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The Nothingness beyond God: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nishida Kitaro

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... Nishida's basho is never a subject or an object but a place or field of emerging relationships. Or, as Carter (1997) puts it, "basho is the given-in-intuition prior to analysis and expression of objectification." Basho is the primal place/field/system that gives rise to knowledge and knowing. ...
... Basho is the primal place/field/system that gives rise to knowledge and knowing. Nishida distinguishes among three types of bashos that correspond with the three forms of knowledge introduced above (Carter, 1997;Wargo, 1972). . Primary knowing, according to Rosch, differs from our standard way of cognition in that it knows "by means of interconnected wholes (rather than isolated contingent parts) and by means of timeless, direct, presentation (rather than through stored re-presentations). ...
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The paper introduces the concept of not-yet-embodied or self-transcending knowledge. The concept of self-transcending knowledge proposes a distinction between two types of tacit knowledge: tacit-embodied knowledge on the one hand and not-yet-embodied knowledge on the other hand. The distinction is relevant because each of the three forms of knowledge – explicit, tacit-embodied, and self-transcending – is based on different epistemological assumptions and requires a different type of knowledge environment and learning infrastructure. Moreover, the differentiation among markets with decreasing, steady, and increasing returns suggests that, in order to successfully compete for increasing return markets, leaders need a new type of knowledge that allows them to sense, tune into and actualize emerging business opportunities – that is, to tap into the sources of not-yet-embodied knowledge.
... It is not to be transcended but accessed. In fact, for Nishida, pure experience is normatively the richest of experiences, as Dilworth says, when understood in terms of Zen emptiness or nothingness (Carter 1997). And this is normative since we cultivate our capacity to experience it through meditative practices. ...
... Yet, we are increasingly sensitive that some of what is ought not to be, some of what could be should not be. (Kasulis 1997in Carter 1997 ...
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This chapter describes Watsuji Tetsurō’s ethics of ningen – of human betweenness- explores how it forms the base of an ethics of technology, and analyses a contemporary technology – containerization – based on his ethics. Watsuji sees technology as part of the milieu. Technology is thus not autonomous, but represents betweenness. Technology can also affect betweenness, and promote it. In its analysis of a contemporary technology, the paper describes containerization as a way to efficiently transport goods, which bears the potential of promoting betweenness, but seen more metaphorically, containerization of people and thought put serious obstacles to realizing an ethics of ningen.
... In realtà la stessa autonomia che sostengono di avere e di voler difendere è stata violata molto tempo fa nel corso di precedenti controversie ed oggi li vediamo appoggiare senza volerlo gli esiti di tali controversie nel tentativo di difendere le loro tradizioni. Alcune se solo come oggetto dei sistemi tecnici, genera competenze contestualizzate sempre nuove che possono diventare la rampa di lancio per gli interventi del pubblico ad ogni stadio di sviluppo di un campo tecnologico.4 In questi casi le iniziative sociali influenzano la razionalità tecnologica senza distruggerla, questo perché l'autonomia delle professioni della tecnologia non è tanto legata alla loro separazione dalla politica quanto lo è alla capacità di tradurre la politica in termini tecnologici e razionali.che ...
... It is not to be transcended but accessed. In fact, for Nishida, pure experience is normatively the richest of experiences, as Dilworth says, when understood in terms of Zen emptiness or nothingness (Carter 1997). And this is normative since we cultivate our capacity to experience it through meditative practices. ...
... In realtà la stessa autonomia che sostengono di avere e di voler difendere è stata violata molto tempo fa nel corso di precedenti controversie ed oggi li vediamo appoggiare senza volerlo gli esiti di tali controversie nel tentativo di difendere le loro tradizioni. Alcune se solo come oggetto dei sistemi tecnici, genera competenze contestualizzate sempre nuove che possono diventare la rampa di lancio per gli interventi del pubblico ad ogni stadio di sviluppo di un campo tecnologico.4 In questi casi le iniziative sociali influenzano la razionalità tecnologica senza distruggerla, questo perché l'autonomia delle professioni della tecnologia non è tanto legata alla loro separazione dalla politica quanto lo è alla capacità di tradurre la politica in termini tecnologici e razionali.che ...
