Kitarō Nishida (西田 幾多郎 Nishida Kitarō, May 19, 1870 – June 7, 1945) was a prominent Japanese philosopher, founder of what has been called the Kyoto School of philosophy. He graduated from the University of Tokyo during the Meiji period in 1894 with a degree in philosophy. He was named professor of the Fourth Higher School in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1899 and later became professor of philosophy at Kyoto University. Nishida retired in 1927. In 1940, he was awarded the Order of Culture (文化勲章, bunka kunshō). He participated in establishing the Chiba Institute of Technology (千葉工業大学) from 1940.
May 19, 1870|
Unokema, Ishikawa, Japan
June 7, 1945 (aged 75)|
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
|Alma mater||University of Tokyo|
|Institutions||University of Kyoto|
|Zen Buddhism, moral philosophy|
|Logic of Basho (non-dualistic concrete logic), absolute nothingness|
Nishida Kitarō died at the age of 75 of a renal infection. His cremated remains were divided in three and buried at different locations. Part of his remains was buried in the Nishida family grave in his birthplace Unoke, Ishikawa. A second grave can be found at Tōkei-ji Temple in Kamakura, where his friend D. T. Suzuki organized Nishida's funeral and was later also buried in the adjacent plot. Nishida's third grave is at Reiun'in (霊雲院, Reiun'in), a temple in the Myōshin-ji compound in Kyoto.
Being born in the third year of the Meiji period, Nishida was presented with a new, unique opportunity to contemplate Eastern philosophical issues in the fresh light that Western philosophy shone on them. Nishida's original and creative philosophy, incorporating ideas of Zen and Western philosophy, was aimed at bringing the East and West closer. Throughout his lifetime, Nishida published a number of books and essays including An Inquiry into the Good and "The Logic of the Place of Nothingness and the Religious Worldview." Taken as a whole, Nishida’s life work was the foundation for the Kyoto School of philosophy and the inspiration for the original thinking of his disciples.
The most famous concept in Nishida's philosophy is the logic of basho (Japanese: 場所; usually translated as "place" or "topos"), a non-dualistic concrete logic, meant to overcome the inadequacy of the subject–object distinction essential to the subject logic of Aristotle and the predicate logic of Immanuel Kant, through the affirmation of what he calls the "absolutely contradictory self-identity", a dynamic tension of opposites that, unlike the dialectical logic of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, does not resolve in a synthesis. Rather, it defines its proper subject by maintaining the tension between affirmation and negation as opposite poles or perspectives.
When David A. Dilworth wrote about Nishida’s work, he did not mention the debut book in his useful classification. In his book Zen no kenkyū (An Inquiry into the Good), Nishida writes about experience, reality, good and religion. He argues that the most profound form of experience is the pure experience. Nishida analyzes the thought, the will, the intellectual intuition and the pure experience among them. According to Nishida’s vision as well as to the essence of Asian wisdom, one craves harmony in experience, for unity.
According to Masao Abe, "During World War II right wing thinkers attacked him as antinationalistic for his appreciation of Western philosophy and logic. But after the war left wing thinkers criticized his philosophy as nationalistic because of his emphasis on the traditional notion of nothingness. He recognized a kind of universality in Western philosophy and logic but did not accept that it was the only universality."
List of worksEdit
- (1911) An Inquiry into the Good (善の研究, Zen no kenkyū)
- (1915) Thinking and Experience (思索と体験, Shisaku to taiken)
- (1913–17) Intuition and Reflection in Self-consciousness (自覚に於ける直観と反省, Jikaku ni okeru chokkan to hansei)
- (1918–9) The Problem of Consciousness (意識の問題, Ishiki no Mondai)
- (1920–23) Art and Morality (芸術と道徳, Geijutsu to dōtoku)
- (1923–27) From the Acting to the Seeing (働くものから見るものへ, Hatarakumono kara mirumono e)
- (1928–29) The System of Universals in Self-Awareness (一般者の自覚的体系, Ippansha no jikakuteki taikei)
- (1930–32) The Self-Awareness and Determination of the Nothingness (無の自覚的限定, Mu no jikakuteki gentei)
- (1933) Fundamental Problems of Philosophy (World of Act) (哲学の根本問題(行為の世界), Tetsugaku no konpon mondai (kōi no sekai))
- (1934) Fundamental Problems of Philosophy Continued (World as Dialectic) (哲学の根本問題 続編(弁証法的世界)), Tetsugaku-no konpon mondai zokuhen (bennsyouhouteki-sekai)
- (1935) Philosophical Proceedings 1 —An Attempt for A System of Philosophy (哲学的論文集 第一 ―哲学体系への企図, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daiichi ―tetsugakutaikei e no kito)
- (1936–37) Philosophical Proceedings 2 (哲学的論文集第二, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daini)
- (1938–39) Philosophical Proceedings 3 (哲学的論文集第三, tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daisan)
- (1940–41) Philosophical Proceedings 4 (哲学的論文集第四, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daiyon)
- (1943–44) Philosophical Proceedings 5 (哲学的論文集第五, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū daigo)
- (1944–45) Philosophical Proceedings 6 (哲学的論文集第六, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū dairoku)
- (1944–46) Philosophical Proceedings 7 (哲学的論文集第七, Tetsugaku-teki ronbun-shū dainana)
- Nishida Kitaro at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Yusa Michiko. Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro. University of Hawaii Press, 2002, p. 5.
- Yusa Michiko. Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro. University of Hawaii Press, 2002, p. 337.
- Nishida, Kitarō (1980), Zen no kenkyū An Inquiry into the Good, Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.
