinity and difference between their philosophical principles, as it is, a comprehension of being(Seinsverständnis) and self-awaking(Jikaku). In Self-awaking-determination of Nothingness, Nishida criticized Heidegger’s idea of “comprehension” as an incomplete idea of “self-awareness”. This issue relates to the concept of time and otherness. Nishida’s idea of time which he terms “self-determination of the Eternal Now” bears resemblance to Heidegger’s temporality(Zeitlichkeit), however, Nishida criticized Heidegger from his perspective of time which is grounded in his idea of otherness.
Although there are many similarities between Heidegger and Nishida, we should acknowledge the important differences between “Seinsverständnis” and “Jikaku”. If we come to compare them more profoundly, we can see a picture of a concrete ontology of self which transcends the limitations of specific cultural frameworks.
Nishida Kitaro argued in Inquiry into the Good that only through contemplation of the eternal could a person lead a life of meaning. This view on life and morality was not unique to Nishida, but widely shared by other Japanese intellectuals of this period. In order to highlight this point, in this paper I wish to compare the religious philosophy of Nishida Kitaro with that of two other thinkers of the Meiji period, Tsunashima Ryosen and Uchimura Kanzo, who both made profound contributions to the development of Christian thought in Japan. Through this comparison I hope to shed light on the basic substratum of the Japanese religious mind and determine the relationship found therein between mortality and eternity. My hope is that this paper will assist in the establishment of a new standpoint which treats both God and Buddha as unlimited Absolutes, fostering a religious attitude that may provide a greater opportunity for dialogue between members of different religions.
While confirming Nishitani Keiji’s ultimately existential treatment of religion which emphasizes ‘realization,’ this paper aims to elucidate the particular character of this realization through Nishitani’s interpretation of Shinran. There grasping the ‘originary awareness of evil’ as a negative and qualitative overturning of sociological or psychological ethics, I argue that Nishitani’s existential religious attitude does not limit itself to Zen Buddhism, but also realizes the existential standpoint of Kamakura Shin Buddhism, and thereby conclude that Nishitani’s approach to religion has meaning beyond any one particular religious sect.
Nishida Kitaro expresses his understanding of the integration between human beings and the world by the notion “the creative element of the creative world.” It is certain that he worked out his philosophical system in considering the close and immediate connection between the individual and the world. However, it is not always so easy to find out the specific connection between our ordinary actions in daily life and creations of the world.
Scholars have so far mentioned that Nishida had shifted the emphasis of his thinking to the theme of history after his representative treatise “I - thou;” but, they have seldom grasped squarely the meaning of Nishida’s peculiar theory about history. So, we can say that it is necessary to investigate the left problem of unclear connection between them by reexamining Nishida Kitaro’s own theory about history.
In this paper, to substantiate this view, I attempt to grasp the consistent theme and logic of history in Nishida’s thought through an examination of his representative writings dating around 1930s in first and second sections. In the third and final sections, I will examine the reason why Nishida depicted human beings as “the creative element of the creative world.” And finally, from this study, I will elucidate Nishida’s view on death and life.
Except for occasional quotations from the posthumously published text of the Fragments concerning Pure Experience, this series of reflections which continued for about eight years has been overlooked by most commentators and interpreters of Nishida philosophy. One of the main difficulties in the study of the Fragments is the articulation of the many-sided views Nishida takes into consideration. This is a task that should be undertaken by researchers of Nishida philosophy in the future. In this paper I present the results reached after several attempts at finding one of the several possible ways of presenting a coherent view of the contents of the Fragments. From this overview of the contents, we can see that Nishida entered into great detail in his reflection on pure experience, and we can perceive that there were other ways, alternative to the Zen no kenkyû, in which Nishida could have worked out his interpretation of pure experience.
Despite the large diffusion beyond boundaries of the academic world, the 2007 Italian translation of Zen no kenkyū hasn’t yet had a wide impact among Italian researchers of philosophy. Besides an ongoing ignorance of non-Western cultures, one of the principal reasons seems to be a kind of recalcitrance to a real intercultural dialog, which Nishida’s texts constrain. Zen no kenkyū appears in fact as the fulfillment of a creative encounter of different cultures, where the limit between East and West is exceeded in favour of something that forces the readers to bring themselves into question. Therefore the reading of Zen no kenkyū seems to be often confusing, especially when, under the appearance of something very familiar, an alterity is suddenly discovered, that becomes a constitutive element of something new and unexpected. An example of it can be found in the interpretation of the famous episode of “Giotto’s O” in the Lives of Vasari, that Nishida inserts in the third part of Zen no kenkyū. This interpretation departs notably from the usual Italian one, focused on some features typical of the Renaissance thought and aesthetics. Nishida’s ≪Giotto’s circle≫, although it calls to mind Zen paintings such as ensō or full moons, is something different, so that it is impossible to put it merely aside as “Oriental thought”. Giotto’s quotation in Zen no kenkyū, on the contrary, familiar and alien at the same time, goes deep hitting the sensibility of the Italian readers, compelling the question of interculture, that is recently beginning to be considered in Italy as a necessity or a destiny.
To what extent can pure experience be considered to be “devoid of meaning”(An Inquiry into the Good, trans. M. Abe, p. 8)? It is well known that Nishida elaborated his own concept of “pure experience” in reference to the way it appears in the philosophy of William James. He thus aimed at founding philosophical speculation on a solid ground in a radically new way. It is by putting aside any kind of “meaning”(意味 , imi), that Nishida reaches the realm of pure experience conceived as a strict unity of consciousness: “a truly pure experience has no meaning whatsoever”(Ibid., p. 4). Almost at the same period, in his seminal work, Logical Investigations, and moreover in his Ideas, Husserl attempted a similar move towards the authentic nature of consciousness. However, his phenomenological method of “bracketing (Einklammerung)”, by which the objective world is neutralized, has not conduced him to a suspension of meaning(Sinn)as such. On the contrary, this methodological procedure unveiled the intentionality of consciousness as a pure structure of meaning. If pure experience has to be considered as philosophy’s terra firma, a comparison with Husserlian reduction— or epochè—proves itself to be necessary. It should indeed provide us with a critical insight into what Nishida understands as being the true “content” of pure experience.