... In realtà la stessa autonomia che sostengono di avere e di voler difendere è stata violata molto tempo fa nel corso di precedenti controversie ed oggi li vediamo appoggiare senza volerlo gli esiti di tali controversie nel tentativo di difendere le loro tradizioni. Alcune se solo come oggetto dei sistemi tecnici, genera competenze contestualizzate sempre nuove che possono diventare la rampa di lancio per gli interventi del pubblico ad ogni stadio di sviluppo di un campo tecnologico.4 In questi casi le iniziative sociali influenzano la razionalità tecnologica senza distruggerla, questo perché l'autonomia delle professioni della tecnologia non è tanto legata alla loro separazione dalla politica quanto lo è alla capacità di tradurre la politica in termini tecnologici e razionali.che ...
... This aspect of his achievement is lost, however, in much recent scholarship. Because Nishida attempted to reformulate a putatively Japanese worldview in the language of Western philosophy, students of his thought often read it as an elaborately encoded version of traditional Mahayana metaphysics (Carter, 1989). While decoding Nishida's writings in Eastern terms can be useful, unfortunately this approach has also contributed to the widespread impression that Nishida was an anti-modern, traditionalist thinker; but in fact, like most of his generation, he evaluated modern science and civilization positively on the whole (a view, be it said, that is not incompatible with a sympathy for Buddhism). ...
... The work at the shop-floor involves a high level of mutual interactions such as help, on-the-job training, and horizontal coordination of tasks; this sidecontracting among workers can be only implicit, because sufficiently explicit written contracts would be costly if not impossible (Aoki, 1994). This implicitly cooperative group work constitutes a knowledge network, which attaches meanings to physical and social phenomena, as discussed by many authors (e.g., Teilhard de Chardin, 1947;Carter, 1997;Chia, 2000;Bose and Sugumaran, 2003;Chia, 2003). ...
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Purpose – The purpose of this research is to explore the theoretical underpinnings of knowledge transfer within Japanese multinationals. To that end, a conceptual model of knowledge transfer within Japanese multinational companies and their overseas affiliates is proposed. Design/methodology/approach – In the first part, theoretical models of knowledge transfer within multinationals in general are explored through a literature review. Next, related knowledge management practices utilized by Japanese companies, specifically in their overseas subsidiaries, are introduced. The third section develops a conceptual model proposing how knowledge is disseminated within Japanese multinationals. The discussion is based on the assumption that Japanese firms consciously apply the same knowledge management methods abroad as at home only to the extent to which they consider them appropriate for transplanting into a foreign environment. Findings – Distillation of prior research has led to the conceptual model proposed here. This general model incorporates two principal dimensions (facilitating factors and knowledge flows). An examination of Japanese managerial practices in light of these dimensions illuminates the relationships between some recognized typically Japanese traditions and their implications for knowledge transfer approaches and activities. Originality/value – The intention of this paper is to provide insights useful to practitioners as well as academic researchers. Non‐Japanese firms can further their understanding of the motivations and rationale behind Japanese practices, while Japanese companies may apply some of the reasoning to their decisions regarding which of their practices, methods, and knowledge to transfer abroad and by what means. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research.
... On the other hand, to put these assumptions in genuine doubt and to undertake the search for a deeper understanding of one's own complex nature is the religious act itself. 53 Defined in this way, Sartre, too, saw the religious aspect of life as critical to full authenticity. To the extent that nirvana is understood as a transformed state of consciousness, it bears comparison with Sartrean forms of salvation such as the goal of radical conversion, or authenticity. ...
Article
Jean-Paul Sartre''s position on religion has traditionally been reduced to variations of his well-known atheism. This is a result of collapsing the distinction between religion and theism, as both critics and supporters of Sartre have commonly done. Consequently, attention to Sartre''s persistent and pervasive concern with religious ideas, symbols, and experiences has been neglected. While the religious implications of Sartre''s thought have mostly been considered in relation to Christian theology, other newer areas of religious studies suggest additional avenues for considering Sartre. Sartre''s possible connections to four such areas are discussed: 1) Eastern religions; 2) Jewish studies; 3) feminist theology, and 4) the psychoanalysis of religion.