- Iţu, Mircia (2005), Nishida Kitarō. O cercetare asupra binelui, Braşov: Orientul latin, page 240 ISBN 973-9338-77-1.
- Abe, Maso (1987). An Inquiry Into the Good. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. xxv. ISBN 978-0-300-05233-6.
References and further readingEdit
- An Inquiry into the Good, trans. Masao Abe and Christopher Ives. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.
- "An Explanation of Beauty," trans. Steve Odin. Monumenta Nipponica vol. 42 no. 2 (1987): 211–217.
- Intuition and Reflection in Self-Consciousness, trans. Valdo H. Viglielmo, Takeuchi Yoshinori and Joseph S. O'Leary. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987.
- Last Writings: Nothingness and the Religious Worldview, trans. David Dilworth. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993.
- "Logic of the Place of Nothinginess and the Religious Worldview"
- "Concerning My Logic"
- Place and Dialectic: Two Essays by Nishida Kitaro, trans. John W. M. Krummel and Shigenori Nagatomo. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Ontology of Production: Three Essays, trans. William Haver. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.
- The Unsolved Issue of Consciousness, trans. John W. M. Krummell, in Philosophy East and West 62, no 1 (2012):44–59.
- L’Éveil à soi, trans. Jacynthe Tremblay. Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2003, 298 p.
- De ce qui agit à ce qui voit, trans. Jacynthe Tremblay. Montréal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 2015, 364 p.
- Autoéveil. Le Système des universels, trans. Jacynthe Tremblay. Nagoya: Chisokudō Publications, 2017.
- Carter, Robert E. The Nothingness beyond God: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Nishida Kitaro Paragon House, 1989. ISBN 1-55778-761-1)
- Christopher Ives. Imperial-Way Zen: Ishikawa Hakugen's Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics. University of Hawaii Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8248-3331-2
- Heisig, James W. Philosophers of Nothingness University of Hawaii Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8248-2481-4
- Nishitani Keiji. Nishida Kitaro University of California Press, 1991. ISBN 0-520-07364-9
- Tremblay Jacynthe, Nishida Kitarō. Le Jeu de l’individuel et de l’universel, Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2000, 334 p.
- Tremblay Jacynthe, Introduction à la philosophie de Nishida, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2007, 141 p.
- Tremblay Jacynthe, Auto-éveil et temporalité. Les Défis posés par la philosophie de Nishida, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2007, 229 p.
- Tremblay Jacynthe, L’Être-soi et l’être-ensemble. L’Auto-éveil comme méthode philosophique chez Nishida, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2007, 194 p.
- Tremblay Jacynthe, Je suis un lieu, Montréal, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2016, 316 p.
- Tremblay Jacynthe (ed.), Laval Théologique et Philosophique. Philosophie japonaise du XXe siècle, 64 (June 2008, no. 2) 233-573.
- Tremblay Jacynthe (ed.), Philosophes japonais contemporains, Montréal, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2010, 492 p.
- Tremblay Jacynthe (ed.), Théologiques. Les philosophes de l’École de Kyōto et la théologie 12 (2012, no. 1-2) 3-383.
- Tremblay Jacynthe (ed.), Milieux modernes et reflets japonais. Chemins philosophiques, Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2015, 286 p. (with Marie-Hélène Parizeau).
- Wargo, Robert J. J. The Logic Of Nothingness: A Study Of Nishida Kitaro. University of Hawaii Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8248-2969-7
- Yusa Michiko. Zen & Philosophy: An Intellectual Biography of Nishida Kitaro. University of Hawaii Press, 2002. ISBN 0-8248-2459-8
- Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten. "Nishida and Wittgenstein: from pure experience to Lebensform or new perspectives for a philosophy of intercultural communication," Asian Philosophy 13,1 (2003): 53–70.
- Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten. "The I and the Thou: A Dialogue between Nishida Kitarō and Mikhail Bakhtin,” Japan Review 16 (2004): 259–284.
- Heisig, James W. and Rein Raud, eds. "Nishida’s Deodorized Basho and the Scent of Zeami’s Flower." Classical Japanese Philosophy (Nagoya: Nanzan Institute for Religion & Culture, 2010): 247–73.
- Heisig, James W. “Nishida’s Medieval Bent,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 31/1 (2004): 55–72.
- ———. “Non-I and Thou: Nishida, Buber, and the Moral Consequences of Self-Actualization,” Philosophy *East and West 50: 2 (2000): 179–207.
- ———. “Philosophy as Spirituality: The Way of the Kyoto School,” Takeuchi Yoshinori et al., ed., Buddhist Spirituality. Volume 2: Later China, Korea, Japan, and the Modern World, (New York: Crossroad, 1999), 367–88.
- ———. “Nothing and Nowhere East and West: Nishida Kitarō and Hints of a Common Ground.” Angelaki 17/3 (2012): 17 –30. Angelaki 17/3 (2012): 17–30.
- Raud, Rein. "'Place' and 'being-time': spatiotemporal concepts in the thought of Nishida Kitarō and Dōgen Kigen." Philosophy East and West, 54 No 1 (2004): 29-51.
- Rigsby, Curtis A. "Nishida on God, Barth and Christianity," Asian Philosophy 19, no. 2 (2009): 119-157.
- Nishida Kitaro at the Encyclopædia Britannica
- Nishida Kitaro at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Nishida Kitarō Bibliography at the European Network of Japanese Philosophy (ENOJP).
- Derrida and the Decentered Universe This article mentions Nishida's views in comparison with Derrida's.
- Works of Nishida Kitarō at the Bibliographia: An Online Journal for the History of Philosophy
| Department of Philosophy (Chair), Kyoto University