... Of course, a comprehensive understanding of Nishida's work entails an understanding of the logical strand of his thinking intertwined with his phenomenological concerns. In particular, Nishida's "logic of basho", insofar as it underwrites his transition from his earliest discussion of pure experience to his mature discussions of Absolute Nothingness, is a central aspect of his philosophical development.For more on Nishida's logical analysis, and especially his "logic of basho", see especially Carter (1997) and Wargo (2005). 41 For James, recall that experience is interpretive all the way down. ...
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The question "What is the nature of experience?" is of perennial philosophical concern. It deals not only with the nature of experience qua experience, but additionally with related questions about the experiencing subject and that which is experienced. In other words, to speak of the philosophical problem of experience, one must also address questions about mind, world, and the various relations that link them together. Both William James and Kitaro Nishida were deeply concerned with these issues. Their shared notion of "pure experience" is the conceptual cornerstone of their attempt to deal with the philosophical problem of experience. This dissertation is an analysis of "pure experience" and its relevance to several issues in contemporary philosophy of mind. Drawing upon James's and Nishida's "pure experience", I argue both for a sensorimotor-based, "extended" conception of consciousness and a bodily skills-based account of moral psychology. In the first chapter, I discuss James's "pure experience" as developed in Essays in Radical Empiricism. I argue for a phenomenological interpretation of pure experience. I contend that a phenomenological rendering of pure experience respects James's claim that consciousness and perception are modes of bodily activity: not things that happen to us but rather things that we do. I draw out pure experience's implicit claims about the prereflective continuity of conscious self and world, and I make explicit the way that the body's world-engaged, sensorimotor systems secure this prereflective continuity within pure experience. In the second chapter, I argue that James's "pure experience" can be used to develop an extended view of mind. I argue that mind--including the content of phenomenal consciousness--is a dynamic, temporally-extended process that is distributed beyond the skin and skull of the subject. The extended model of consciousness I develop avoids the intractable skepticism of internalist, representationbased models of mind while, at the same time, remaining faithful to the phenomenology of our embodied and embedded experience. I discuss how recent experimental research-- including work on change blindness, inattentional blindness, blindsight, neonate empathy and cross-modal perception--supports this extended conception of mentality. In the third chapter, I argue for a phenomenological interpretation of Nishida's pure largely consonant with James's formulation. According to Nishida, pure experience points to the fact that, via the changing forms of its prereflective adaptive action, body is functionally integrated with world in a nondual or "pure" manner. Embodied mind and world are thus intimately coupled. I examine Nishida's phenomenological descriptions of aesthetic creativity and moral action as they express this feature of pure experience. Along the way, I contextualize Nishida's pure experience first within Buddhist thought, generally construed, and then more pointedly within the Zen Buddhist tradition which greatly influenced Nishida's work as a whole. In the fourth chapter, I argue for an enactive, sensorimotor-based conception of moral psychology as skillful action. Drawing upon classical Buddhism and Nishida on pure experience and "acting-intuition", I develop a phenomenological analysis of the structure of morally skillful action. I argue that traditional western cognitivist views of moral cognition, emphasizing critical-rational analysis concerned with a priori justifications of subsequent actions, overlook the fundamentally situated and spontaneous nature of the bulk of our moral experience. I argue that moral consciousness expresses itself primarily in and through immediate, skillful responses to concrete situations. In short, I argue for a moral psychology of involvement. I discuss experimental research on neural and perceptual plasticity, synaesthesia, meditation, and empathy, all of which I contend supports a bodily skills-based model of moral psychology.
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This chapter describes five partially overlapping frames of reference that have tended to define European-language presentations and translations of Nishida’s philosophy.* Nishida has appeared as Japan’s first (modern) philosopher, a philosopher of “the East,” Zen philosopher, founder of the Kyoto School and leading philosopher of nothingness, and nationalist ideologue. Common to these frames is the place of priority held by the Japanese language in which Nishida expressed his thought. The significance of his philosophy will depend increasingly on expanding and even breaking out of these defining, confining, and overlapping frames. Many studies of Nishida have begun to place him in comparative and critical contexts beyond these frames, but often remain bound to his own terms. Nishida’s philosophy will gain in relevance as it is released from his own terms and engaged anew. I conclude by pointing to one possible avenue of engagement.KeywordsHermeneuticsInterpretation and translationJapan and Japanese languageKyoto schoolNothingnessPlace or bashoZen
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Unter dem Oberbegriff ,Nicht-theistische Religionsphilosophie‘ werden Positionen unterschiedlicher kulureller Provenienz zusammengefasst, in denen die Idee eines allmächtigen Gottes entweder keine besondere Rolle spielt oder aber kritisiert wird. Dazu gehören die nicht-theistischen orthodoxen und heterodoxen Schulen der klassischen indischen Philosophie, insbesondere der Buddhismus, sowie die nicht-theistischen Strömungen der klassischen chinesischen Philosophie (Konfuzianismus und Daoismus). Auch die ostasiatische Weiterentwicklung der buddhistischen Lehre in China und Japan bis hin zur japanischen Religionsphilosophie des 20. Jh.s wird in diesem Kontext einbezogen. Als ,nicht-theistische Religionsphilosophie‘ lässt sich aber auch die europäische Theismus- und Religionskritik der Moderne begreifen. Deswegen werden in diesem Kapitel die zentralen Argumente, die gegen den Gottesglauben sprechen, vorgestellt und diskutiert.
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The economic crisis we have been facing has been almost unprecedented in scope and scale, and, in my understanding, it possesses not only an objective but also a distinctively subjective dimension. Stated otherwise, it is a crisis of reason. We thus need to fmd ways beyond the closed chamber of economic reason, which has shrunk the scope of meaningful knowledge by describing the current state of affairs solely in terms of computable and controllable "empirical sets of facts." But how is it possible to do so? Can religious philosophy guide us in our quest for the deeper subjectivity and self-realization we need to successfully cope with the state of affairs? The current discussion seeks to present a possible answer to these questions from the perspective of Zen Buddhism as expounded by the Japanese philosophen; of the Kyoto School.
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The economic principles of utility and rationality are among themost pervasive ideals dominating our modern everyday life.They even threaten to reduce the world’s spiritual traditions tomore or less useful ‘goods’ competing against each other in the‘market of religions’. My paper redefines this relationshipbetween economics and spirituality in a radically different way.In the light of the Japanese Buddhist philosophy of NishitaniKeiji it shows that Buddhist spirituality is not to blindly acceptthe ideals of economics as its pre-given foundation. Rather, it isto confront us with the existential question why we have cometo believe in those ideals in the first place. Entering into thespiritual path thus is to self-reflectively step back into the hid-den ground beneath our very own feet, i.e. to critically elucid-ate the hidden foundations of our modern obsession with utilityand rationality. It is to explore into the ‘abyss’ which lies hid-den at the ground of our economic lives, with the aim, inNishitani’s words, ‘of delving into the ground of human exist-ence and, at the same time, searching anew for the wellspringsof reality.'
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In this chapter, I will elucidate Nishida’s philosophy of technology. Nishida thought technology can exist in harmony with humans and nature. For example, when we try to make a wooden statue, we should do so in accordance with the nature of the wood. If we violate it, the wood will break and we cannot complete the statue. Thus, we cannot make anything if we go against nature. However, the harmony between humans and nature is destroyed in the modern age. This situation is based on the problems of human reason. Because our reason can be beyond reality, our reason removes reality. As a result, our reason causes subjectivism and anthropocentrism. We lose objectivity and humanity. Technology reached the same fate. Technology loses its objectivity and humanity. Furthermore, technology becomes technology for its own sake and oppresses humans. In order to recover humanity in technology, we should use technology not to alienate oppressed people, but for the inclusion of alienated people. Technology must be utilized for designing a new society which can be accessed and used by all people regardless of age, size, ability, or disability. It is important for better technology to encounter oppressed people as “thee” and hear “thy” voice.
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Since his rising interest in Christianity, Slavoj Žižek has discussed many other religions. This article examines his engagement with Buddhism, which he often uses as a stand in for “Oriental spirituality.” For Žižek, Buddhist traditions lack several key features that make Christianity the best prospect for religious political organization. By examining the reasons behind his rejection of Buddhism through his defence of the Subject and the state of Fallenness, the argument will be presented that Žižek's at times negative position on Buddhism can be explained through his commitment to a Lacanian reading of the Cartesian subject. This allegiance means that for Žižek there can never be a harmonious state for the subject, and accepting this provides the subject with a “divine” freedom. This article will also discuss ways in which Žižek's particularism can be overcome without losing the “apocalyptic fervor” of Christian Communist politics.
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In this dialogue we explore how differences in embodied knowledge from dance and aikido can provide a space and opportunity for collaborative writing in action. We write through our daily actions in art and research, as well as through our experiences in an improvisational encounter, where we let movement arise from an unformed potential as we are present at the point where formlessness meets form. We write about silence, breathing, bodies moving and being moved. We write via email, alone and together, sitting face to face. We ask: how can we reflect upon such a practice where the movement is not articulated in thought or words before it arises. And can it be reached by language? Our writing relates to the movement by taking its form from an unformed potential, leading us back to wonder at that point where formlessness meets form. Language is not a matter of representing movement in writing but of writing from the place where the movement springs forth. We let language show rather than tell. What can we learn from this? How can this work-ensemble in experimental writing and moving be expressed, tested and demonstrated in art and performance? And in a journal?
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The language and the symbolism of nothingness, of non-being and of the void inevitably call to mind Asian traditions of religious thought and experience. Indeed, any attempt by the West to go it alone in formulating an adequate account of nothingness would be the height of provincialism.1 On the contrary, the enterprise of thinking through the concept of nothingness in the context of Western thought cannot but be invigorated and strengthened by a serious engagement with any one of a number of Eastern thinkers and schools, Hindu, Taoist and Buddhist. If religious thought today is duty-bound to understand its project against the background of human globalization, this must be especially true in the case of fundamental concepts of being and nothingness that have so widely been taken as marking one of the most distinctive boundaries between East and West.
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The perception of the relation between James’s and Nishida’s thought does not appear to go beyond words about pure experience. It seems thus that Nishida’s thought does not have much of a relation with James’s thought apart from James’s idea of pure experience. So, in this paper, I attempted to develop an experimental sketch which could compare the religious thought of these two thinkers. Having then looked at the philosophy of religion as this was understood by William James and Nishida Kataro, one notices a certain commonality in their understanding of religion which bodes well as signs of a new emerging global consciousness about how religion should be perceived by different persons who live and work within different cultures and different religious traditions. James and Nishida were both interested in attending to interior conditions which exist as the subjective pole of religion wherever religion exists among different peoples living within different cultures. Both noticed that, if one were to attend to the objective pole of religion, one would find varying religious traditions: different conceptualizations about right belief and different rites of worship which indicate how transcendent sources of meaning are to be acknowledged, loved, and worshipped. I think that these two poles of religion could be analogically postulated as the archetypal motif of education.
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This paper brings into relief the hallmark characteristics of Nishida’s philosophy by tracing the transformations his initial stand of “pure experience” came to undergo through his endeavors, spanning over 30 years, to provide it with logical and historical dimensions, which resulted in such seminal notions as “logic of place” and “acting-intuition.” In order to draw out their educational implications in terms of Nishida’s persistent search for the “true self” we take into consideration, at first, the significance of Nishida’s Buddhist background for his initial encounter with James’s philosophy, and secondly the distinctive features of the later Nishida’s thoughts in contrast to the basic tenets of Jamesian radical empiricism characterized by its emphatic advocacy of pluralism as well as other related thoughts such as James Gibson’s ecological psychology.
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: Design activities are fundamental to technological progress. Current design research holds tight to positivism, abandoned and critically opposed to by philosophers, mostly those outside the U.S. Maintaining the positivist view when conducting research leads to significant deficiencies in the quality of research, and to problems in transferring research results to practice. In spite of significant research efforts, the improvement of practice is slow. This improvement, in turn, does not necessarily reflects the diffusion of research results into practice, but rather, the development of ideas by practitioners. This paper analyzes this theory-practice problem of technology from practical, cultural, and philosophical perspectives. It proposes a research methodology of design and briefly shows how this methodology can shed light on some problems related to technology. The paper also discusses the fundamental role of design in technology, thereby viewing the research methodology proposed a...
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